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IndustriALL Sub-Sahara Africa Regional Executive meets in Accra

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3 May, 2016More than 50 participants from 19 unions attended an extended IndustriALL Global Union Sub-Saharan Regional Executive Committee (REXCO) meeting in Accra, Ghana on 21 April. 

Representatives from IndustriALL affiliates in Cameroon, Cote d'Ivoire, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Nigeria, Mauritius, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe focused on preparations for the IndustriALL Congress to be held in Brazil, Rio De Janeiro in October 2016.

The meeting received reports and held discussions on the IndustriALL statues and action plan groups, resolutions and nominations process for the IndustriALL leadership, regional executive committee members in Sub Sahara Africa and the women report. The meeting also discussed an assessment of the work and impact of IndustriALL in Sub-Sahara and internationally.

In his open remarks to the meeting, general secretary of the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), Hassan Musaihon, said that the major challenges facing Sub-Sahara Africa are the eradication of poverty, improvement in literacy levels, strong trade unions, and the development of policy that promotes industrialization to create jobs.

Fernando Lopes, assistant general Secretary of IndustriALL, told participants that IndustriALL has managed to recruit 160,000 new members globally through organizing projects work alone. This is 60 per cent more the the 101,000 recruited in 2014. But he added that more work needs to be done by affiliates to continue this growth, particularly in organizing precarious workers. Lopes said unions need to call on their national governments to establish and grow manufacturing industries to create jobs, as well as promote a sustainable industrial policy that includes investment in research and development.

Monika Kemperle, assistant general Secretary of IndustriALL, told participants of the changes both positive and negative posed by Industry 4.0 to both workers and the workplace.

The Sub Sahara Africa regional report to the REXCO covered work done in the region on the IndustriALL five goals of building union power; challenging global capital; defend workers’ rights; fight precarious work; and ensure sustainable industrial employment.  The meeting heard that Zambia has passed a law to stop precarious work, while noting the need to continue the campaign against precarious employment. The meeting further called for a resolution by IndustriALL affiliates to organize the increasing number of informal sector workers in Sub Sahara Africa.

A report of the women’s meeting was presented and adopted. The report called on IndustriALL affiliates need to strengthen work on health, safety and environment as more women continue to be affected at the workplace. The women’s report also called on IndustriALL to launch a permanent campaign on violence against women. The women’s meeting resolved that IndustriALL needs to demand that Boko Haram release the young girls captured in Nigeria and called on the African Union to do all in its power to help return the captured girls.

The REXCO meeting took resolutions on the need to organize the informal sector; to strengthen the campaign on precarious work; on Palestine; and for a campaign against violence on women. Drafts of the resolutions will be referred for IndustriALL Congress in 2016.