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Mozambique: South-South solidarity boosts leadership skills for women

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21 August, 2017An IndustriALL initiative is bringing together 25 women from its affiliate in Mozambique, SINTIME, who are participating in a leadership training programme supported by Canadian affiliate Unifor.

The training programme, which is taking place from 2015 to 2017 in Maputo, is carried out by leadership and facilitators from another IndustriALL affiliate, CNM/CUT from Brazil. The programme brings the solidarity and expertise from CNM/CUT to train SINTIME. Both unions organize in the metal and energy sectors, in Sub Saharan Africa and Latin America respectively.

Important topics covered in the training modules include women’s role in political life in Mozambique and globally, women in the trade union movement, in the labour market and in collective bargaining, women’s health at the workplace, and basic human and trade union rights. Participants learn to share experiences and trust each other to grow together within the union.

Under the leadership of Marli Melo do Nascimento, CNM/CUT’s national women’s secretary, and in close cooperation with the IndustriALL head office project officer, two to three participative training modules are designed and conducted yearly in Maputo by a team of experienced union leaders and educators. The Brazilian women leaders from different industrial sectors give examples of women’s needs and demands, and how women leadership was enforced in their unions, showing how this process is relevant for unions in Mozambique. They emphasize the common struggles of the working class against global capital and the importance of building a strong women leadership at local, national and global levels.

Inocência Ernesto Tembe, coordinator of SINTIME’s national women’s committee (Comutra) said:

“The training is helping us to overcome obstacles women face daily at work and in social life. The training emphasizes how to achieve gender equality and to access opportunities for women. We learnt about the Labour Act and how to be effective in collective bargaining processes. The employers now respect us because we know our rights. This is not a struggle that will be won overnight but we will continue to the end. SINTIME decided to conduct additional workshops for women who did not take part in the training programme so that they would benefit as well.”

Maria Eulália Raul Muianga from SINTIME added:

“After the training we were able to interpret the Labour Act on maternity protection and defend our rights as women workers. SINTIME’s women’s committee representatives’ participation in collective bargaining became more noticeable after the training”.

IndustriALL will continue to seek support from its affiliate Unifor, CNM-CUT and other Brazilian affiliates to extend this outstanding and unique experience of women empowering young women.