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Up skilling youth in Ghanaian trade unions

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12 July, 2023Are young workers in unions using digital technologies effectively for organizing and improving their involvement in occupational health and safety at the workplace? A project evaluation meeting in Accra on 3-6 June learned what is happening in the unions.  

The meeting was organized by Ghanaian unions with support from IndustriALL Global Union, Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and Industri Energi.

From August 2022 to now, the project which aims to build sustainable and resilient unions, explored new ways of organizing using digital technologies for recruitment and mobilization of young workers.

The project organized training for 57 young workers in digital organizing, and occupational health and safety at enterprise level. A youth activist school was also held as part of project activities and the agenda included improved representation of youth in the unions. 

The meeting heard report of how unions in Ghana were early adopters of online organizing tools that included databases and social media platforms. Databases provided membership profiles and information that was useful in making strategic interventions and providing better services to young workers. The meeting also discussed project activities for 2024 that will include campaigns for the ratification of ILO Convention 190 on ending violence and harassment in the world of work. 

Ole-Kristian Paulsen, International advisor at Industri Energi, Norway, said:  

“The unions are making progress recruiting new members, while the databases are running well. The occupational health and safety activities are also showing progress. This contributes to the  focus by unions on Just Transition and climate change.” 

Garikanai Shoko, BWI, Assistant Representation of Africa and Middle East, added:  

“In efforts to sustain organizing, education, and advocacy, BWI and IndustriALL affiliates with support from Industri Energi, have over the past year done extremely well by producing databases. Unions should maintain this momentum as digitalization is an anchor to the future of work.” 

“The solidarity support from Industri Energi to our Ghanaian affiliates goes a long way in contributing to building their sustainability as trade unions. This is important given the devastation caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and the need for unions to transform the way they work which is pivotal for effective protection of rights at work,”  

said Tendai Makanza, IndustriALL regional officer from the Sub-Saharan Africa office. 

The IndustriALL affiliates that participated in the project are the Public Utilities Workers Union, General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union, Ghana Mine Workers Union, and Industrial and Commercial Workers Union. The BWI affiliate that is part of the project is the Timber and Woodworkers Union.