Africa and Middle East: BWI sustains momentum of struggle, elects new regional leaders

To sustain the momentum and gains of the campaign to protect jobs and wages amidst a pandemic, BWI in Africa and the Middle East elected its new regional leaders on the occasion of its 4th Regional Conference held on 30-31 August. 

Elected were Oloka Mesilamu of UBCCECAWU-Uganda and Stephen Okoro of NUCECFWW-Nigeria as BWI Regional Vice-Presidents, Fozert Mugabe of ZCATWU as BWI Regional Women Chair and Lebohang Vincent Ramabolu of NUM South Africa as BWI Regional Youth Chairperson. They join the newly-elected members of BWI’s executive committee in the region.

The new leadership hopes to sustain and even surpass its current efforts of protecting labour rights in the middle of a pandemic, such as its impressive signing of 100 new company-level CBAs, 6 national and 6 sectoral CBAs benefitting more than 200,000 workers.

The conference was lauded by BWI Global President Per-Olof Sjöö, ITUC-Africa General Secretary Kwesi Adu Amankwa, Keith Jacobs of UNI-Global Union, FES TUCC Director Kathrin Meissner and Simiao Simbine of SASK.

For his part, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson recognised the regional affiliates’ readiness to adapt to new realities and challenges imposed by COVID-19, particularly in defending the rights of workers to secure jobs and wages. He especially took notice of the region’s resilient efforts to build and sustain its membership leading to BWI’s 5th Congress in 2022.

“I commend the excellent work of Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng and her team. All of you have done a great job in maximising the use of digital platforms to educate, campaign and mobilise workers and women to fight for equal rights and a better future for all,” Yuson said. 

Carrying the theme “Together We Build, United We are Strong,” the regional conference gathered 120 participants representing 54 organizations from 20 different countries in the region. It adopted a Regional Action Plan (2022-2026), 11 Resolutions, 2 recommendations on youth and women and amended its by-laws to respond to the COVID-19 new realities.