BWI and FNV supporting unions organizing in Infrastructure projects in East Africa

Thirty three (33) participants among them Jasmin Redzepovic, Assistant Education Secretary BWI headquarters, Garikanai Shoko, Project coordinator, and Kivale Said, East Africa Project Coordinator, together with FNV regional Consultants Annie Francis and Hope Kabuchu met at Hillpark hotel, Nairobi, Kenya from 13th to 17th March, 2016 with the objectives of assessing the achievements and results of 2015 project activities. The workshop will consolidate strategies and lessons internalized during the 2015 period as basis for planning for 2016. It will also strengthen sub-regional alliance in the building, construction and infrastructure sectors in East Africa and lastly enhance occupational health and safety in the building and construction industries.

The participants in attendance were drawn from the East Africa sub region namely; TAMICO and TUICO from Tanzania, UBCCECAWU from Uganda EIFTMWCOTU from Ethiopia, STRACOMABU from Burundi, STECOMA from Rwanda and KQMWU and KBCTFIEAU from Kenya.

In view of the above objectives, the participants realised the strengthening of the affiliates and trade unions in the region through collaboration and networking with available structures such as the East African Community and East African Trade Union Confederation to fight for the workers structures and tackle the emerging challenges emanating from Multinational Companies including Chinese Multinationals who enter the region as investors and win most of the government infrastructure development tenders and at the end not abiding by the government’s labour laws.

The subregion hence decided to root for multilevel approach by engaging the local stakeholders, BWI and ILO so as to come up with an amicable solution of the challenges. In matters of Occupational health and safety, all the countries have tangible and good occupational health and safety laws which lack compliance and enforcement. Trade unions need to embrace themselves with labour inspection and to play a pivotal role in ensuring the health and safety of workers through organizing and recruitment and awareness creation.

The results of 2015 project activities saw the affiliates recruit and organize 10,130 new members with 2,000 new BWI paying members since the inception of the project. The planning for 2016 was focused on supporting the unions to carry out activities in recruitment drives, negotiation meetings, training youth and women training skills, review of living wage monitor in the infrastructure sector, social dialogue, negotiators training and work place meetings and campaigns.