BWI and Union to Union 2014-2016 Africa project: More than 20,000 workers organized in PIPs and Chinese MNCs

17 March 2017 09:25

Johannesburg in South Africa and the Cradle Moon Lakeside Lodge hosted from 6 to 7 March the evaluation and redesigning workshop of the BWI-Union to Union – SBTF trade union development project for Africa.


The workshop has been opened by Crecentia Mofokeng Regional Representative for Africa and Middle East who welcomed the participants coming from all sub regions of Africa and from both construction and forestry sectors, BWI Geneva represented by Jasmin Redzepovic, Aisha Bahadur external evaluator and Niklas Enstrom from Swedish Electrician Union representing SBTF.

The Regional Representative highlighted the context on which the workshop is taking place in South Africa marked by xenophobic attacks against migrant workers and extended BWI affiliates and the trade union movement in South Africa condemnation of these actions of xenophobia in South Africa as it violates the migrant workers' rights.

On behalf of Piet Matosa AFRECO President, the entire leadership of the region and Ambet Yuson the BWI General Secretary, Crecentia Mofokeng extended gratitude to Union to Union, SBTF and BWI Swedish affiliates for their constant support to BWI affiliates in Africa and globally.

Through this 2014 – 2016 phase of the project BWI members in Africa have been able to carry out many activities that helped them to strengthen their capacity in Organizing, Negotiating and Influencing policy. Campaigning on Health and safety at Work around the International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28th April, work place campaigns on Forest Certification, May Day campaigns for trade unions’ rights and decent work day celebration on 7 October have been successfully implemented during the three years.

Despite enormous challenges due to difficult economic, social and politic context, the participating unions have been able to increase their membership by more than 20 000 by organizing workers in Chinese MNCs, Public Infrastructure Projects, Cement and building material companies and Wood and Forestry industry. By end of 2016, affiliates in Africa have signed 74 collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) with more than 200 MNC including 137 Chinese. Youth and women participation in unions activities and unions’ structures have notably increased.

According to the external evaluator Aisha Bahadur the 2014-2016 phase of the project was better in terms of achievement of objective than the previous one. Affiliates performed technically in implementing the project activities and communication from unions’ to BWI secretariat and from BWI to Swedish partners was better than the previous phase… She said

The second day of the workshop was focused on redesigning a new project for the next 5-years cycle based on BWI strategic plan and union needs and priorities as well as on union ownership. From the analysis outlined from the group work on the project context and union needs that can guide future trade union work in the Region, participants used the results, failures, and impact of the last Project measures to propose innovative ways and approaches to guarantee the success of the new project.

On his closing remarks Niklas Enstrom from STBF congratulated all participants and BWI staff for the good work don during the two day and look forward to receive a good project application in the coming weeks.