Industri Energi of Norway and BWI have conducted an evaluation mission of a one year pilot project with the Timber and Woodworkers’ Union (TWU) one of BWI affiliates in Ghana. The evaluation was held from 24th to 25th October 2017.
The project named “Building Bargaining Capacity in the Furniture Industry in Ghana” started in November 2016 for one year with the aim of contributing by recruiting more members in the union to better living conditions through consolidating gains under forest certification initiatives, influencing climate change and labour issues through trainings, social dialogue and lobbying for better collective bargaining agreements.
The TWU was still in a transition period when the project activities started. This situation was consecutive to the election of Joshua Ansah as Deputy Secretary General of the Trade Union Congress of Ghana, the national umbrella of trade unions in Ghana.
But the new leadership with the support of BWI West Africa coordinator A and the regional education officer have been able to implement all planned activities and achieved some tangible results that have been presented during the evaluation and planning workshop.
416 new members including women youth and informal workers have been recruited, 255 leadership were trained and 17 new branches established at company level giving more representation and marking more influence of TWU in the furniture and wood industry in Ghana. Two collective agreements are under negotiation and one will be concluded before the end of 2017. The project also helped to develop clause cooperation with the General Transport, Petroleum and Chemical Workers’ Union of Ghana by joint trainings of their women and youth members and excellent interaction of the leadership of the two unions.
For Ole Kristian Paulsen from Industri Energi, "The level of achievement of the project expected results is very good even if all targets are not met…” There are good signs for better achievement of future objectives if the unions can perform in the educational programmes coordination. He said.
The Acting General Secretary of TWU Mark Ofori Asante thanked Industri Energi and BWI for their commitment towards the project implementation and promised to correct the few mistakes which were pointed out during the evaluation. The union is ready and engage in more organizing and recruitment campaigns and hopes to continue benefiting from the support of Industri Energi and BWI to overcome the timber and furniture workers challenges in Ghana.