Kenya: No Exploitation for development in Infrastructure Projects

03 December 2018 14:08

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From 27 to 29 November 2018, 25 Unions’ Research Experts for Organising in International Financial Institutions (IFIs) and Multinational Corporations (MNCs) met in Nairobi, Kenya to share the results of a study made by a research team of Profundo on a sample selection of five IFIs projects in East Africa.

Over the years, much effort has been put into training activities by BWI and its affiliates in organising MNCs but there is need to build a strong pool of experts to spur union activities starting with East Africa where there are big infrastructure projects.

The first study assessed workers’ conditions and the contractors’ levels of compliance with international and national labour standards. In total four projects funded by IFIs and one government-funded project in Rwanda, Tanzania, Kenya and Ethiopia were selected based on a number of selection criteria, but without prior knowledge of the labour conditions at the sites.

The research conducted by Linnea Wikström with a team from Profundo Netherlands has shown the need for the affiliates to face challenges and overcome the workers’ fear of employers’ reprisal during organizing campaigns in hostile environments of MNCs, by acquiring innovative skills and having union campaign activists, researchers to tackle the huge number of unionised areas/IFIs funded infrastructure projects.

The three-day workshop helped to strengthen the BWI East Africa affiliates with a pool of experts in view of “No Exploitation for development in Infrastructure Projects in East Africa” by focusing on IFIs funded Public Infrastructure Projects (PIPs). Unions provide the avenue for legal advice on employment and personal issues and defend members at the courts on job-threatening and interdiction issues.

The results of the unions’ research experts acquired through labour inspections will be used for campaigns and lobbying at Companies, Government and IFIs levels for compliance to national labour laws and the International Labour Organisation core labour standards.

The unions' researchers adopted their work plan for 2019 and will start from December 2018 mapping the IFIs projects to be inspected in their respective countries.