The Union of Construction, Carpentry and Craft Enterprises Workers in Rwanda (STECOMA) has maximsed different communication platforms and technologies to reach out to it members and continue its important trade union work despite the physical challenges imposed by the COVID-19 lockdown.
The BWI affiliate said that with the government imposing strict restrictions and limitations to social activities and movements, the STECOMA leadership passed a resolution to use FM radio, television broadcasting and the union’s SMS platform to reach out to its 51,000 members in the country. It also developed online services in order to help its members conduct union meetings, keep in touch with one another and launch health and safety awareness campaigns on the pandemic.
Through these, it said that it was able to organize many activities, including mobilisations and awareness drives at different worksites.
Evariste Habyarimana, STECOMA General Secretary, said that different communication platforms and technologies have helped their union remain consolidated and united during the lockdown. “We endured a 45-day lockdown without physically seeing many of our members. The technology provided by the mass media, internet and social media has helped us greatly in keeping in touch with our members and adapting to the ‘new normal’,” she said.
Meanwhile, the union said that it stood firm against employers who are using the health crisis to retrench workers and/or reduce their wages and benefits. STECOMA called on them to respect the Rwandese Labour Law and the social measures adopted by the government to protect workers from COVID 19.