The Middle East and North Africa Trade Unions (MENAT) meeting was held from 14-15 October 2019 in Tunis, Tunisia, under the theme of Stronger Unions! Stronger Network! The meeting was attended by twenty-five trade unions leaders of BWI affiliates from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, Turkey, and Tunisia. Apologies were received from Morocco.
The 2019 MENAT addressed the Social, Economic and Political developments facing the respective countries, the situation of migrants and refugees, and the development of women and youth in trade unions and in broader society.
General Secretary of UGTT Noreddine Al Taboubi provided opening remarks for the meeting. In addressing the current political situation in Tunisia, he stated that the recent President Elections shows that the democratic process continues to unfold in Tunisia. Kais Saied, former law professor, was able to secure 73 percent of votes in the 2019 elections.
An outcome of the meeting is the decision to launch a webpage called the “MENAT Labour Watch”, where participants committed to collect data from their respective countries.
Amal from UGTT-Tunisia presented a case study on the situation of women in the region and called for the leadership to support women involvement and empowerment in trade unions and broader society.
Crecentia Mofokeng, BWI Regional Representative for Africa and Middle East reminded the leadership of the BWI Congress decision of 30 percent women representation in activities and structures of BWI. She also reported on World Council decision on Policy against Discrimination and Harassment in BWI activities and structures.
The MENAT decided on their priorities for the coming period, while the regional representative gave a brief on forthcoming regional and global events including the Regional Conference that will be hosted by GTUBWW in Cairo on 7 – 11 September 2020. It was agreed that MENAT will sponsor a unifying Theme for the Global Cement at the Regional Conference.
In his closing remarks, Abdel Monem El Gamal, the President of BWI Africa and Middle East Region congratulated FGBB-UGTT for hosting a successful meeting. He also welcomed the Algerian union into the BWI. Noting that his union will host the Regional Conference, he welcomed everyone to Cairo and urged for Strong unions, Unity and Solidarity in the region.
The next meeting of MENAT will be held in April 2020 in Algeria.