Palestine and increased women participation mark MENA Trade Unions’ Network meeting

The BWI MENA (Middle East and North Africa) Trade Unions’ Network held a meeting last 24-25 November in Beirut, Lebanon, which was marked by the attendance of a Palestinian affiliate for the first time since the formation of the network. 

The meeting, which was hosted by GFBCTU, was also attended by women representatives, who were more than 50 percent of the participants. They came from Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon.

3F Denmark International Advisor Cristina Hanson, FNV Consultant for MENA Hind Hamdan, BWI Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng, BWI Regional Officer Garikanai Shoko  and BWI MENA Coordinator Wassim Rifi also attended the meeting. 

In her opening remarks, Hanson said that the Network is a catalyst for the exchange of ideas and learnings. 

Mofokeng agreed, saying that the Network helped strengthen MENA unions by providing them a platform to share experiences, strategies and bringing in more women and youth in trade union leadership structures. 

The meeting highlighted the impact and challenges of COVID-19 on workers in the region, particularly industries where BWI are present and active. Politically, the situation is reportedly “tense,” with Palestine appealing for support as it commemorates a United Nations (UN) resolution demanding for an independent state of Palestine. 

The participants to the meeting also shared best practices in the context of the successful increase in the number of women members in the Network. 

Going forward, the Network assessed its accomplishments and their relevance to the its work in the future.