From 14-17 October 2019, nineteen trade unions representatives from BWI affiliates in East Africa: Kenya (KQMWU and KBCTFIEU), Uganda (UBCCECAWU), Ethiopia (EIFCMWCOTU), Tanzania (TUICO and TAMICO), and Rwanda (STECOMA) met in Nairobi, Kenya from 14th to 17th October 2019 to strengthen unions’ networks in the BWI sectors.
The main objective of the meeting was to build strong unions through strategic organizing for successful trade union development. With this in mind, the participants shared organizing case studies as well as strategized in developing a strong sub-regional network to support each other’s efforts.
The meeting was also an opportunity to review the sub-regional activities supported by Union to Union noting the presence of Union to Union’s Secretary General Sofia Östmark and the new Head of Program Julia Ekstedt. The U to U delegation welcomed the chance to have a better understanding of the sub region as well the work of the BWI affiliates in East Africa. They also extended solidarity greetings from SBTF.
Following the meeting, the participants visited a construction worksite at Agakhan University where KBCTFIEU, the construction union of Kenya has organized more than 200 workers. They also visited Laxmanbhai construction company, in Nairobi, and the company’s workshop site offices along Mombasa Road were the union has another 170 members.
The KBCTFIEU has been championing planting of trees and on this day, the delegates planted several trees as a way of strengthening the union and the company’s labour relations.
Following the visits, Sofia Östmark stated, “lt is always useful to go on the field to witness the work that trade unions are doing on the ground. Both the constructive dialogue with trade unions from the sub-region as well as the site visits provided me a better understanding as to how the trade unions represent workers and ensure that their rights are protected and decent work is achieved”.