East Africa: Trade unions strengthen research on IFI-funded infra projects

In an attempt to strengthen their organising work in mega construction projects, Trade unions in East Africa beefed up their research work on international financial institutions (IFIs), particularly those that fund Chinese infrastructure projects.

In a two-day training on 28-29 June, 12 trade union researchers from 8 BWI affiliates discussed how to push for more evidence-based researches that will serve as important guides for organising workers employed in IFI-funded infrastructure projects in East Africa. 

The training, which was made possible through the help of the FNV Mondiaal project, also strongly emphasised the need to know more about Chinese multinational companies (MNCs) and the new challenges they impose to trade union organising. The new researches hope to complement current and future trade unions negotiations. 

As part of the training, participants visited a construction project organised by the BWI-affiliated STECOMA. The said worksite is a 29-kilometer road construction site funded by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and awarded to the Horizon Construction, a multinational company operating in East Africa. The project reportedly employs 296 permanent workers (219 men and 77 women) who are all STECOMA members and enjoy a good working relationship with the company.

The training was held in Kigali, Rwanda with the theme “No Exploitation for development in infrastructure projects in East Africa.”