Burkina Faso: Unions decry building collapse that killed 4

Different BWI-affiliated trade unions in Burkina Faso decried the collapse of a building under construction at the Norbert Zongo University in Koudougou which resulted in the death of four people and one injured. 

In a press conference on 6 September, the trade unions sounded the alarm on the rising number of buildings under construction collapsing. They said that from 2011 to 2021, one building has collapsed each year. In Ouagadougou and Ouahigouya, the unions cited five cases which resulted in five deaths and numerous injuries. 

“Such a tragedy is not the first time in Burkina Faso.  The collapse of buildings under construction that caused numerous fatalities and damage to property has unfortunately become a common sight in the large cities of Burkina,” said BWI Coordinator Abdoul Karim Ouédraogo, who spoke on behalf of the unions. 

Ouédraogo said that they are holding the Burkina Faso government accountable for the tragic accident. “The government has awarded building construction contracts to companies of dubious capacity to perform such enormous tasks.”  

The trade unions called for a thorough investigation of the incident. They also called on the government, architects and civil engineers, real estate players, construction companies, investors and public and private infrastructure financing institutions to bring order and discipline to the construction sector to preserve the life, health and safety of workers and people around construction sites.

The trades unions look forward to their soon to be signed new collective agreement to provide better working conditions in the country’s construction industry. They called on workers to denounce the poor health and safety conditions at construction sites and refuse any work which would expose them to unnecessary danger. 

Workers must not be forced to choose between losing their jobs or lives,” Ouédraogo said.