Discrete Employers’ Federations Rival to be Confederation

Both applicants request to posses the same name

Two of the largest employer federations are engaged in a cut-throat competition to upgrade themselves and create the Ethiopian Employers’ Confederation (EEC).

The six and half-decade-old Ethiopian Employers’ Federation (EEF) and five unions formerly associated with EEC have separately applied to the Ministry of Labour & Social Affairs (MoLSA) to form their own confederations. The five unions jointly announced the formation of a new confederation during their first general assembly held at Intercontinental Addis Hotel on May 23, 2018. A day earlier EEF, which represents over 30,000 employers, had announced that it, too, is upgrading itself to a confederation. It is worth noting that EEF celebrated its 65-year anniversary on May 24, 2018.

EEF had also lodged its application to form a confederation with the MoLSA two days earlier, beating the union in the race. The union of the five federations consists of the Employers’ Federation of Ethiopian Hotel & Service Giving, Ethiopian Micro Small & Medium Enterprise, Addis Abeba City Employers Federation, Ethiopian Cities Water & Sewerage Service and the Amhara Region. For its application to form a confederation, EEF has associated with three newly formed unions – Ethiopian Health Institution Countrywide Association, Hotels & Related Service Provider Employers Association and Ethiopian Hotel & Restaurant Employers Federation.

During their first general assembly held last Wednesday, the five unions, representing 47 employers associations, elected Getahun Hussien, President of Addis Abeba City Employers’ Federation, as their new confederation President to serve for four years. The members also elected Feteh Weldesenbet, president of Ethiopian Hotel & Related Service Provider Employers’ Federation, as Vice President.

The EEF, also elected Tadele Yemer, its current head, to serve as President of the proposed confederation.

The five unions claim that they had contacted EEF to join forces to form a united confederation but did not receive any response back for the past 10 months, according to Getachew Haile, President of Ethiopian Micro, Small & Medium Enterprise Employers’ Federation. Tadele also reported that his own federation had not received an invitation to join the group.

“We didn’t even assemble to have a dialogue,” Tadele told Fortune. “We have been contemplating forming a confederation since 2005 but delayed it, as our major focus was working with employers’ to produce changes in the sector.”

According to Fekadu Gebrue, director of Peaceful Industry Relations at MoLSA, the ministry is currently reviewing the request of the two applicants under the rules and regulations of the nation.

“Currently the EEF is in charge of any international matters regarding employers issues,” Fekadu told Fortune.

The EEF represents Africa as a delegate to the International Organization of Employers (IOE), and it also represents the country to the International Labor Organization (ILO).

Matias Girma, a practising lawyer for a decade and who specialises in labour law, believes that the dispute between the two parties needs to be arbitrated.

“Employers’ confederation acts to meet the interest of employers to reach their goals. Therefore, all employers should be represented homogeneously, ” he said.


Published on May 26,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 943]



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