Regional Labour Union Comes to Life


Ethiopia is delegated to prepare the draft establishment document of the union




Member states of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) are set to form a regional labour union in Addis Abeba at the end of this month.

The idea of establishing a regional union was tabled a decade ago. It became practical last June in Geneva, Switzerland, where member states of IGAD, the eight-country trade bloc in East Africa, met at the international and regional labour conference of the International Labour Organisation.

The initiation was started during the meetings of the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation, which has over 16 million declared members and 101 affiliated trade unions in 51 African countries. The Confederation is headquartered in Lome, Togo.

The Executive Committee of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions was delegated to prepare the draft establishment document during the June meeting, according to Kassahun Follo, president of the Confederation, established in 1963 and operates with eight branches. The Confederation has 10 executive committees and three audit committees.

It has membership of 650,000 employees under its umbrella organisations of about 702 local labour unions affiliated with nine national industrial federations. The unions have formed a credit association and investment in different areas including transportation, housing, trade and agro-processing activities.

Trade unions form Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan and Uganda are expected to join the regional union, which is sponsored by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, a German nonprofit foundation.

Defending the rights and interests of workers in sub-regions; strengthening the unity of organised workers; building their capacity; contributing its due share for peace, democracy, human rights; and ensuring the efficiency of member state employees are the major aims of the regional union, according to Kassahun.

Prior to the formation, a long-day pre-conference workshop will be held on October 26 with the theme of ‘Peace and Security in the Horn and the Role of Labour Unions’. During the first general assembly to take place after two weeks, the executive committee, which will lead the regional union for the next five years, will be elected.

“The need to establish such regional unions played a pivotal role in combating various problems including migration,” Measho Berihu, foreign and public department head of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions told Fortune.

Tigist Fisseha, a consultant and an attorney with over a decade of experience working with the International Labour Union and Ethiopian Employers Federation, agrees.

“Such regional alliances can address specific and common agendas to exert a collective effort for the free movement of people, migration and other issues,” she told Fortune.



By DAWIT ASTATIKE
FORTUNE STAFF WRITER

Published on Oct 18,2018 [ Vol 19 ,No 964]


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