ACTRAV/OATUU planning workshop held on 24-26 January 2018

The Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), in collaboration with the Bureau of Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV) of the International Labor Organization (ILO) held a two-day workshop at the OATUU Secretariat in Accra from 24 to 26 January 2018. The aim of this meeting was to plan and streamline a biennium draft strategic plan of OATUU based on the ILO ACTRAV’s strategic framework for cooperation.

Fifteen (15) participants attended this workshop; seven (7) experts from ACTRAV including the moderator Comrade Mohammed MWAMADZINGO and eight (8) Representatives from OATUU led by its Secretary General Mr. Arezki MEZHOUD and Comrade Abdoulaye Lelouma Diallo, OATUU’s Permanent Representative to the ILO in Geneva.

The Secretary General of OATUU, welcoming the participants, stressed that the programme had been designed for inclusive analyses and input with the Bureau for Workers’ Activities (ACTRAV).  He remarked that “this is a better option in relation to that of former times when a programme was unilaterally developed and sent to ACTRAV for adoption” and expressed the hope that ACTRAV’s involvement would help to enhance OATUU’s goals as their expertise would be brought to bear for efficiency whilst cooperating at the regional, sub/regional and national levels.

Participants firstly commented on the current social, political and economic environment and its implications to trade unions in Africa. OATUU Secretary General commenced his intervention by highlighting the various overall issues that confront Africa economically, socially and politically which need to be clearly understood and tackled at all fronts. According to him, “Democracy is supposed not to only promote stability in elections but also to ensure good governance devoid of corruption and denial of social justice”.

Following to that; participants discussed the role of trade unions in the face of the issues raised. Talking about the role of OATUU, Comrade David Dorkenoo said: OATUU has an important role to play in protecting and defending the right of workers across the Continent of Africa and WE in ILO our mandate is to assist the trade unions to become stronger to be able to defend the right of worker. Comrade Mohammed Mwamadzingo added: ILO has a special role to play in trying to bring up social justice but ILO by itself cannot achieve this without its partners. So in our case, OATUU has an important role to join us in this venture on trying to bring up social justice on the African continent”. Comrade Diallo Lelouma Abdoulaye emphasized by saying: “When you see the objectives of OATUU and the objectives of ILO, there is a similarity, a resemblance, and this is why the role of OATUU is always taken with great consideration at ILO level”.

Regarding the effectiveness of the meeting, Comrade Inviolata Chinyagara remarked: “the workshop was very successful. We managed to exchange a lot over two days and beyond the workshop we have also come up with concrete ideas on how we can continue to collaborate over the years. We identified sectors where we can possibly collaborate. We also identified it geographically which are the key countries where we need to zero in our effort as the two institutions.

Comrade David Dorkenoo reinforced by saying:  “This meeting is a very good one because it is an opportunity for us to exchange ideas, for us also to know the areas priorities of OATUU. So, for ACTRAV also to share our areas priorities with OATUU to see where we can have a synergy and be able to work together to defend and protect the interest of workers of Africa.

The meeting showed that a joint effort has to be done to be effective as Comrade Inviolata Chinyagara expressed: “We need to collaborate, coordinate and then to converge our approaches for impact”.  Comrade Marinna Nyamekye said: “There are a lot of areas where we are all looking at; I can mention domestic workers, informal sector, migrations and other areas that we are all think of. So now, we need to move forward with the commitment as to what next, how do we go about working together because the purpose of this workshop is to see how we can work together and that where we are right now”.

Veteran Comrade Diallo Lelouma Abdoulaye ended up saying: “Having this meeting with ACTRAV Bureau of Activities for Workers and doing this activity not in Geneva but at the headquarters of OATUU in Accra, shows the importance that ACTRAV attaches to the role and responsibility of OATU. We hope that the conclusions and recommendations of our meeting will be followed by facts and OATUU and Sub regional Organizations and OATUU affiliates will do everything to ensure that these recommendations result in concrete actions.