OATUU concludes preparatory meeting for 109th Session of International Labour Conference

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The Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) has concluded the preparatory meeting for the 109th Session of the International Labour Conference (ILC) which will open on the 20th of May, 2021.  The virtual meeting hosted various leaders of trade unions and affiliates of OATUU across the African continent, as well as representatives from the International Labour Organization. The meeting was organised to allow the exchange of ideas concerning labour and human rights issues specifically in Africa, in a buildup to this year’s ILC and also to serve as a simulation for the conference which will now take on a virtual form, due to the health and social challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Among the many issues that were raised, one of the recurring themes was solidarity with Sudan and Palestine; two countries which are both currently facing a barrage of human rights violations. Another recurring theme was the impact of Covid-19 on the African worker and the way forward. On the issue of gender, the Women’s Commissioner for OATUU, Maria Fernanda encouraged all female unionists to take advantage of the virtual format of this year’s ILC and ensure maximum participation since previous years presented logistical challenges which prevented many women from being involved in the conference. This was reiterated by the Chair of the meeting, Mr. Yusif Abdel Karim Yusif Ali who also said the current format of the conference provided an opportunity for women to use their voices.

Congratulations also went round for the recently elected Vice Chair, Ms. Annette Chipeleme, who requested the support of the organisation and its affiliates, to successfully carry out her mandate as the representative for the worker’s group at the conference. Another issue that was raised was the need for the continent to establish itself as a decision maker, especially in terms of labour issues. A call was made prior to this, to push for an African candidate for the position of Director-General of the International Labour Organization.

The Chair of the meeting, Mr. Yusif Abdel Karim Yusif Ali concluded the meeting by thanking the participants for their active participation in the discussions and debates and encouraged everyone to take into consideration the recommendations of the meeting. He went on to entreat all the participants to efficiently represent the interests of African workers in the different technical committees of the ILC. Mr. Ali also thanked them for the support shown to his national center, the Sudanese Workers’ Trade Union Federation (SWTUF) and Sudanese workers as well.