ITUC-Africa Report to The African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission, April, 2013

Keywords : Human and trade union rights Reports

In the period since the last African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission (LSAC)
in April 2011, ITUC-Africa has been to its 2nd Congress under the theme of Renewing
the African trade union movement towards African emancipation. Congress adopted resolutions including one that affirmed ITUC-Africa’s commitment to the resolutions of the 2nd ITUC Congress held in Vancouver, 2010. Other resolutions focused on specific areas of interest for the trade union movement in Africa.

Introduction

1. In the period since the last African Union Labour and Social Affairs Commission (LSAC)
in April 2011, ITUC-Africa has been to its 2nd Congress under the theme of Renewing
the African trade union movement towards African emancipation. Congress adopted
resolutions including one that affirmed ITUC-Africa’s commitment to the resolutions
of the 2nd ITUC Congress held in Vancouver, 2010. Other resolutions focused on
specific areas of interest for the trade union movement in Africa.

2. The particular resolutions of Vancouver affirmed by the 2nd Congress were those on
decent life for young working women and men; HIV and AIDS; promoting and
defending fundamental workers’ rights; organizing; gender equality; migrant workers;
extending social protection and ensuring good occupational health and sustainable
development and climate change. The specific areas of interest on which Congress
passed other resolutions were building internal trade union democracy and workers’
empowerment; promoting African trade union unity at all levels; promoting peace,
security, justice and civilian protection in Africa; advocating for the building of
capacity of the African Union for effective continental governance and democracy.
Other areas on which the Congress mandated the General Council to adopt
resolutions covered international solidarity and the struggle for global justice; world
trade organization and economic partnership agreements; job creation and decent
work for decent living; promoting organization in the informal economy and solidarity
based economy for better development of Africa; new growth path and regional
integration for Africa’s development; combatting desertification and other forms of
environmental degradation; striving towards achieving food security and overcoming
the challenges of Africa’s health crisis.

3. The concerns of Congress have been translated into a set of priority areas of work for
ITUC-Africa covering human and trade union rights, organizing, internal democracy
and workers empowerment, trade union unity, gender equality, social protection,
occupational safety and health, HIV and AIDS, environment and climate change,
youth, African Union, peace and security, trade, employment, informal economy,
extractive industries, industrialization, changing globalization, development policies,
communication, capacity development and resource mobilization. Out of this range of
priority areas, issues have been identified that have led to the formulation of
objectives and results for action.

4. ITUC-Africa has engaged in a range of activities since December 2011 towards
fulfilling the mandates of the organization. These include promoting a human and
trade union rights network for carrying out campaigns against rights violations and
other work in the defense and promotion of international labour standards,
promotion of collective bargaining and national minimum wages. Other work has
included promoting social protection through supporting a study to gather
information about existing provision in some countries, training trade union leaders
towards effective representation on social security institutions, and implementing
pilot schemes for extending social protection to informal economy operators. Work on gender equality has focused on assisting a number of affiliates to carry out gender
audits within their organizations as a means of developing active policies towards
gender equality. Work on HIV and AIDS focused on workplace interventions in some
countries and also included campaigns against discrimination and stigmatization, for
access to prevention and treatment, awareness raising. Work has also been carried
out on occupational health and safety as well as the environment. This had mainly to
do with education and training and participating in trade union efforts on climate
change issues.

5. Organizing has focused on promoting trade union unity at regional and national
levels, targeted unionization of workers in export processing zones, promoting
unionization of informal economy operators, supporting affiliates for specific
organizational activities.

6. ITUC-Africa has also worked on developing capacity for intervention in economic and
social issues through research, publication and training. This includes initial work on
modeling an alternative development paradigm for Africa and for pursuing regional
integration. Meanwhile, progress is underway in securing means of engagement with
the AU and its organs.

Human and Trade Union Rights

7. The situation of human and trade union rights continue to witness serious abuses at
workplaces, homes and communities. The attacks have led to loss of jobs, incomes,
freedom and in some cases, serious physical injuries and loss of lives. Workers and
vulnerable groups such as women, children, the elderly and the poor are at the
receiving end of these attacks. The rise of terrorism and terrorists’ attacks as reported
in some cities on the continent represent new threats and developments posing
serious threats to safety, security and stability.

8. The on-going global economic recession continues to adversely affect working
families. The austerity measures adopted by managers of the economies are
exacerbating hardship, poverty and inequality. Public service delivery is nose-diving in
terms of quality and coverage as governments continue to cut social spending funds.
Unemployment remains high with the greater effects on young persons, women and
the poor.

9. The armies of the working poor are growing as wages remain low. The prices of food,
particularly staples are skyrocketing as climate change effects are affecting food crops
production. These developments have prompted the World Bank and World Food
Programme to issue warnings about likely outbreaks of hunger and malnutrition
across the globe, but with more adverse impact on the African continent at the later
part of this year and early next year.

10. There have also been attacks on the rights of workers and trade unions to effectively
organise and unionise. Systematic methods are being used by employers and
governments to achieve this. The attacks on the right to strike aim to blunt this
workers’ and trade union tool for exacting legitimate pressure for the defence and
promotion of their interests.

11. As parts of the efforts to deliver on the expected outcomes identified in the ITUC-Africa strategic plan for 2012-2015, some intervention efforts, within the period
under review, were deployed to improve the defence, protection and promotion of
human and trade union rights1.

12. This report highlights some infractions on workers’ rights to organise and the
renewed attack on the right to strike; countries at risk and the need for greater
solidarity among affiliates; migrant workers and xenophobic attacks; journalists’ safety and the campaign to halt impunity.

Threats to the rights to organise, collective bargaining and to strike

13. Employment relations continue to change to the detriment of workers. Employers
are opting to use labour brokers to hire and fire. More employment contracts come
with reduced benefits that help in employers’ quest to profiteer. Flexible labour
regimes continue to be on the rise, which are reducing protection for workers. Capital
is relentless in the attacks on working peoples’ rights so as to continue to extract
surplus to satisfy shareholders. They have successfully recruited governments who
continue to provide labour regime concessions to employers in the guise of
encouraging foreign direct investments and jobs creation.

14. For instance, as part of the broader strategy to continue to profiteer, the Employers’
group at the International Labour Conference (2012) stalled the work of the
Committee on the Application of Standards. They aggressively attacked the right to
strike claiming that this right is not expressly provided for in ILO Conventions 87 and
98. The group, through their Spokesperson also attacked the modus operandi and
integrity of the Committee of Experts alleging that their opinions on the relevant
statutes and instruments are outside their mandate, particularly as it relates to the
understanding of the spirit and letters of ILO Conventions 87 and 98.

15. In similar developments, workers and their trade unions continue to face denial of
their rights to organise and to be recognised when they successfully unionise.
National legislation and proclamations have been erected to undermine these rights.
In some cases, the expansion of the scope of “essential services” is used to deny these
rights. There are also instances where the unions have managed to organise, but are
denied the right to collectively bargain.

16. Where workers have exercised their right to strike, employers and governments have
reacted aggressively using administrative fiats and violent action to undermine
legitimate strike actions. Judicial instruments such as injunctions and summons are
being used to frustrate and quash legitimate strikes. There are instances where trade union leaders are threatened with suits for leading strikes. Mass dismissals and sacks
have also been used by employers and government to undermine strikes. In extreme
cases, repressive actions such as beatings and shooting of strikers have led to serious
physical harm and deaths.

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17. Governments and politicians in Africa appear not be listening to their citizens and
constituents. Rather, they continue to service the interests of big corporations and
capital. There is a growing discontent amongst workers and citizens about the current
situation where their welfare and wellbeing are superintended largely by the logic of
the market.

18. ITUC-Africa has highlighted the need for prioritising and directing solidarity efforts. It
has developed certain campaigns on a number of struggles. It has also established a
Human and Trade Union Rights Network (HTUR Network) – a rights observatory, to
improve reporting on rights violation and to achieve better coordination of
interventions. The HTUR Network has focal persons nominated by affiliates. For the
campaigns, there is the “Countries at Risk” Campaign, which includes countries like
Swaziland (struggle for democracy as well as economic and social justice for workers
and peoples of that country); Zimbabwe (struggle for democratisation and the revival
of the national economy, and the promotion of workers’ rights). Other countries
include Madagascar (struggle for genuine return to constitutional democracy); Guinea
(struggle to halt government’s interference in trade union activities and
administration).

Defending the rights of migrant workers: halting exploitation and xenophobic attacks

19. Migration is one of the permanent features of the changing global political economy.
The effects of neo-liberal globalisation and structural adjustment policies have
deepened inequality and poverty in Africa. As part of the response to this,
households’ decisions have favoured migration as means of contributing to
households’ income and finances. Figures show that remittances from labour
migrants are substantial and higher than Overseas Development Assistance (ODA). It
is widely held that these remittances have helped households to sustain food
consumption, provide medical care and education. However, migration in Africa is
largely unregulated with a near absence of policy framework.

20. When workers move to other countries in search of jobs and income, they put an
increased pressure on employment and wage earnings. Their entrance increases the
supply side of the labour market. The situation of many migrant persons and workers
has witnessed developments that are worrying. Instances of discrimination,
exploitation, harassment and absence of social protection coverage, forced evictions
and displacements are some of the problems migrants and displaced persons face.
This intensifies competition among workers, creates bitter divisions, and induces hate
and xenophobic sentiments and attacks. This situation undermines the unity of
workers’ struggle and the potential for their emancipation. Xenophobic attacks
against African labour migrants have been experienced within the continent, in Europe and lately in Israel. The Middle East has continued to be a strong African
labour migrants’ destination, especially for domestic and construction workers.

21. Migrant workers lack effective voice and representation. They are mostly not covered
under existing national social protection schemes. Undocumented migrants are easy
prey for exploitation by employers. Most migrant workers in Africa are not effectively
linked and connected to the trade unions in their host countries.

22. Cases of violent conflicts in Africa have exacerbated the plight of migrant workers.
Humanitarian crisis around migrant and displaced persons are telling harrowing
stories that demand urgent attention.

23. Specifically, two years after the France, United States, Britain and NATO led invasion of
Libya, hundreds of thousands of people have had to flee Libya, and among them are
many migrant workers and refugees from Sub-Saharan Africa, who were suspected to
be Gadaffi’s mercenaries. They were settled in Choucha camp in Tunisia opened by
the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees in early 2011. Most of the
displaced persons have returned (though not necessarily voluntarily) to their home
country. However, 1300 people from different countries, predominantly Sudan,
Somalia, Eritrea, Chad and Nigeria still languish in the Choucha camp. These persons
are trapped in unbearable conditions. The European Union plans, as a measure
consistent with their policy of externalization of refugee management, to integrate
these people in Tunisia rather than allow them to go to Europe. The refugees and
migrants do not feel safe in Tunisia and are not awarded a legal status because Tunisia
does not yet have laws concerning asylum. Clearly, these persons should be resettled
in countries with asylum system.

24. The near absence of clear national and regional policy on migration is responsible in
part for the abuses suffered by migrant persons and workers. There is also a weak
regulation of the existing and growing recruitment agencies, a number of which are
reported to engage in sharp and dubious practices. Awareness on the part of
potential migrant persons is also low and largely urban area based when it exists.
Conscious effort is needed to address these gaps. Urgent action has to be undertaken
to defend and promote migrants’ rights as well as provide workers’ awareness on
these rights. Action as a whole needs to be taken for the formulation of progressive
policy on migration across Africa.

25. We learn that the United Nation has commissioned a High Level Dialogue (HLD)
process on migration in Africa to be coordinated by UNECA. This initiative should
contribute to achieve an outcome that will secure protection and promotion of the
rights of migrant workers. Further, given that migration is largely in search of jobs,
discussion on it must place premium on decent job creation. Similarly, the issues of
human rights and justice around migration must also be well and sufficiently
addressed. Finally, we underline that when it comes to labour migration, the ILO as a
specialized UN organisation has the expertise and sufficient knowledge to drive the
process at the national, regional and international level. 6

26. Rape and sex slavery: civil conflicts in Africa have exposed women, the elderly,
children and migrants to harrowing experiences and painful hardships. Though there
continue to be signs of hope that peace and stability will be restored to Somalia, the
signs are worrying elsewhere. The plights of women in North and South Kivu are
disturbing. Reports show that rape and torture are increasingly used as weapons of
war by the warring parties. An average of 200 rape cases is reported per day. The
rapes are carried out by the militias and government forces. The women are
dehumanised and physically assaulted to the extent of suffering damages to their
genital parts. Children are also recruited as soldiers whilst forced labour in the mines
continues unabated.

27. For all these abuses, a very negligible number of persons have been prosecuted, thus
spreading impunity. For these victims and their families, accountability and justice are
things they want to see happen.
A concerted regional intervention in the Congo is needed urgently to rein in these abuses
and secure peace and stability in that country. We call for the convocation of an
emergency dialogue process on the DRC.

Safety of journalists and end to impunity

28. The power of information in the modern age has resulted in news and journalism
having become an increasingly contested domain. Journalists often face attempts at
influence or censorship, but to an alarming extent they also find themselves under
physical threat. Journalists around the world and those close to them often face
physical danger ranging from threats, attempted or actual assaults, abductions,
disappearances, and even death – in addition to the dangers posed by being caught in
the crossfire of the violent events that they cover.

29. Freedom of expression and the right to receive information are fundamental rights on
which the realization of many other rights depends. They are also the cornerstones of
democracy, good governance, accountability and a precondition for individuals and
society to take informed decisions. The alternative to a world in which journalists are
safe is a world in which decision-making is based on ignorance, superstition and
rumour. It is therefore not only a personal tragedy but a threat to society as a whole,
including workers and trade unions, when journalists are killed or attacked because of
their work2. The experiences from Africa are worrisome and make the prospects of
press freedom bleak.

30. These killings have all gone largely unresolved. This is so because there is the absence
of political will to investigate, prosecute and sanction perpetrators. Absence of
accountability gives vent to impunity. From the foregoing therefore, the following

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At the last count, figures from the Federation of African Journalists (FAJ) show that 16 journalists were killed in 2010; 18
murdered in 2011, and of the 16 journalists killed in 2010, 11 were victims of targeted attacks. So far, 8 journalists have been killed in 2012
with two failed attempts. Somalia is the deadliest country for journalists in Africa in the past four years, with seven media workers killed so
far this year. Eritrea is the worst jailer of journalists in Africa with 32 journalists imprisoned incommunicado for more than a decade. Some 5
journalists are serving more than 10-year jail term in Ethiopia while a radio journalist is serving life in prison in Burundi. Most of the victims
are men; women are exposed to other forms of gender specific violence that may not be lethal.

Points of actions need to be considered:

 Pushing the State to provide better protective environment for
journalists and to conduct prompt and exhaustive investigations into all
suspected cases of violations of the right to life of journalists so as to ensure
justice and accountability.

 Advocating for the de-linking of new pieces of legislation, particularly
those aimed at promoting national security and fighting terrorism from
attempts to further censor the press.

Organizing

31. There is an overall decline of trade union membership arising from a number of
factors. These include high levels of unemployment, the expansion of the informal
sector, subcontracting of labour and various atypical forms of work. The trade union
situation is worsened by fragmentation that results from some internal divisions as
well as changes in the political landscape that impact on trade unions.

32. ITUC-Africa has placed organizing at the core of its current preoccupations. The
components of organizing include recruitment of new members in both formal and
informal sectors; promoting internal democracy through encouraging women and
youth empowerment in the unions; and promoting unity within the trade union
movement.

33. ITUC-Africa’s challenge is to strengthen organization in order to increase and broaden
the bases of African trade unionism through the recruitment of a greater number of
members and more efficient actions.

34. In respect of organizing, however, the main theatre of operation is the national level,
where every effort needs to be undertaken to bring more workers into the fold of the
union, including workers from the informal economy, women and young workers.

35. Particular focus should target the women and young workers including the hundreds
of millions working in the informal economy, or in non-traditional or atypical
situations, such as part-time or temporary work, through extension of full rights and
protection to those performing precarious and unprotected work.

36. Exploitation of workers mainly women in export processing zones (EPZ) in Africa –
There is need to strengthen the organization of working men, women and youth into
trade unions in the export processing zones and to then use this as a basis to
strengthen both collective bargaining and social dialogue.

37. As a result of the huge problem of unavailability of decent jobs on the continent,
many African youth find themselves unemployed or engaged in the informal
economy. Workers in this field however have limited protection as unions have not
fully grown the ability of organizing in the informal sector. The need to pay particular
attention to youth is this sector has to be underscored.

38. Unions have recognized the urgent need to institutionalize youth structures to
encourage and promote young people in the labour movement. An on-going
programme for supporting affiliates to develop youth policies is a step in that
direction.

39. Altogether, African trade unions are committed to pursuing all-inclusive unionization
of workers, including informal economy workers as well as paying particular attention
to promoting the youth and women within their ranks.

40. ITUC-Africa encourages its affiliates in every country to work together towards
developing joint trade union actions and platforms. This is important for ensuring the
representativeness and credibility of national union organizations and for assuring
their effectiveness.

Gender Equality

41. Considerable work has gone on in the last two decades and more within the African
trade union movement towards promoting women’s rights and gender equality. This
has been geared towards reversing a non-progressive pattern, confirmed by several
studies and reports, on the lack of effective participation by women in decision-making and the non-respect for their rights in the world of work. However, this trend
has not been successfully reversed. So far the objectives of gender equality,
promotion of women’s rights and gender mainstreaming are far from being reached.
While the African trade union structures are made up of members of both sexes,
African trade union organizations (and trade union organizations worldwide) continue
to be dominated by men. In spite of the conventions on the promotion of women’s
rights, gender equality and non-discrimination, African trade union organizations
have not been able to translate fully into their internal structures the principles of
equality, equity and justice that they push for in the world of work.

42. The African trade union movement continues to pursue affirmative actions in
consonance with trade union statutes to push forward the agenda of gender equality.
These statutory provisions are helping to show the way towards the empowerment of
women within the ranks of the trade unions.

Social Protection

43. The International Labour Organization has revealed that in Africa, 90% of the
population are excluded from all social protection systems and that the quality of
most social security schemes is no longer in consonance with the realities of the
labour market and does not measure up to decent work standards. Wage differences
are a basic element which increases inequalities regarding universal access to social
security. However, the world has never produced so much wealth as it has currently
produced. It had never witnessed so much social inequalities and misery. Women,
especially African women in this context, are in a particularly vulnerable situation and
face double discrimination in terms of income and social security services. This situation is directly linked to the structural weakness of African States, which causes
them to gradually stop financing basic social services and to drastically cut social
expenses.

44. Fortunately, the conclusions of the 101st Session of the ILC made it possible to have
Recommendation 202 on the Social Protection Floor which is ILO’s response to
globalization that has increased inequalities in the world and contributed to the
marginalisation and exclusion of the poor from accessing minimum social protection.
Recommendation 202 on the Social Protection Floor makes it possible to determine
the responsibilities of each social partner in providing minimum social protection.

45. African States should play their primary role which is to provide, facilitate, promote
and extend social protection coverage to all. The provision of services should be non-discriminatory, adequate and guaranteed. The financial sustainability of the social
protection schemes should be assured. Trade unions and employers’ organizations
should be involved in the design and the management of social protection schemes.
Trade unions should be represented in the various fora of social dialogue where
proposals on social protection are made. Social dialogue and tripartite participation
under equal conditions are necessary to build a consensus-based, effective and fair
model which will make it possible to ensure equity and social justice.

46. Africa can take a steady step towards providing social protection for all by
encouraging all governments to ratify the ILO Convention (102) on social security,
and also domesticate Recommendation 202. Work can also begin on generating
internal resources to finance a social protection floor for all.

Occupational Safety and Health (OSH)

Emerging OSH problems

47. Due to globalization, new occupational challenges were introduced into the region
through introduction of new technologies and adoption of the capitalist mode of
production usually accompanied by anti labour work relations and modes of
production. Since then, working conditions in many African countries have
deteriorated negating significant and hard-fought gains that unions achieved since
our countries became independent in the late 50s and early 60s. On the other hand,
the introduction of new occupational safety and health problems did not go hand in
hand with upgrading of skills and revision of trade union collective bargaining
agreements and training manuals. The region is now facing serious OSH problems
such as work related stress, violence at work, drug abuse and alcoholism which were
not very common before the era of globalization. Globalization has also opened local
markets to dangerous products from developed world including nano manufactured
materials, cancer – causing agents, nuclear waste, electronic waste and other forms
of products containing health – threating substances.

Ratification of ILO OSH Conventions

48. The ILO has developed several conventions and recommendations that are directly
and indirectly focusing on occupational safety and Health. Among those which
directly focus on OSH include those conventions and recommendations covering
specific chemical substances such as those pertaining to Lead and Mercury. Others
cover specific illnesses such as those covering HIV / AIDS and Cancer. However, the
main OSH conventions are C 155, 161 and 187. These are general conventions
covering different areas of occupational safety and health. In order to give effect to
Conventions, a party (National Government) has to ratify and domesticate it. Trade
unions have a role to play in this process as one of the tripartite partner;
unfortunately, the state of ratification of these three key OSH conventions is
disheartening as indicated in the table.

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49. Based on the emerging OSH challenges such as those related to nanotechnology and
nano manufactured materials, electric and electronic products and waste, chemicals
in products (CiPs), highly hazardous chemicals, and lead in paint and the low level of
ratification of ILO OSH Conventions in the region, We call upon African governments
to:

i. Take all measures to operationalize the Bamako Convention by establishing a
functional secretariat at the AU level and appointment of National Focal Points.

ii. Review national legislations that have direct and indirect impact on OSH in
order to mainstream emerging challenges into workplace inspections systems.

iii. Develop a roadmap for ratification of core ILO conventions particularly
Conventions 155 (Occupationakl Safety and Health), 161 (Health Services), 170
(Safety and Health in the use of chemicals at the workplace), 184 (Health and
Safety in Agriculture) and 187 (Promotional Framework for OSH).

iv. Implement in full the ILO Global Plan of Action (GPA) in collaboration with all
stakeholders including tripartite partners.

Climate Change

50. Various studies have shown that climate change can affect employment negatively
and does also provide opoortunities for jobs creation. ITUC Africa has participated in
UNFCCC negotiations and in various regional and national consultations. With the
framework of UNFCCC negotiations ITUC Africa in collaboration with other members
of the ITUC family across the world have supported science – based evidence presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as the basis for
negotiation. In accordance with these scientific facts ITUC Africa has always
demanded for Annex I countries to fulfill their CO2 emission reductions under the
Kyoto Protocol, further strengthening and extension of the Kyoto Protocol, adoption
of a legally binding agreement and a limit of temperature rise of between 1.50C –
2.00C.

51. ITUC Africa has submitted proposals that were well received and are now part and
parcel of the current negotiating text; these include proposals on the principle of Just
Transition and Green and Decent Jobs.

52. ITUC Africa has also implemented a project that aimed at raising awareness and
strengthening the participation of trade union leaders in internationals negotiaotions
such as those under UNFCCC, Cartegena and Montreal Protocols and Chemical
Conventions i.e.Stockholm, Rotterdam and Basel Conventions.

53. However many environmental challenges are still confronting the region; ITUC Africa
therefore calls upon African governments to:

i. Ensure that all national climate change programs particularly those carried out
under NAPAs (National Adaptation Plans) take into account the principle of
Justice (Just Transition) and allows for creation of not only green but decent
jobs as well.

ii. Ensure the full involvement of workers and their organizations in all national
and regional climate change related programs including NAPAs and CAADP.

iii. Ensure that the quest for mitigating climate change does not result into
further deterioration of working and living conditions, re-colonization of Africa
and its people through selling of land to MNCs and their agents and increase
in food insecurity.

HIV and AIDS

Abuja Declaration on Health
54. The Heads of State under the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) met in Abuja,
Nigeria from 26-27 April 2001 and adopted a declaration (Abuja declaration on
HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and other Related Infectious Diseases) in accordance with the
agreement reached at the Thirty-Sixth Ordinary Session of OAU Assembly in Lomé,
Togo from 10 to 12 July 2000. Under Article 26 of the Abuja Declaration the Heads of
States committed themselves to allocate 15% of annual budgets for improving the
health sector with special focus on HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and related infectious
diseases.

Article 26: ‘WE COMMIT OURSELVES to take all necessary measures to ensure that the
needed resources are made available from all sources and that they are efficiently and
effectively utilized. In addition, WE PLEDGE to set a target of allocating at least 15% of our
annual budget to the improvement of the health sector. WE ALSO PLEDGE to make available
the necessary resources for the improvement of the comprehensive multi-sectoral response,
and that an appropriate and adequate portion of this amount is put at the disposal of the
National Commissions/Councils for the fight against HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Other
Related Infectious Diseases’.

55. In 2006 (2 –4 May), the AU Heads of States met in Abuja and adopted the ‘Abuja Call’
on ‘Universal Access to HIV/AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria Services by A United Africa
by 2010’. In adopting the Abuja Call, the Heads of States mandated the African Union
Commission (AUC) to conduct a five year review of progress in 2010 and report back
to the Assembly and Ministers of Health.
There is indicative information that only two African States (South Africa and
Botswana) are close to setting 15% of their annual budgets to health; little is known
about the rest.

Membership in Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs)

56. The emergence of HIV and AIDS in late 1990s compelled the international community
to establish a global fund to fight HIV/AIDS and associated diseases i.e. Tuberculosis
and Malaria. The Global Fund to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria (GFATM) was
then established in in 2002 and has become the main financier of programs to fight
the three diseases. It is estimated up to 2012, GFATM had approved more than 1,000
programs in 151 countries, has made available USD 22.9 billion and allowed 3.6
million people to access HIV related treatment and 270 million have been provided
with insecticide – treated mosquito nets. The financial assistance from GFATM is
channelled through institutions known as Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCMs).
Each recipient country is obliged to establish a CCM whose composition included Civil
Society Organisations, Trade Unions, Employers’ Associations, Private Sectors, and
Government representatives. Unfortunately, trade union membership in CCMs across
the continent is very low. According to available information, membership has only
been secured in Cote d‘ IVOIRE (UGTCI), Tanzania (TUCTA), Morocco (UGTM),
Mauritius (MTUC), Chad (UST), Cameron (CSTC), Uganda (NOTU), Sierra Leone (SSLC),
Zimbabwe (ZCTU), Togo (CSTT), Swaziland (SFTU) and Nigeria (NLC).

Economic and Social Policy Intervention

57. The 2nd Congress of ITUC-Africa underlined the need for a new development model
for Africa which is firmly rooted in systematic progress towards regional integration
for Africa. The reasons for this commitment are justified by the current development
level in Africa which still faces major challenges. In operationalizing the resolution of
Congress, ITUC-Africa is focusing on contribution that helps to shape development
policies and change the nature of globalization.This is derived from an assessment
that current development patterns in Africa face critical challenges, including:

 Acceleration of deregulation, deregulation and privatization of public
enterprises and services, rule of financialization at the expense of real
sectors of activity and the weakening of the function of economic and
social regulation of the State;

 Limited scope of the strategies and programs recommended by the
international and regional economic institutions and their inconsistency
with national strategies;

 Exacerbated plundering of the continent natural resources coupled with
continual environmental degradation in countries and increasing
marginalization of African economies in the global economy;

 Lower investment in public and social services (health, education, water,
electricity, telecommunications, transport ...) and limited access to
services and social protection;

 Weakness of industrialization and regional integration process on the
continent, acceleration of informalization of African economies and job
insecurity, excessive youth unemployment;

 Glaring deficits in the respect for human and labour rights as well as for
social dialogues processes.

58. In striving to fulfill the madate of contributing to shape development policies and
changing globalization, ITUC-Africa work is underway to establish a framework for
vigorous engagement by African trade unions. This is being built around five themes,
namely :

a. The major problems associated with current neoliberal economic policies in
Africa
- What are the current problems?
- How to overcome them?

b. Measuring economic performance and social progress
- What conclusions should we draw about economic performance and
social progress on the continent?
- What can be done to improve this?

c. A sustainable model of growth and development
- What role for the state in the development process?
- What policies can be initiated to boost growth and development on the continent in terms of industrialization, sectorial transformation, promotion
of trade and regional integration, promotion of decent work?

d. Fair and inclusive labour market for decent work
- What is the situation prevailing in the labour market in Africa?
- What policies initiated to make decent work a reality for the people of Africa?

e. Financing Africa’s development
- What types of financing options or should be used for the development
of the continent?
- How to mobilize the internal resources necessary to achieve
sustainability?

59. Knowing that the continent is rich and her political rulers must be challenged to
address the current paradox of a rich but poor continent, some definite ideas have
already been thrown up for securing financing for social and labour outcomes that
need to be carefully considered, including :

 Redirecting mineral exploration in an effective revenue and employment
generating manner. In other words, Africa must strive through the application
of the right mix of policies and political will to begin to pursue value
addition/transformation to its raw materials, minerals and natural wealth.

 Accountable and transparent governance- sufficient political will to fight
corruption, wastage, white-elephant projects, rent-seeking and clientism.

60. Undertaking an aggressive and progressive tax administration system. Public taxation,
especially pay-as-you-earn is the most effective in terms of collection and
administration on the continent. And workers in the public and private sectors are the
main payers of taxes. Corporate taxation is weak and in most cases scandalous as
evasion is high and others make peanuts payments. There have even been reported
cases where high public earners like politicians consider paying tax as an act of
charity- An aggressive and progressive taxation reform is needed. Trade unions will
continue to push and advocate for this.

61. Stolen assets repatriation. World Bank estimate shows that the amount of money
stolen from developing and transition countries is about $20 billion to $40 billion per
year3— figures equivalent to 20–40 percent flow of official development assistance.
The damage resulting from such thefts includes the destruction of public institutions,
the weakening of the private investment climate, and the corruption of social service
delivery mechanisms for basic health and education programs.

62. Need to seriously consider the tool of Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) to redirect
distribution and also to be able to effectively discipline the financial market.
Essentially, FTT means levies imposed on financial transactions relating to shares,
bonds, derivatives and currencies. So far, over $15 billion has been raised through this
means. Being aware that the recklessness of private sector financial markets has
further exacerbated Africa’s economic crisis, which is impacting heavily on the poor
through cuts in social spending, FTT will ensure that financial speculations are discouraged and that productive investments, which create jobs, are encouraged.
Revenue generated from FTT can help fund MDGs social services such as education,
pipe borne water, health facilities and the fight against the impact of climate change.
We must add quickly that this is not new as 40 countries are already applying the FTT,
though unilaterally. The trade union demand is for a multilateral approach.

 [2]

63. Remittances from abroad are higher and more dependable than overseas
development assistances. An aggressive and imaginative collection arrangement can
be developed put remittances to continuous good use.

Conclusion and Recommendation

64. The 2nd Congress of ITUC-Africa affirmed the contribution of African trade unions
towards strengthening the AU and its structures for consolidating democracy and
good governance in Africa. This was partly based on the recognition that the AU itself
at its inception in 2002, resolved to be a people-centred institution by allowing and
encouraging citizens’ engagements with its organs. Before then, the OAU Declaration
on the Political and Socio-Economic Situation in Africa and the Fundamental Changes
taking place in the World (1990), underscored Africa’s resolve to seize the initiative to
determine its destiny and to address the challenges to peace, democracy and
security. This was followed by the Charter on Popular Participation for Transformation
and Development adopted in 1990 as a testimony to the renewed determination of
the OAU to endeavour to place African peoples at the centre of development and
decision-making. It is also held that the creation of organs such as the Pan African
Parliament (PAP) and the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) are clear
indications by the AU to create more spaces for citizens’ and popular involvement in
the African integration process and in responding to the challenges of development
and democracy in Africa.

65. In assessing labour markets and the values and principles that can underpin their
operations, ITUC-Africa affirms the particular contribution that the Labour and Social
Affairs Commission can make in securing valuable outcomes and in ensuring that
labour market practices and institutions in Africa make their due and appropriate
contribution to the economic and social development of the continent. Already, the
LSAC stands out as the one AU organ that provides room for some engagement
among the social partners. Given the experience of all the partners with tripartism in
the global arena at the International Labour Organization and tripartism’s positive
contribution to setting international labour standards as well as instituting
mechanisms for their promotion and supervision, it is about time we began a
reflection on the modus operandi of the LSAC. This reflection can focus on how to
improve the operations of the LSAC, particularly in relation to its tripartite character
and the processes of engagement and decision making among the partners within the
Commission. This is essential for ensuring that this important organ of the AU can
make more meaningful contribution to the respect for rights and the application of
international labour standards in the world of work in Africa.

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ITUC AFRICA

2017
Aug 29

Communiqué and Plan of Action of 13th Civil Society Forum

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