’Supporting trade union action on economic issues to make decent work a reality in Africa’: such is the title of an international trade union cooperation project initiated by ITUC-Africa in collaboration with two French trade union centres, namely CFDT (Confederation Française Democratique du Travail) and CGT (Confederation Generale du Travail), and co-financed by AFD (French Development Agency).
The project is part of the unity process trade unions are driving to end the proliferation of trade unions and the fragmentation of the trade union movement on the African continent. Fragmentation prevents an adequate involvement of trade unions in the decisions concerning economic and social development and doers not facilitate their actions in the process of social dialogue. This project involves 25 trade union organizations in 7 West African countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea, Mali, Niger, Senegal and Togo). It will last two years (from September 2012 to September 2014). It is intended to build the capacity of trade unions involved in economic and social policy analysis and to enable them become influential actors in the planning and implementation of economic and social policies. The following activities will help achieve this ambition:
1. The establishment of trade union analysis and research committees (CARES);
2. Fourteen national training seminars will be held for trade union experts;
3. Reports and contributions will be produced;
4. A regional seminar will be held to establish a network of national CARES;
5. Campaigns will be organised;
6. For a will be held.
The expected results of this project include:
Debate and ownership of the work done by the economic and social analysis teams;
A dynamic inter-union collaborative work on economic and social issues;
Consolidated networking among trade unions in the West African sub-region;
Economic and social demands of trade unions will be put across to public authorities at national and sub-regional level.
The main organ of the project in each country is the Trade Union Analysis and Research Committee (CARES). A country CARES comprises the members of the trade union organizations involved in the project in each country; there are two representatives (a man and a woman).
Between September and December 2012, the project was launched and the country CARES were installed. To this end, information on the project as well as member profiles and a guide for the development of action plans were provided to the organizations. On the basis of the criteria used in the profile (capability, sex, age, training-experience, quality and responsibility in the project), these organizations designated their representatives in the CARES. Other guidelines enabled CARES to look at their national context and to jointly identify the problems of an economic and social nature facing the workers and the people, identify the actions that need to be undertaken to address these problems and develop a national action plan including two themes for research and campaign.
Country CARES operating as research units are expected to conduct research, organize campaigns and forums to support trade union actions. After their establishment, national capacity building seminars began for CARES members in March 2013 in Togo and Benin. Training sessions for CARES members in Burkina Faso and Senegal are scheduled for April and May 2013 respectively. In Guinea, Mali and Niger, training seminars will be scheduled from July to September 2013.
Trade union organizations grouped into intersyndicales (interunions) will be able thanks to CARES to participate in social dialogue and to influence national strategies thanks to the alternative proposals that they will make jointly in the interest of workers and people in their countries and in the sub-region.
The diagram below presents the 25 trade union organizations participating in the project in the 7 countries.
COSI - Confédération des Organisations Syndicales Indépendantes du Bénin
CSA -Confédération des Syndicats Autonomes du Bénin
CGTB - Confédération Générale des Travailleurs du Bénin
UNSTB - Union Nationale des Syndicats des Travailleurs
BURKINA FASO (4)
CNTB - Confédération Nationale des Syndicats Burkinabé
CSB - Confédération Syndicale Burkinabé
ONSL - Organisation Nationale des Syndicats Libres
USTB - Union Syndicale des Travailleurs du Burkina
GUINEE CONAKRY (3)
CNTG - Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs de Guinée
ONSLG - Organisation Nationale des Syndicats Libres de Guinée
USTG - Union Syndicale des Travailleurs de Guinée
CSTM - Confédération Syndicale des Travailleurs du Mali
UNTM - Union Syndicale des Travailleurs du Mali
CNT - Confédération Nigérienne du Travail
USTN - Union des Syndicats des Travailleurs du Niger
CDTN – Confédération Démocratique des Travailleurs du Niger
CSA - Confédération des Syndicats Autonomes du Sénégal
CNTS - Confédération Nationales des Travailleurs du Sénégal
CNTS-FC - Confédération Nationales des Travailleurs du Sénégal – Forces du Changement
UDTS - Union Démocratique des Travailleurs du Sénégal
UNSAS - Union Nationale des Syndicats Autonomes du Sénégal
CNTT - Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs du Togo
CSTT - Confédération Syndicale des Travailleurs du Togo
UNSIT - Union Nationale des Syndicats Indépendants du Togo
UGSL - Union Générale des Syndicats Libres
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