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Workers central to solving Africa’s problems - TUC

Workers central to solving Africa’s problems says TUC

The problems facing Africa won’t be solved without the involvement of African workers and their trade unions, the TUC says today (Wednesday) as it releases its submission to the Government’s Commission for Africa.

In the submission - ‘Social Partnership for Africa’, the TUC argues that without trade unions ‘civil society will never function properly, and the role of the African peoples will remain that of the passive observer or object of social progress’. Using examples drawn from the African trade union movement (which numbers some 12.3 million union members in 56 national trade unions), the TUC criticises the Commission for paying ‘too little attention to the role that social partnership, social dialogue and decent work can play’.

Commenting on the submission, TUC General Secretary Brendan Barber said: 'Africa can’t solve all of its problems on its own, and the Government is right to press rich nations to act. But there is a limit to what the rich nations can do. Without strong democracies and strong economies, Africa will not reap the benefits of fairer trade, more aid and less debt. And strong democracies and economies need trade unions.'

The TUC submission points to the role that trade unions in Africa play in resisting dictatorship (in the past in Nigeria, now in Zimbabwe, where unions have formed the backbone of popular resistance) and in promoting transition - for example in South Africa.

The TUC is calling on the Commission to promote the core labour standards of the UN’s International Labour Organisation (ILO) - no forced or child labour, no discrimination, and the freedom to join a union and bargain collectively.

The TUC submission was drawn up after talks with the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Council of South African Trade Unions and others in Africa.

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