Education, activism, unity key to trade unions actions’ 


Education for action, activism, as well as unity among trade unions is at the heart of workers’ quest to contribute to transforming Africa, Akhator Joel Odigie, General Secretary of the African Regional Organisation of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC-Africa) has said.

Africa is at a critical crossroads in its transformative quest, and workers say they are committed to contributing to the transformation of the continent. The question is, how?

“For trade unions, it is important that we understand the issue first,” Odigie told journalists in Lusaka, while explaining the strategy for trade unions.

“This is why education is important. Education for action is at the heart of everything we are doing right now,” he added.

ITUC-AFRICA where Odigie is general secretary, has been at the forefront of promoting decent work agenda for workers in the continent and has already launched a campaign on reversing Africa’s debt burden as well as stopping Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs) from the continent.

“When you talk about illicit financial flow; it’s about jobs. When people steal resources, the government is not able to create jobs. 

ITUC-Africa has just concluded its New Year School where it improved the capacity of union leaders to be able to take action to address challenges facing workers in their respective countries as well as contribute to Africa’s growth.

The General Secretary explained the need to continue to re-strategise for better trade union engagements.

Furthermore, he noted that another strategy for trade unions is to design their own action to pressure the government for accountability.

“Our action is largely advocacy, and part of the action is mobilisation of workers and the people; engaging government and other socio-economic actors within the terrain of the global financial architecture: notably the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.

“Workers across Africa face various challenges, ranging from poor wages, absence of social protection, abuse of their rights, among others. Odigie argues that workers campaign on IFFS, and the debt crisis will have positive effect on these issues,” he added