Category Archives: 2023 Africa

Senegal: Construction workers’ union calls on employers to implement OHS as a fundamental right – #iwmd23

The National Syndicate of Construction Workers and BPT (SNTC/BTP), an affiliated with the IBB in Senegal, commemorated the International Workers Commemoration Day 2023 with a workplace campaign in Eiffage Senegal and calling on employers to act for the implementation of SST as what a fundamental workers right.

Uganda: Energy and construction workers push for comprehensive PPE compliance

UBCCEWAU from Uganda took part in IWMD2023 with their members from Energy and construction sectors in a campaign to push for compliance for PPE in all infrastructure and construction projects.

Nigeria: NUCUCFWW joins with BWI affiliates around the world – #iwmd23

NUCUCFWW, from NIGERIA joined BWI affiliates around the world in commemoration of the IWMD2023. The Union is calling for the implementation of OHS as a fundamental right for workers in Construction Industry and for free PPE’s.

#iwmd23 – African unions commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day | Industriall

African unions commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day 

2 May, 2023

To commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day a group of shop stewards from different trade unions in Sub-Saharan Africa came together, in Ghana, to visit and learn about adherence to occupational health and safety standards at state-owned Tema oil refinery and Trafigura’s Tema multiproduct terminal known as Blue Ocean. As symbols of remembrance the workers and delegation wore black ribbons and carried black candles.

Kofi Poku, the union branch chairperson at the terminal said,

“Blue Ocean is known to be conscious on health and safety issues and workers make significant contributions towards creating a safe working environment. The visit by IndustriALL is commendable and highlights the commitment of organised labour at global level to ensure health and safety at work.”

A meeting preceding the visit discussed country reports which focused on: accident reporting systems in Togo, campaigns for health and safety laws in mining that protected workers’ rights in South Africa, and campaigns against precarious work as workers, in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Uganda, with short contracts faced more health and safety risks than those on permanent contracts.

The meeting also heard that Madagascar’s garment and textile factories’ contract workers faced risks that were worsened by sexual harassment which was targeted at young women workers. The meeting discussed the positive impact of the Bangladesh Accord on Sub-Saharan Africa especially the involvement of brands through global framework agreements after the Rana Plaza disaster which happened a decade ago.

In Mauritius, unions were campaigning for proposed amendments to Articles 7, 10, 11, and 22, to the Rotterdam Convention, a global treaty to facilitate informed decision making by countries to manage chemicals in international trade and exchange information on hazardous chemicals and their potential risks. The campaign by the CTSP received government endorsement, and Mauritius’ position will be presented at the 11th conference of parties to the Rotterdam Convention that is currently taking place in Geneva, Switzerland.

Glen Mpufane, Industrial director for mining and lead on health and safety, said:

“Workers have made immense sacrifices on health and safety and as trade union activists we are in solidarity on their demands for safer workplaces. It is a victory for workers that health and safety is now one of the fundamental rights at work and this is why we must have knowledge on international labour conventions and recommendations. However, as we remember the injured and dead, we must adapt our programmes to include human rights’ due diligence and demand responsible business conduct from employers.”

Glen added that workers must remain vigilant on identifying hazards and risks at the workplaces including wearing of appropriate personal protective equipment in hazardous areas and exercising the right to refuse unfair and unsafework.

The participants are part of the Sub-Saharan Africa occupational health and safety committee whose members are drawn from the chemical, garment and textile, mining, oil and gas, and other industrial sectors. This visit was organized by IndustriALL affiliate, the Ghana Transport Petroleum and Chemical Workers Union which organizes workers at the Tema Oil Refinery and Blue Ocean.

Ghana: CBMWU raise workers awareness of their right to healthy and safe work

The Construction and Building Materials Workers Union of TUC ( CBMWU) in Ghana observed this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day together with workers employed at the Amandi Investments Group Limited based in the country’s Takoradi Western Region.
The union’s General Secretary and Industrial Relations officers took advantage of the commemoration and educated workers on occupational health and safety as a fundamental right of all workers. They also offered a minute silence to all construction workers who died in the performance of their work.

Ghana: GCMQWU mark 28 April in advance

Members of the BWI-affiliated GCMQWU in Ghana displayed campaign posters at the Zhongmei Engineering Group Limited on 24 April to mark in advance this year’s International Workers’ Memorial Day and call on employers and governments to implement OSH as a fundamental worker right. #iwmd23
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Namibia: MANWU demands free PPE and mental health services for workers as part of this year’s 28 April

Namibian youth and women from MANWU demanded free PPE and mental health services for workers as part of this year’s commemoration of International Workers’ Memorial Day. #MakeItHappen #iwmd23

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Arab Trade Union Confederation statement for 28 April

President of the Arab Trade Union Confederation, Shaher Sa’ed: “Occupational safety and health at work represents one of the most fundamental rights of workers”

Acting Executive Secretary of the Arab Trade Union Confederation, Hind Benammar: “Implementing national policies of occupational safety and health at work becomes an emergency”

The Arab region celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work [International Workers’ Memorial Day]. This occasion, always, reveals alarming indicators. More than two million male and female workers annually lose their lives and more than 400,000 workers are exposed to injuries due to work accidents, that take place in light of the economic repercussions that represent nearly 4% of the global GDP.

In this regard, Shaher Sa’ed, President of the Arab Trade Union Confederation (ATUC), stated that “it is no longer acceptable to continue lightly dealing with the issue of occupational safety and health, that represent one of the most fundamental rights of workers. The concerned parties, ministries of labour, ministries of health, employers and representatives of workers should review occupational safety and health policies within the framework of a social dialogue in accordance with the international labour conventions on occupational safety and health, mainly Conventions 155, 161, and 187.”

In general, the Arab region witnesses many lacunas in the legislations and regulation of occupational safety and health systems.

In this regard, Hind Benammar, the acting executive secretary, mentioned that “although the issue of occupational safety and health is a concern among all social partners, it is required that this consensus be articulated in national legislation and policies based on the inclusion of occupational safety and health in the curricula of education and trainings, reviewing labour inspection systems in both quantity and quality, and funding health and safety programmes.”

As for the lacunas of Arab ratification of international labour agreements related to occupational safety and health, the acting executive secretary stated that “only Algeria and Bahrain have ratified Convention No. 155. Iraq, Morocco, and Tunisia have ratified Convention No. 187. However, no Arab country has ratified Convention No. 161, on the importance of the government’s engagement with occupational safety and health. On our part, as trade unions, we made all the necessary efforts to secure all safety measures for our workers in all our negotiations. Our aim is to encourage all Arab countries to ratify these agreements and implement national policies respecting occupational health and safety agreements.”

Ethiopia: Multiple safety actions by EIFMWCOTU on 28 April

EIFCMWCOTU is organising three workplace visits and tripartite meetings to  demand the realisation of the fundamental right to occupational safety and health. The BWI affiliate will also organise  work safety committees at five different companies and furthermore engage social partners on OHS.

Kenya: Safety training and capacity building to mark 28 April

Kenyan BWI affiliate KQMWU will hold a safety training session to promote awareness and capacity to mark International Workers’ Memorial Day

KUPRIPUPA will raise awareness on worker safey and health and commemorate IWMD through the planting of trees in workplaces.