Africans urged to respect trade union rights

The Coordinator of Human and Trade Union Rights, Joel Akhatar Odigie, has called upon African countries to take action against abuses of human and trade union rights on the continent. He made the call Thursday while speaking at a meeting in Kigali that brought together trade union members from 17 African countries.

The Coordinator of Human and Trade Union Rights, Joel Akhatar Odigie, has called upon African countries to take action against abuses of human and trade union rights on the continent.

He made the call Thursday while speaking at a meeting in Kigali that brought together trade union members from 17 African countries.

A trade union is an association of workers that seeks to protect and advance the interests of its members by negotiating with employers on pay and conditions of work.

“There are serious allegations regarding human and trade union rights violations in countries like Swaziland, Somalia and Djibouti among others; so, we call upon the leaders of those nations to respect those rights,” he said.

Odigie stressed that they have tried to demonstrate to African leaders and decision makers the state of trade unions and human rights violations on the continent, but these were still rampant in some countries.

“The state of trade union rights continue to be abused, we have documented the abuses, we are looking for concrete actions, “he noted.

He hailed Rwanda for recognising the rights of trade unions, adding that they want to be part of the country’s campaign to move away from the past and build for the future.

According to Africain Biraboneye, the Deputy Secretary General of the Confederation of Trade Unions in Rwanda (CESTRAR), strong unions are necessary for effective collective bargaining - an important way of regulating industrial relations and determining workers’ wages and benefits.

“Trade union rights are not completely secure and the right to collective bargaining is severely limited,” he said.

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