Civil aviation unions in Africa must come together to combat competition from Gulf airlines, conference declared this morning. This must be supported by better communications between regional CA unions, using new technology like videoconferencing to ensure members are coordinating.
Conference further agreed to continue building capacity through education and research, increase participation of rank and file members in trade union activities, and campaign for governments to support national carriers and aviation workers.
Following on from successful projects in Africa, key strategic transport corridors and hubs have been identified. As well as continuing to work on and regularly evaluate the northern and western corridor projects, a mapping exercise will be conducted to identify key transport corridors in the region.
Future projects will be strategically defined to identify the best targets. The ITF will work with its affiliates to start mapping.
Delegates discussed how NCCs are now at the heart of the ITF’s work in the region.
The point of NCCs is to work together to make all transport unions in the country stronger. An NCC should have a workplan and meet regularly to discuss progress.
NCCs can also have different layers. In Togo, for example, the NCC has separate bodies for young workers, women workers, as well as a leadership group for general secretaries.
NCCs are also a way to build links with informal workers and their unions.
David Cockroft, former ITF general secretary said: I think this has been the most important session in the conference so far. NCCs are the heart of the ITF’s work. This is because the ITF is not about the secretariat, it is about unions working together on the ground. I am delighted to see NCCs becoming so strong.
Bayla Sow said: NCCs are the pride of Africa. When you go to countries like Togo, Nigeria, and Niger, we now see thriving NCCs. But there is still a lot of work to do. Sometimes NCCs are weakened by disputes over leadership, and we need to resolve this. We also need a standard model for NCCs, because at the moment there is a lot of variation. For example, all NCCs should have a two year work programme. Lastly, it is important that NCCs maintain contact with suspended unions, so we can bring them back to the ITF family.
Delegates discuss how NCCs are building union power in their countries.
Raul Sengo, SINPOCAF, Mozambique
We started our NCC last year with two unions, now we have four, and two more unions are ready to affiliate. After the ITF provided training, our unions have won nine new collective agreements. We have become much stronger in a very short time.
Deogratias Birihanyuma, FNTT, Burundi
In Burundi we have used the NCC structure to unite workers in the formal and informal sectors. When informal workers in the sector heard about the solidarity of the NCC, they wanted to join. We now have many informal workers unions affiliated to our NCC, such as the moto-taxi drivers union. Then we opened our door to other sectors, such as social security and the health sectors. By integrating this sector, we learnt how to set up social security policies. These policies have been a major benefit for both formal and informal sectors.
John Kihwele, Tanzania Railway Workers Union
Recently there was a 16 day strike at Tanzania Railways. We are very grateful to the NCC for helping us win this strike. The NCC wrote a letter to the Minister of Transport, and this placed a lot of pressure on the government. NCCs are a vital weapon in our struggles