PSI holds its 20th AFREC in Nairobi

12 April 2016
PSI AFREC 2016
About 40 participants from 14 countries converged in the capital of Kenya from the 6th to the 8th of April to take part in the discussions brought up by the African Regional Executive Committee (AFREC).

By Rita Arthur

Among the issues discussed by PSI affiliates were those related to the insecurities within the region, violation of trade union rights, fighting privatization and outsourcing, promoting solidarity among affiliates and influencing global polices.

Prior to the main meeting, a Tax Justice Seminar was also held. On the ocassion, Ghana and Nigeria gave their countrie's reports on tax justice campaigns and activities.

Kwesi Obeng, from the Tax Justice Network-Africa (TJN-A), gave participants an overview of the impact of current tax systems on public services provision in Africa. He stated emphatically that tax system is to raise resources and spend them to the benefits of the rich and the poor alike. 

Obeng also urged unions to collaborate with civil societies who share the same views with them in the fight against "tax injustice'. Participants went through a group work exercise on tax justice to give them the opportunity to share ideas.

On the following day the Young Workers and the Women Committee (WOC) meetings paved the way for the main ceremony.

Women

The WOC addressed the issues of young women urbanization. They shared a research made by Action Aid on young women who run from traditional practices and early marriages. They stressed on the point that women should not be deprived from health, water and quality education as well.

Naomi Dedei Otoo, titular for WOC East & West Africa (English Speaking) emphasized that women are the ones who suffer the most when the public services are turned as commodities for sale.

One of the biggest challenges we face as women in trade unions is about privatization of our various institutions, particularly the public services. There is the urgent need from our governments to actually turn these public services into commodities for sale, and if our public services are for sale, then this is going to jeopardize the economy. If you have water, education and health being provided by a private sector, how will it be possible that the general woman out there can afford them meanwhile these are the basic necessities in life. We therefore need to campaign strongly against the sale of these basic necessities in life

The women in session therefore asked for the need to have polices, infrastructure, systems and relationships. Women were therefore encouraged to bridge the communication gap amongst themselves.



Young workers

Even though it is agreed that young workers are the future generation of unions, they lamented at the rate at which young workers are supressed when facing the reality of the unionization of young workers being in general very low at the moment.

It was agreed among themselves as well that the young workers in PSI affiliates across the region are urged to organize different activities under the theme “Combating Precarious Employment" on the International Youth Day, which happens every year on the 12th of August.

The young workers also came up with the following recommendations:

  • Communication and networking: young workers are required to utilize communication technology and social media (such as Email, Facebook and WhatsApp) adequately for dissemination of information, exchanges of ideas and experiences and awareness raising. Affiliates are encouraged to support the young workers in every way possible. AFREC-in-session resolved that affiliates should create youth pages on their websites;
  • The reorganization of informal sectors to join the unions where we need to recruit new members and increase our numbers;
  • PSI regional office to at least facilitate young workers with dedicated young worker coordinator who will assist with activities and upcoming meetings.


   

 

 

Also see