Speech by the Hon Minister of Public Service Labour & Social Welfare Hon P. Mupfumira at the IndustriALL Globall Union Sub-Saharan Africa Region Executive Committee Meeting at Cresta Lodge, Msasa, Harare on 30 March 2017
The FES Zimbabwe Country Director, Bridget Juchem
Vice Preident, Sub Saharan Africa Region, Issa Aremu
Co-vice Chairpersons, Piet Matosa and Angeline Chitambo
Assistant General Secretary, responsible for SSA, Atle Hoie
Executive Committee members here present,
Zimbabwe National Coordinating Council affiliates leadership
Members of staff
I would like to extend my sincere welcome to all of you who have travelled a long way to take part in this prestigious program. I hope you all had a pleasant trip on your way and I believe your few days here in Zimbabwe will be a unique and positive experience for you.
I am made to understand that IndustriALL Global Union is an international federation which represents the interests of workers all over the world in the energy, mining and manufacturing industries. You may be aware that this federation represents 50 million workers in 140 countries including sub-Saharan Africa. Let me appreciate the federation’s effort in taking up the fight for better working conditions and trade union rights all over the world.
Through organizing, bargaining and campaigning for workers’ rights, the federation will stand as the global voice of all workers in various sectors in confronting global capital.
I am made to believe that, since its inception in 2012, this program has provided insights into multinational dynamics within the region while offering opportunities to policy formulation by governments within the regional bloc. In this multicultural setting, you will learn from one another through free and dynamic discussions. I believe this will establish common ground for further regional cooperation and intercultural dialogue as well as long-lasting friendship.
The agenda for this meeting, which is a realistic appraisal of the challenges that affect workers within the region and proffer possible solutions by the labour movement, has come at an appropriate time when globalization is affecting workers all over the world.
You may agree that globalization is a new paradigm which demands new strategies, tactics and organization modalities. As a result, the trade union must reinvent itself in order to deal with the challenges of the 21st century. This will involve national, regional and international action, basic organizing and engaging in the battle of ideas.
Let me mention that it is labour that first suffers the consequences of globalization, through rising job insecurity, labour market instability, pressure on wages and working conditions, informalization of employment relations and limits on collective representation.
Labour migration is one of the issues that trade unions have to deal with. It involves the movement of people from countries of origin to other countries for employment. Resultantly, labour migration has led to issues of human trafficking, exploitation by recruitment agencies and violation of migrant rights. You may be aware that, currently migrant workers are underrepresented and national borders are also less permeable which makes migration difficult. In view of the above, trade unions need to come up with bold initiatives which promote international labour mobility and that migrant workers are well represented.
Ladies and gentlemen, as you are aware, the world of work has been affected by an increase in informal work, unprotected and precarious jobs. This obviously has far reaching implications of eroding the power and the base of trade union organizations as well as the trade union organisations as well as the right to bargain collectively. Collective bargaining is a democratic and inclusive system for bringing about decent work thereby improving wealth distribution between capital and labour.
In these circumstances, the capacity of trade unions needs to be strengthened in order to face these challenges. This concerns a strong discourse of international solidarity and cooperation through international trade unions acting at the global level cascading to the regional level. Already the existing IndustriALL Global Union federation like this one is considered to be the right institution framework. And I have no doubt you will remain vigilant in upholding the rights of workers.
I can commend that your presence here is a a source of great motivation and encouragement to the entire trade union movement. As government, we feel that, strong democratic unions are essential in any democratic society through promoting industrial harmony, social justice and safe workplaces.
Finally, this is an opportune time for me to wish you fruitful days of interesting and beneficial program and also that you have a pleasant stay in Zimbabwe.
With these few remarks I declare this “IndustriALL Global Union, sub Saharan Africa Region Executive Committee Meeting” officially open.