Building the capacity of trade unions in social dialogue for effective participation and representation in decision-making

The ILO DWT-CO in Yaounde, organised a 2-day workshop on social dialogue for 24 trade union leaders and representatives from all trade union organisations in Sao Tome and Principe from 14-15 September 2017. The Director of the Ministry of Labour also participated in the workshop. The aim of the workshop, facilitated by the ILO Specialist for Workers Education, was to strengthen the unions’ understanding and competencies in social dialogue in order to be effective in playing their role as important actors in national policy development while representing and defending workers’ rights.

The workshop helped build the comprehension of participants on social dialogue and its importance and challenges for trade unions. It also helped identify pertinent issues on which the unions need to dialogue with the government and employers. To move forward on these issues, the unions proposed a tripartite training on social dialogue to help each partner understand its roles and responsibilities in national dialogue. It is expected that this understanding will lead to a more harmonious relationship among the social partners.

It was recommended that the unions should be keen to follow, monitor and develop interests and position papers on national policies that affect labour. To do this effectively, unions should form alliance with civil society organisations or labour friendly organisations and academic institutions particularly on areas where they lack deeper knowledge and expertise. Results of the workshop, particularly the issues identified for social dialogue are to be taken up by the unions with the government. The ILO should provide the platform for the social partners to dialogue and assist in realising the capacity building needs of the unions in conformity with its Programme and Budget outcomes.

The Director of the ILO country office in Yaounde, Mrs Vera Paquete-Perdigao urged the unions to take active part in the policy development of the country and make good use of the Decent Work Country Programme activities for trade unions. Closing the workshop, the Minister of labour, Mr Emilio Fernandes Lima, was very grateful to the ILO and affirmed the importance for the social partners to build their capacities for effective participation in all negotiation processes.