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ITF backs Senegalese workers in BRT project 

16 May 2019

The ITF has hosted an event in Dakar, Senegal, 13-15 May, to help prepare workers and their unions for the city’s planned bus rapid transit (BRT) system.  

Participants learned what has happened on BRT projects elsewhere in Africa, met with Senegalese government officials responsible for BRT and visited transport workers in Dakar.  

The union activists and leaders visited two bus stations and interviewed women and men workers. The informal workers shared their realities of the transport system: low salaries, no employment contracts, long hours and long commutes. The workers also talked about harassment by passengers and police, security issues, safe access to toilets and water provision and pollution.  

The opening session was chaired by Innocence Ntap Ndiaye from the government’s High Council of Labour Relations. Innocence Ntap Ndiaye said: “We are ready to promote new agreements in transport that promote decent work. We would like to encourage union representation, particularly of informal transport workers.”   

Participants also heard from Le Conseil Exécutif des Transports Urbains de Dakar (CETUD) - the government BRT implementation agency – and the Ministry of Infrastructure.   

A discussion between the CETUD and union activists included: 

  • calls for realistic job creation projections, job loss estimates and plans to mitigate negative impact on jobs 

  • questions about how it will be possible to make BRT-only lanes 

  • union demands to be involved in BRT planning 

  • calls to consider all workers affected by BRT, eg informal transport workers, taxi drivers, bus station workers 

  • questions about how ticket prices will change over time 

  • plans for 50 percent of BRT workers to be women, but activists said women workers will need to be supported and trained to achieve this  

The ITF-affiliated unions present, Fédération des Transports de l'UDTS and Union des Routiers du Sénégal (URS), in general welcomed BRT in Dakar, but want more involvement now and a wider definition of transport workers included in the official consultation.  

The unions will be following up with the CETUD in regard to union inclusion in BRT planning. 

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