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Women transport workers build organising skills

03 Jul 2014
Women activists from unions in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda came together last week in Kampala to share and learn new practical techniques to build informal women transport workers’ union power.

The workshop was part of the ITF”s informal transport workers’ project, supported by FNV Mondiaal. Most of the workshop participants are themselves informal workers with women drivers, conductors, ticket agents and others attending.

The women at the workshop learned mapping skills, which they can use to find the informal transport workers in their local area. This learning was based around practical activities at one of Kampala’s main bus terminals, where participants interviewed a range of women workers. They used this information to build profiles of livelihoods, key workplace issues, and potential bargaining counterparts – among other things.

The workshop participants also shared and developed methods for getting informal women transport workers into unions, adapted from the ITF’s organising manual. Finally, the women drew up detailed 12-month strategies for information-gathering and union building back in their home countries.

During the workshop, five informal workers’ associations announced their affiliation to the Amalgamated Transport & General Workers’ Union (ATGWU) in Uganda, which is one of the ITF ‘mentor unions’ for building unions for informal workers, and the host union for the workshop.

ITF Africa deputy regional secretary, Anna Karume, said: “As union leaders and activists, we must all take our responsibility to reach out to informal workers very seriously indeed. We must help our unions build relationships with the informal sector – and I look forward to hearing how the workshop participants put the knowledge they gained in Kampala into practice.”

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