ITF acting general secretary Steve Cotton today personally thanked Algerian trade unionists for their support for the ITF’s Gaza appeal, its work in Palestine and trade union initiatives in the Arab World region.
Cotton arrived in the country on Monday for four days of talks. He explained: “Unions in Algeria have recorded some extraordinary achievements – including the FNTPA (Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs des Ports Algériens), which is now the third largest dockers’ union in the ITF. They and the FNTT (Fédération Nationale des Travailleurs des Transports) have been long-standing supporters of the people of Palestine and our work to help them, and we look forward to that relationship continuing. With them and the UGTA (Union Générale des Travailleurs Algériens) trade union centre we will be jointly examining how to further increase campaigning, membership and co-operation, and how to help build union strength in aviation and seafaring.”
He continued: “Algeria has the highest number of ITF-affiliated union members in the Middle East region. The country’s strengths in sectors such as gas and oil production and its potential in areas such as seafaring are evident. For those to benefit the people of Algeria, vigorous, involved union initiatives are a necessity, and the ITF is committed to supporting them.”
Today, accompanied by ITF Arab World representative Bilal Malkawi, Steve Cotton met with unions and government officials, and visited the Port of Algiers, the country’s largest. While there he placed a bouquet at a memorial monument to 16 Algerian seafarers on two ships who were killed in a storm on 13 November 2004. Tomorrow he will take part in a celebration of the Day of the Seafarer in Oran where he will be awarding certificates to seafarers. He will then attend talks on the oil and gas sector – where ITF unions are working closely with the IndustriALL global union to build on the already strong union presence – and on building standards in the ferry industry.