•The increased use of technology in Africa including Kenya, especially mechanization, continues being a great challenge for unions
•The Congress will debate the future policies of the ITUC with a focus on lessons from global shocks
Cotu is keen to ensure workers affected by technology have necessary skills to take up technical jobs instead of massive layoffs.
The Central Organisation of Trade Unions secretary general Francis Atwoli has expressed concern that increased use of technology in Africa including Kenya continues being a great challenge for unions.
Atwoli especially cited the mechanisation of industries as one of the challenges facing human labour.
“The economic gains are not shared equally and many modern day business models are not promoting inclusive and sustainable growth,” Atwoli said.
Atwoli reiterated that Cotu(K) endorses the recommendation of the ITUC in regards to climate change and the advancement of the discussions on just transition considering the extreme weather events which are leading to irreversible melting of ice-masses and the increase decline of biodiversity.
“Further to this is the rights and welfare of workers in the informal sector which can be formalised especially those in the digital space where algorithms are used as a tool of denying workers their rights,” he said.
Atwoli spoke during the ongoing fifth International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) World Congress in Melbourne, Australia.
The congress brings together more than 300 national trade unions every four years to set the global agenda for trade unions.
Their key focus this year being on climate change, climate-friendly jobs, workers’ rights, just wages, social protection, equality and inclusion.
"These have been difficult years, with human catastrophes that continue today. It is heartening to see you all here, from all over the world; defenders of labour rights and human rights,” Pat Dodson, a Labor Senator for Western Australia said.
Based on the draft statement, the Congress will debate the future policies of the ITUC with a focus on lessons from global shocks, technology and its impacts on work, an inclusive union movement and climate and just transition.
Other speakers included ITUC President Ayuba Wabba (NLC Nigeria), Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) President Michele O’Neil, and ACTU Secretary Sally McManus.
“We are in the fight for our lives here to finally win new rights for working people after years of anti-union governments, and we’re lifted by the energy in this room of the international trade union movement," McManus said.