Eric Mwezi Manzi
Deputy General Secretary

Eric Mwezi Manzi was elected Deputy General Secretary of the ITUC at its Fifth World Congress in Melbourne, Australia, November 2022. From 2020, he was Deputy Secretary General of ITUC Africa.

Eric is Rwandan, was born in DR Congo and began his working life in 1992 as a maintenance engineer. It was here that he also became involved in trade union activity.

In 2001 he was elected Secretary General of CESTRAR (Rwanda Workers’ Trade Union Confederation). He served in this role until 2019, having been re-elected three times and was also responsible for workers’ education.

Eric’s trade union activity was forged during the Rwandan genocide against the Tutsis in 1994, the subsequent war that crossed into DR Congo, and the resulting need for profound economic and societal reconstruction in the country.

As such, peace and reconciliation remained his top priorities as he worked to rebuild a credible trade union movement under a severe government regime.

CESTRAR also faced four revisions of labour legislation in 12 years, attempts to impose total economic liberalisation and a fight to preserve essential public services under threat of their privatisation.

Under Eric’s leadership, CESTRAR achieved big wins for working people, including social elections guaranteeing the mandatory representation of workers, the introduction of specialised chambers for labour disputes, the legal recognition of workers in the informal economy, and the implementation of workers’ health insurance that became a universal health-insurance scheme.

During his time as General Secretary, Eric was also the worker representative on the board for the National Social Security Fund and Vice-President of the National Labour Council. He also founded the Civil Society Coalition with NGOs to monitor the implementation of development policies and to observe elections.

In 2016, Eric co-chaired the 105th International Labour Conference of the ILO as Worker Vice-President and was President of the East African Sub-Regional Trade Union Organisation (EATUC.), 2017-2019.