#timefor8: EATUC brings union demands on SDG 8 and the 2030 Agenda to the political agenda of East African countries

The East African Trade Union Confederation (EATUC) champions the 2030 Agenda and its SDGs, particularly SDG 8, as a highly relevant tool to the work of trade unions for resilience and recovery.

Workers in East African countries (Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi) work in difficult labour markets, which are burdened by poor working conditions, high levels of informality, vulnerable employment and in-work poverty. Hence, fulfilling the promise of the ILO Centenary Declaration and realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda are real trade union priorities in the region.

“In the context of the Covid-19 crisis recovery, the SDGs are more relevant than ever, showing the path towards resilient and just societies. With the support of the TUDCN, we continue to build the capacity of trade unions to effectively engage in recovery strategies of building back better, ensuring that decent work is at the centre of the recovery strategies rolled out by our partner states,” said Khamati Mugalla, head of the EATUC Secretariat.

Raising awareness of the relevance of the SDGs for East Africa among trade unions, decision-makers and the region’s populations at large is a top priority for EATUC. For instance, the confederation published a two-page article about the role of the SDGs, particularly SDG 8, for recovery in one of the region’s major media outlets. Furthermore, on 19 November, EATUC met with the East African Community (EAC).
Among other matters, they discussed ways of bolstering the role of the EAC in achieving the 2030 Agenda and decent work through the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF).

“The meeting concluded with an agreement from the EAC to fast-track the adoption of the EAC Decent Work Programme and used it as part of engaging the UN relevant offices to support the full implementation of the regional Decent Work Programme at the sub-regional level to complement national Decent Work Programmes,” explained Mugalla.

EATUC is constantly providing technical support to its members around trade union priorities on the SDGs in order to strengthen the capacity of unions to utilise the SDGs as a relevant tool for their work. These efforts are paying off as positive experiences are developing at nation level. For instance, NOTU in Uganda and COTU-K in Kenya have organised a capacity building workshop on the UNSDCF process that has engaged the offices of the UN Resident Coordinator in the respective countries.

Building on these positive developments, EATUC organised a three-day workshop in early December to discuss ways of bolstering the role of East African trade unions in achieving the 2030 Agenda and decent work in the region through the UNSDCF. With the facilitation from ILO/ACTRAV, TUDCN, ATUDCN-ITUC-Africa, participants learned about the different UN processes (the UNDSCF and the Common Country Analysis (CCA)) and how to engage in them. The ILO-Dar es Salam office shared the state of progress of these processes in the region, how much trade unions have been involved in each country, and which are the remaining opportunities still available for engagement in each country. The Federation of Somalia Trade Unions (FESTU) was invited to the workshop to share the experience of its successful engagement in Somalia’s UNDSCF 2021-2025. By the end of the workshop, participants agreed on a clear strategy to align the prioririties of the regional and national centres with the targets of the SDGs and ensure that national affiliates engage with the UN processes.