President John Agyekum Kufuor on Tuesday made a clarion call to trade unions in Africa to close their ranks and forge strategic partnership among themselves in order to be better placed to tackle the challenges faced by working people and the competitive demands of the global world.

”As we celebrate the birth of this new organization, I urged all to reflect soberly on how the trade union movement has performed over the past half century and the new role it has to play in ensuring accelerated development of the continent in the interest of workers,” he said.

Mrs. Mary Chinery-Hesse, Special Adviser to the President, read President Kufuor’s speech at the launch of the International Trade Union Confederation –Africa Regional Organization (ITUC-Africa), a new Pan-African union, in Accra.

The ITUC-Africa has been born out of the dissolved International Confederation of Free Trade Unions – Africa Regional Organization (ICFTU-AFRO) and the Democratic Organization of African Workers Trade Union (DOAWTU).

Both organizations have been at the forefront of the liberation struggle on the continent and in the process of post-independence nation building.

President Kufuor said the merger of the two principal trade unions of the continent could therefore be deemed most opportune and in the spirit of the African Union’s development agenda.

He commended the various trade unions in Africa for becoming important building blocks for the continental unity.

“If the struggle for independence was difficult, the process towards economic emancipation of the continent is even a more daunting task,” President Kufuor said.

He said Africa should be mainstreamed into the fast pace ICT age so that the workforce would be able to develop the appropriate skills and competencies in order to remain relevant and adaptable to the ever-changing global environment.

Mr. Guy Ryder, General Secretary of ITUC, called on the leadership of ITUC-Africa to take on board the interest and aspirations of all working people of Africa.

He called on African trade unionists to resist attempts by government to privatize essential services such as water, health care, education and electricity.

Mr Kwasi Adu-Amankwah, General Secretary of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (GTUC), said 50 years ago on January 14-19, 1957 Ghana TUC hosted the first African conference of the ICFTU that led to the formation of the regional organization ICFTUC-AFRO.

He said fifty years down the line, Ghana was hosting the founding congress of a renewed African regional trade union organization, ITUC-Africa.

Mr Adu-Amankwah paid tribute to veterans of the African trade union movement for their great work in laying solid foundations for the growth of an enduring trade union organization on the continent.

Source: GNA

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