Africa’s largest ever global union meeting to open in Cape Town on Sunday
More than 2,000 trade unionists, representing some of the most powerful unions in the world, are arriving in Cape Town ahead of the official opening of the UNI Global Union 4th World Congress on Sunday.
The Congress is the largest global gathering of trade unions ever to take place in Africa and is being held in South Africa to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of apartheid. UNI is the global union for the services sector and is made up of 900 unions with 20 million members.
The opening ceremony, which begins at 15:30 on Sunday 7th December, will include speeches by:
- Ebrahim Patel, Minister of Economic Development, South Africa
- Ahmed Kathrada, political leader, Rivonia trialist, Robben Island prisoner and human rights activist
- Bones Skulu, President of UNI Africa and General Secretary of SACCAWU
- Guy Ryder, United Nations ILO Director General
- Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC
The congress takes place over three days from Monday to Wednesday 8-10 December and will also feature speeches by:
- Jay Naidoo, Chair of the Board of Directors of Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), former General Secretary of COSATU
- Zwelenzima Vavi, General Secretary of COSATU
- Kwasi Adu-Amankwa, ITUC Africa General Secretary
- Owen Jones, British columnist, author and commentator
The theme of the Congress is “Including You” which aims to challenge economic exclusion, and income inequality, with the call to action, “The World Needs a Pay Rise”.
UNI Global Union General Secretary Philip Jennings, said, “We are delighted to bring our World Congress to Cape Town at a time when the whole world is once again remembering the legacy of Nelson Mandela, on the first anniversary of his passing. Mandela’s selfless leadership and his commitment to the labour movement cannot be underestimated at a time when the world is struggling against record levels of economic injustice.”
“It is 20 years since the end of apartheid in South Africa but an economic apartheid of inequality is taking root not only here but right across the planet.”
“The world economy is twisted out of shape. The rich get richer while the rest of us are losing our jobs, pensions, wages and benefits. If the wealth is not shared equally the world will burn. The working people of the world need a pay rise and this congress aims to discuss how to deliver that by challenging social exclusion and income inequality.”
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