External Evaluation Report: LO-Norway’s Programme of Cooperation with BWI

Published: 2011 by LO Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions
Commissioned by:LO Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions
Carried out by:Nora Wintour
Tags:Africa

Summary

Background:
LO –Norway commissioned an evaluation of the BWI East Africa project 2006-2009 and a mid-term review of the current project, which runs from 2010-2014

Purpose/objective:
To assess the results of the support provided to BWI and the affiliated unions by LO and to assess the modality of cooperation with  BWI and provide recommendations on areas for improvement, in particular related to monitoring and reporting on performance by BWI.

Methodology:
The evaluation is based on an analysis of the narrative and financial reports of the BWI gender projects 2006-2010, various workshop reports, BWI policy documents and research reports as well as a survey of all affiliates participating in the project, based on a questionnaire. The evaluator also undertook a field mission to Kenya, Tanzania and Ghana carried out from November 9th – November 23rd 2011. The evaluator interviewed various representatives of BWI.
 
Key findings:

Recommendations:
1.Project Continuation: The East African BWI affiliates in the construction and building materials sector are relatively weak organisations with a limited financial base.  Union density rates are low. The unions should be considered priority beneficiaries of international cooperation and the current project should be continued until at least 2014.   

2.Project Focus:  While gender-mainstreaming should continue as a component of the project, given the small numbers of women in the construction workforce, it should not represent the main focus of the project.  In future, the main focus of the project should be organising new members and signing new collective bargaining agreements, and campaigning around multinationals.

3.Project Management: BWI should review its current financial transfer system with a view to reducing the number of intermediary stages, in order to speed things up, make things cheaper and give the partners more time to implement the activities 

4.Consideration should be given to holding annual planning meetings at the beginning of the year with the National Executive Committee of each union rather than holding a regional event mid-year. Regional meetings could focus on campaign and bargaining strategies.

5.External agenda on bargaining for equality:  The gender equality component of the project should focus on developing a clear bargaining agenda for the sub-region, including a set of model clauses to be negotiated in all new contracts on issues such as maternity protection, recruitment, promotion and access to vocational training, safe transport, sexual harassment and equal pay for work of equal value. 

6.New women leaders should be trained as negotiators, particularly in Tanzania where there are many new entrants to the National Executive Committee.

7.March 8th campaigns could focus on publicising the bargaining agenda, and could seek allies among the trade union centres and other women’s and human rights’ organisations.

8.Consideration should be given to providing a small vocational training scholarship programme to support women wishing to gain a qualification in a construction trade. It could be expected that government vocational training institutes could support this programme after a successful pilot phase. Small focus group meetings could be arranged at worksites or in association with women’s groups, to encourage them to take up vocational training. 

9.Materials, such as leaflets or posters, could be developed to support the bargaining agenda on equality, written in both English and Swahili.

10.Organising and collective bargaining campaigns: The project should continue to support targeted organising campaigns, with a gender perspective, with a view to signing new collective bargaining agreements in strategic companies.  

11.Consideration should be given to providing a short training programme on campaign planning, IT use where necessary,  and use of social networking to project partners and coordinators.  An electronic library to store and access past and current collective bargaining agreements would be a useful tool for negotiators across the region to consult.

12. Model language could be developed on various issues, such as the responsibility of the main contractor to ensure equality of treatment for sub-contracted workers, HIV/AIDs, safety committees, and potentially issues such as local recruitment of non-skilled workforce, and responsibility of the main contractor to conserve or restore the local environment. 
  
13. Multinationals or a “China Watch”: The big issue facing all East African countries is the increasing presence of multinationals in the construction sector. There has been some mapping of the MNEs already.  Chinese construction companies have a notoriously poor record on trade union rights, occupational health and safety, quality construction and ethical behaviour. Consideration should be given to establishing a “China Watch” campaign in East Africa which could potentially win the unions considerable visibility and legitimacy and enhance their political influence.

Comments from the organisation, if any:

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