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January 20, 2006


Trade Unionists adopt measures to combat privatisation


By Lanre Arogundade


’’Essential services should not be subjected to the logic of profit’’


This was the consensus yesterday of a panel trade unionists and activists that examined the role of the trade unions in the struggle against privatisation at the on-going Mali social forum.


"We know that public services have been accused of corruption and inefficiency but through popular participation of the unions and the people we can have a democratic and transparent public service", said Abdelkarim El Aziz of the trade union movement in Morocco.


Nigerian trade unionist and editor of Socialist Democracy, Daggar Tollar, said for this to be possible, the trade unions must equally fight for the nationalisation of the already privatised commanding sectors of the African economies under popular and democratic control of the working class and its allies including the peasant farmers, youth and women.


Kouglo Lawson Body of Democratic Organisation of Workers and African Trade Unions (DOWATU), in Togo added that "the necessity to guarantee democracy and improve human sustainable development in the world demand that public services are not privatised" because the privatisation of public services like education and health has never been in the interest of the African population.


The panel made recommendations to the trade unions on how to challenge privatisation, which they also said is part of the globalisation agenda being promoted by the capitalist powers.


According to Aziz, "the trade union movement’s capacity need to be developed to be able to monitor, follow and propose alternatives to privatisation in reaction"


The panel including Khulile Nkusubana of the Confederation of Southern African Workers’ Unions, Martin Lofote, Dago Boga, Flaubert Moussole and Jean Engel also said there is the need to strengthen international solidarity of the unions in the north and south with a view to changing the global picture of the privatisation aspect of globalisation.


They said beneath the propaganda of efficiency through privatisation is the reality of job losses and in-accessibility to essential social services like water, electricity, roads, transportation, education and health by the majority of African peoples and called on the unions to broaden their political activities to include collaboration with the civil society.