S/Sudan: Conference urges strong unions to make oil a blessing

South Sudanese President Kiir speaks during a news conference with his Sudanese counterpart al-Bashir at Khartoum Airport

South Sudanese President Kiir

02 September 2013, Juba – The first oil industry tripartite conference in South Sudan held at the weekend, recommending the need for a strong trade union movement in order to make oil resources a blessing and not a curse.

The conference, tagged ‘Petroleum workers, employers and the host nation/government: A mutual relationship for accountable management of the petroleum industry’, stated in its recommendations: “In order to make the oil resources a blessing, not a curse, we need strong trade union movement. This will assure responsible frameworks, good governance and responsible companies. Trade unions give workers a voice, and workers should be encouraged to organize”.

It further said “a good legal framework is needed to secure workers’ rights to freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The government is urged to ratify and respect all core labour standards of the International Labour Organisation, and we expect our government to include trade unions and employers in tripartite dialogue”.

The recommendations continued: “The companies in the oil industry must respect workers’ rights and facilitate the formations of unions as per the transitional constitution of the Republic of South Sudan. The companies also must give local union representatives opportunities to take part in training and education and to participate in union activities at local, state and national level.

“The companies must acknowledge the unions as workers representatives and enter into collective agreements on wages, benefits, working conditions and other important issues”.

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