LO takes a stand for workers' right to bargain in Southern Africa - through Let’s Talk!

Collective agreement The right to organise and negotiate for decent work conditions is a daily struggle for many workers around the world. To contribute to that fight, LO is organising Let’s Talk! for the third time, this time in Southern Africa.

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The purpose is to strengthen workers' right to organise and negotiate better wages and conditions. As part of the Swedish initiative Global Deal, LO aims to contribute to enabling workers, governments and employers to develop the forms of joint social dialogue - cooperation and negotiation.

By far the best way to achieve better conditions and wages for workers is when the union negotiates for its members. To spread knowledge and experience about how negotiations and social dialogue take place in practice, LO - together with the Swedish Institute (SI) and the Global Deal - is conducting the Let’s Talk! Forum, this year for the third time.

Originally, the forum was supposed to take place on site in South Africa in April, but the Corona pandemic has led to its postponing and being now carried out digitally instead.

The Corona pandemic is raging around the world, a serious disease which causes people to lose their loved ones. Millions of people are also losing their jobs, income and security. At such times, the need for cooperation is greater than ever.

The ILO estimates that millions of jobs have disappeared and the financial damage is difficult to grasp. In the wake of the crisis, it is clear that countries and economies with a well-functioning social dialogue through unions and employers are more likely to find common solutions and show greater resilience to crises than countries that lack well-developed relations in the labour market.

Let’s Talk! provides a forum for union representatives and employers to meet together with decision-makers and representatives of the civil society. This year Let’s Talk! counts participants from, inter alia, Rwanda, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Nigeria, Ethiopia and Kenya.

The participants’ ambition is to jointly contribute to solving the many challenges of our times, in the fields of digitalisation, safe working environment, youth employment, diversity, inclusion and anti-discrimination.

During the workshop, the participants will formulate their particular challenges, and draw up a time plan for how to address these challenges jointly, when having returned to their own countries.

LO’s experience of previous Let’s Talk! workshops has been very positive. Many of the projects that started during the forum still live on well after the departure of the participants. Providing the opportunity for social partners to meet up, together with other organisations, has proved to be the boost that is often needed in order to build up trust and confidence as a first step of cooperation.

In LO’s opinion, the concept used for the forum is so successful that it should be put on a permanent footing and developed into an established training component within the framework of the Global Deal and the ILO. LO has chosen to call it the Global Deal Academy, as an important contribution to strengthening the social dialogue in all its forms.