The Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Uganda supported the Amalgamated Transport and General Workers Union (ATGWU) between 17 and 18 May 2018 to hold workshop targeting both women and youth. The objectives of the meeting were: To provide a forum for women and youth in both formal and informal sectors to share their experiences and challenges; to introduce ATGWU formal and informal leadership structure and organs for their inputs and lastly to identify organising activities. The outcomes of the events were to generate inputs for the constitutional review process.
The event was held at the union’s office in Kajjansi, Lweza and a total of 70 members representing the Kampala Metropolitan Boda Boda Entrepreneurs Group (KAMBE), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), Entebbe Handling Services Ltd. (Enhas), DAS Handling Ltd. (DAS), Newrest Uganda Inflight Services, G4S Uganda, Securex Agencies Ltd., Industrial Security Services, Tight Security Ltd., SGA Security, Airport Taxi, Bolloré Africa Logistics in Uganda (BOLLORE), KATOBE, GALIMA – Fight HIV/Aids, KK Security Uganda, Kampala Operational Taxi Stages Association (KOTSA), Entebbe Stages and Conductors’ Association (ESCADA), Uganda National Lorry and Driver’s Association (UNLTDA), Katabbi Town Council Boda Boda Enterprise (KATCOBA), Namataba Boda Boda, Transport Association (NAMABITA), and Tukolerawamu – (Markets).
The meeting, which was exclusively designed for the women and youth, was the first of its kind as it provided a space for formally and informally employed ATGWU members to come together and discuss labour issues at their workplaces. During the meeting, ATGWU introduced the participants to its history, leadership structure and organs. This generated a dialogue with the participants about accountability, governance and their roles in the union. They also debated the strategies on how both informal and formal structures can jointly work together. In response, participants suggested the following activities - organising sport events, volunteering in communities, hospitals and care centres for homeless children, organising health camps for example VCT, mobilising fellow women and youth to join the union, among others. In addition, the goal of these identified joint initiatives is to improve the public image of the union and to promote solidarity and cooperation between workers from the formal and the informal economy.
This event was an important step towards overcoming the organizational divide between informal and formal employees, which has paralysed large parts of the Ugandan labour movement over the past decades. ATGWU is now working on implementing the ideas which were mentioned by women and youth in both the formal and informal sectors.