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08.11.2005 General News

Do what poor countries want.... Unionist tells IMF and World Bank

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Accra Nov. 8, GNA - Mr Randall Howard, General Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers Union on Tuesday asked International Transport Federation (ITF) to run an efficient campaign to enable developing countries to get the IMF and World Bank to do exactly what developing countries wanted.

Mr Howard said: "We must be involved in a hard earned strategically organized struggle to enable us to work under better conditions and improve ourselves economically."

Chairing the opening of the Sixth African Regional Conference of the ITF on the theme: "Organizing for Unity, Solidarity and Workers Right" in Accra, Mr Howard called for solidarity among members of the ITF to enable them to have better conditions of service.

He noted that members of the Union work under poor conditions and said it was important they united to enhance their working conditions. He expressed concern about the involvement of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund making decisions for developing countries, saying the developing countries needed genuine help but it must be given without conditionalities.

He said privatisation was not the most effective tool in increasing productivity and efficiency, adding that governments could ensure efficiency and high productivity better.

The conference had about 140 delegates from 35 countries in the African Sub-Region reviewing the activities of the past quadrennial and to formulate policies, plan and strategies for the next quadrennial. Mr Howard told the delegates representing the road transport, railway, maritime and dock, seafarers, aviation and transport logistics industries, that there was an "urgent need to build a strong, democratic and accountable union with hard working leadership to enable ITF members to attain their workers rights.

Mr Howard told the delegates, who were preparing for the first world congress to be held in South Africa next year that they should ensure that trade unions were involved in the decision-making when their governments sought help from IMF or the World Bank. Mr David Cockroft, General Secretary of ITF, reiterated the need for solidarity among members and urged them to come out with policies to guide them in achieving their objectives.

He gave the assurance that the ITF would get more Africans involved in the decision-making during the World Congress in South Africa.

Mr Cockroft advised African governments to maintain their own aviation industry since a lot of companies in the industry were collapsing.

Mr Joseph Atopley, Deputy General Secretary of the Ghana Trades Union Congress (TUC) charged participants to come out with possible solutions for the huge road traffic jams in the cities of various countries, which were disincentives to increased productivity.