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ECOWAS Commission Holds Social Dialogue Forum
Group photograph of participants

Abuja, November 4th 2019. The Commission of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is holding the inaugural bureau meeting of its social dialogue forum to develop the 2019-2013 work plan and strategize on implementation of outlined activities.

The two-day meeting which began on the 4th of November 2019 at the ECOWAS Commission headquarters in Abuja, Nigeria will also allow for the amendments of rules of procedure with a view to incorporating clearly defined rules governing the modalities for the election of members to the bureau, among others.

The Forum exists to prevent and resolve conflicts, promote peace and stability while stimulating socio-economic development and integration at both national and regional levels.
Welcoming participants to the meeting Director, Dr. Sintiki Tarfa Ugbe, Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs of the ECOWAS Commission stated that their attendance is an indication of individual and institutional commitment to the social development of the region regarding the promotion of decent work and employment.

R-L Mr. Dennis Zulu, Dr. Sintiki Ugbe and Mr. Dounama Abdou

She stressed that the need for social dialogue (including collective bargaining) “is invaluable in our endeavours to reduce social tensions in times of crisis, and designing policies that fit the gaps in our individual nations”.

Dr. Ugbe stated that social dialogue creates a solid foundation for the commitment of employers and workers to joint action with governments in taking strategic measures to overcome crisis and obtain sustainable recovery.

Echoing the decent work policy of the ECOWAS Commission, Director Ugbe affirmed that the Commission is committed to ensuring that the bureau is well equipped to deliver on its mandate while providing the newly elected bureau with the needed orientation about the forum.

In this regard, she reiterated the strong desire of the Commission to facilitate the attainment of the Forum’s lofty goals as well as achieving significant progress in the promotion of social and economic integration within West Africa.

The Director, International Labour Organisation (ILO) for English-speaking West Africa and Regional Representative to ECOWAS, Mr. Dennis Zulu expressed delight at the fact that the 2019-2023 work plan will be closely looked at during the meeting.

According to him, the ILO sees the Social Dialogue Forum as a very important vehicle within ECOWAS, given the critical nature of the task regarding the organization of labour laws and what citizens usually experience in terms of decent work conditions in the region.

Declaring the meeting open, the President of the ECOWAS social dialogue forum, Mr. Dounama Abdou urged unflinching commitment to the task of building a healthy, peaceful and stable West Africa while scrutinizing the regional agenda of the forum.

The regional tripartite forum of social dialogue was established in 2011 by the ECOWAS Commission to serve as a platform for consultations, negotiations and information exchanges between representatives of government and workers as well as employers’ organizations on issues of decent work and employment in the region.

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