First for Africa

SAPTU’s (South African Parastatal and Tertiary Institutions Union) proposed cooperation agreement with a university union in Botswana is a first for Africa.

Adv Ben van der Walt, SAPTU secretary general, and members of this union recently met with the University of Botswana Staff Union (UBSU) to talk about ways to work together for the benefit of the unions’ members.

“Since we met with Botswana, the University of Harare union has also contacted us. I am excited about the path we have started to walk here and what it can all entail for the parties involved,” says Adv Van der Walt.

The UBSU also asked SAPTU for clear guidelines on the possibility of establishing institutions such as NEDLAC, CCMA and Legal Aid South Africa that operate in South Africa, also in Botswana.

The focus is to connect SAPTU and other university unions in Africa – especially Sub-Saharan – to talk about opportunities for research and other forms of collaboration.

“I believe we are going to open doors for union members here which will have a tremendous positive influence for all individuals and institutions who want to be involved.”

Both parties, as in many countries today, are faced with the need to adapt to economic, technological, labour market, legislative and attitudinal changes.

“We all agree that the current problems facing trade unions in Africa have created a host of new challenges and require innovative strategies.”

The parties decided to create a collaborative partnership. A Memorandum of Understanding and cooperation agreement are the next steps.

“We believe that working together through committees and forums at all appropriate levels will improve working conditions for members of both unions.”

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash