EAC strives to thwart challenges of labor mobility and employment | New times


The challenges affecting regional labor mobility and employment will, in the near future, be easily resolved following extensive deliberations between the East African Community (EAC) and the Confederation of East African Trade Unions (EATUC) on strengthening the labor, employment and migration agenda, which took place on Friday, November 29 at the EAC headquarters in Arusha, Tanzania.

Meeting participants committed to operationalize a regional technical working group that will always and expeditiously address relevant challenges whenever they arise.

According to the EAC secretariat, the two organizations are committed to setting up a technical working group, which will address issues and challenges affecting labor mobility in the region and the implementation of the joint program for the exchange of young workers between EAC partner states.

MP Pierre-Celestin Rwigema, a Rwandan member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), told The New Times on Monday (November 22) that the creation of the technical working group would be a good initiative.

Rwigema said: “This can be the first step in solving a problem. I appreciate that there is a technical working group to manage these things.

“If the Council of Ministers was really, strongly dynamically engaged, everything can move forward because it is they (Council) who implement things. For us, as legislators, we (pass laws) and conduct oversight activities. “

A Memorandum of Understanding guiding the process – which will be presented this week to the EAC Council of Ministers for consideration – was endorsed by the Fifth Forum of EAC Ministers Responsible for Labor and Employment at their meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania on October 29. .

During last week’s meeting, EAC General Secretary Peter Mathuki urged EATUC to proactively lead the finalization and implementation of the draft labor migration policy of the EAC.

“Once finalized, the policy will guide national laws, policies and regulations on labor migration within and outside the region,” Mathuki said.

Mathuki noted that a meeting of directors in charge of labor will be held in February 2022 to review the draft policy for adoption by the EAC Council of Ministers.

Accelerated mutual recognition agreements so that professionals can move freely

Mathuki also urged EATUC to also help speed up the finalization and operationalization of Mutual Recognition Agreements (MRAs) allowing professionals to move freely in the region.

David Singano, CEO of the East African Law Society, told the New Times on November 10 that the regional bar is consulting and working closely with sister bar associations at the national level to get partner states to recognize qualifications in practice. other countries, as guaranteed by the Common Market Protocol.

The stalled MRA for lawyers, he said, is being revised for signature and once signed will provide a framework for the recognition of qualifications from other countries. Singano said there were also discussions to resurrect the Cross-Border Legal Practices Bill in the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).

Since 2012, the EALS and the national bars have been at the forefront of steering the negotiation process to present a framework governing cross-border legal practice within the Community within the framework of the Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA ).

The agreement which aims to allow cross-border legal practice in the region has yet to be signed by the bloc’s attorneys general.

EATUC President Peter Werikhe called on the EAC to establish a Sector Council of Ministers Responsible for Labor and Migration and to increase the frequency of meetings to address critical issues on labor, employment and migration.

“We also call on the EAC to involve all relevant stakeholders in EAC recovery plans and strategies after Covid-19, to ensure that the decent work agenda is on the table,” noted Werikhe.

Kenya Central Organization of Trade Unions (COTU-K) General Secretary Dr Francis Atwoli, among others, called for the establishment of an office at the EAC secretariat, which will deal with regional labor issues at the secretariat. , an idea that was well received by Mathuki.

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