Negotiations Skills training follow up workshop for SLeTU from Sierra Leone

by Jane Masta, StreetNet Organizer

The follow up workshop on Negotiations Skills Training was organized in collaboration with the Solidarity Centre AFL-CIO and StreetNet International.

The training was held in Kenema City from 23rd to 24th October 2018. This was a follow up workshop from the initial training that was held in May 2018 where participants were given four months to implement the workplans that they had prepared for re-establishment of Municipal Trade Committees.

Those in attendance included among other participants who had initially been trained in May representing four regions, i.e Eastern, Western, Northern and Southern regions, Kenema Municipal Council, SLeTU leadership from Kenema Branch and StreetNet International.

This training was focused on improving the capacity of StreetNet affiliate –SLeTU (Sierra Leone Traders Union) on Negotiation Skills and to further equip SLeTU leaders on how to devise strategies and tactics to get authorities to be directly accountable to SLeTU members and to strengthen their capacity to make authorities implement whatever they have agreed.

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What emerged from the workshop was that quite a lot of work has been done in terms of the workplans that were prepared in May 2018 mainly focusing on re-establishment of the Municipal Trade Committees. Negotiations for re-establishment of the Municipal Trade Committees have already commenced in all the regions despite hostility from some of the municipal leaders in some of the regions.

Since the first training in May, improvements have been witnessed in the interface with the local trade councils (MTC), improvement in negotiation skills, monitoring to enforce agreements/MoU’s, communication skills and working with stakeholders.

Some challenges encountered during the Negotiations on re-establishment of the Municipal Trade Committees included among others:

  • Familiarization with the Local Council Act 2004;
  • Formation of the Municipal Trade Committee;
  • Regular meetings;
  • Lack of internal communication;
  • Lack of respect for others views; and
  • Lack of timely coordination

During the follow up training a courtesy call was made to his Worship the Mayor of Kenema Municipal council a former Regional Chairman for SLeTU in Kenema city. The Mayor highlighted some of the challenges they are facing which included:

  • Political interference of some political figures into the running of trade unions;
  • The non-popularization of the Local Council Act of 2004 largely due to the fact that Councilors don’t read that Act;
  • The need to build the Human Resource capacity of IE operators and Councilors to foster better understanding and collaboration between their institution and the Informal Economy operators.

The Mayor highlighted the disparities between different councils principally because some trade unions operating the country’s Informal Economy have allowed their members to be negatively influenced by ill-intentioned politicians but promised to relate with other councils across the country in an effort to influence their relationship with IE operators in their regions.

As StreetNet International we are looking forward to the re-establishment of the Municipal Trade Committees in all the regions in Sierra Leone as this will go a long way in creating good working relationship between SLeTU and the municipal council. We will continue to provide all the technical assistance that will be needed.