NGOZI June 16th (ABP) – The Head of State of Burundi, Mr. Evariste Ndayishimiye, opened, on Tuesday in the premises of the Nazareth center of Ngozi (northern Burundi), the activities of the three-day forum on estates general of social dialogue in Burundi, a check on the site by ABP has revealed.
Under the theme “social dialogue, a factor of economic growth and social progress in Burundi”, that forum aims to assess the step taken after 10 years of setting up the legal framework for social dialogue.
According to the chairman of the Burundi Trade Unions’ Confederation (COSYBU), Mr. Célestin Nsavyimana, the workers commended the establishment of the dialogue framework which establishes a culture of collective negotiations based on respect for the word and for commitments. It is an important tool for resolving problems and conflicts and seeking consensus. The ten years of existence have been a period of social peace in certain workplaces. The chairman of COSYBU regrets, however, that the National Social Dialogue Committee (CNDS) has not succeeded in settling the conflicts presented to it, which remains a major challenge. It also appears that some social partners have not yet understood the value of social dialogue. To that end, he asked the government to endow the CNDS with sufficient resources to make it operational so that it marks another step towards establishing social peace and fair justice.
Mr. Théodore Kamwenubusa, chairman of the Burundi Employers’ Association (AEB), commended the fact that social dialogue has improved relations in the workplace. He invited the social partners to further strengthen this mechanism by improving the legal framework because, he stressed, the observation is that most social conflicts result from ignorance of the law.
In his virtual speech delivered from the Tanzanian economic capital, the Country Director of the International Labor Organization (ILO) based in Dar-Es-Salaam congratulated Burundi on the step taken in terms of reducing social tensions and improving working conditions. He promised that the ILO will remain engaged on the side of Burundi for technical and financial support with a view to improving working conditions.
The Minister of Public Service, Labor and Employment, Mrs. Domine Banyankimbona, said that the ten years of setting up social dialogue are sufficient to self-assess. According to her, even though there are some imperfections, the step has been taken leaps and bounds. “This social lull should push us to reap its fruits by improving production,” she said, while asking employers to set up branches of economic activity in work units.
The Head of State, who is also Chairman of the CNDS, commended the organization of that forum and the step taken to appease the country in general and bring about a lull in the workplace. The establishment of the legal framework for social dialogue has greatly reduced strikes and other tensions in the workplace, he said.
Addressing the various social partners, President Ndayishimiye said that this new approach has exposed difficulties on the part of the employer and especially the State. Today, the latter is faced with public debts to financial institutions that must be repaid, which influences the demands of workers who urge wage increases while domestic production does not increase accordingly. He called on workers to increase production within their departments or companies and seek dividends in what they produced. Once production increases, the issues of wages and decent work will be resolved by themselves, President Ndayishimiye insisted. He called on State officials in particular and workers in general to tackle the increase in production so that Burundi can move forward and be able to respond to their various desiderata.
The forum was attended by representatives of unions, employers’ associations, provincial governors, some representatives of diplomatic and consular missions, the Burundian ombudsman and members of the CNDS.
The President of the Republic has indicated that State companies will now have to pay dividends into the national treasury. He also pledged to invest so that from next year, the country exports rice to other countries.