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Trade Unions After Liberation

The NUEW leaders and members from the Diaspora came to Eritrea after the liberation of the country in May 1991. NUEW was joined by members from the liberated areas, as well as, the membership of the trade unions in the country. In June 1992, the NUEW was recreated as a transitional organization that aimed to form an independent trade union movement in the country.

In the reorganization process, the NUEW called for voluntary membership of the workers and the majority of the workers joined the union. Democratic elections were held at the base union level. The unions were organized into five sector Federations. The sectors democratically elected their own leadership and each held their own Congress.

The NUEW organized its fourth and last congress in September 1994, The National Confederation of Eritrean Workers (NCEW) was established at this congress with a new and independent structure. Elected representatives from the base union level and Federations attended this Congress. The decision was taken at this Congress to limit the membership to workers residing within Eritrea. A Committee on Women’s Affairs was established at this Congress to ensure that issue concerning women workers given due attention.

The NCEW consists of representatives from base unions and Federations, ensuring a decentralised and independent structure.

NCEW was established as a confederation of five federations that constitute base unions, operating in the similar production or service areas. These five Federations are:

dot Food, Beverage, Hotels, Tourism, Agriculture and Tobacco Workers Federation – FBWF

 Food, Beverage, Hotels, Tourism, Agriculture and Tobacco Workers Federation – FBWF
 Mining, Chemical, Construction and General Workers Federation – MCCGWF
 Service Industries Workers Federation – SIWF
 Transport and Communication Workers Federation – TCWF
Textile, Leather and Shoe Workers Federation – TLSWF
NCEW and the five Federations have developed and decided about their own respective constitutions, elected their representatives, organised their administrative set-ups and implemented their respective programmes.

The NCEW held its Congresses in 1994, 1998 and 2005.

Contrary to its predecessor, NCEW membership was initially only open to workers residing in Eritrea.

An established Committee on Women’s Affairs ensures that women workers issues are given attention. The congress in 2005 elected many women in positions at the highest leadership level, including as a chairperson and secretary of Federations.

The NCEW and the Federations have become affiliates of regional and international trade union movements and workers associations, such as the International Trade Unions Confederation (ITUC), the Global Union Federations (GUF), ITUC - Africa, the Organisation of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

From the moment of becoming operational NCEW strived (and strives) to play an important role as a national actor and civil society movement in the promotion of social dialogue with the government and the Employers Federation of Eritrea, in order to create consensus about rights at work and socio-economic policies, including labour relations, standard collective agreements and the promotion of social security. NCEW views social dialogue as the most effective way of addressing the complex challenges of building economic competitiveness and social equity.

arrow white3 Food, drink and allied workers
arrow white3 Chemical, Mining and General workers
arrow white3 Service giving industries workers
arrow white3 Transportation and communication workers
arrow white3 Textile and leather workers

Five Federations

chemical     food     indusrty     textile     transport
Chemical, Mining and General workers federation     Food, drink and allied workers federation     Service giving industries workers federation     Textile and leather workers federation     Transportation and communication workers federation