Burundi: trade union development tools developed through international trade union cooperation

published 21 November 2022 updated 29 November 2022

Thanks to a cooperation programme with the Danish Union of Teachers (DLF) of Denmark, the Syndicat des travailleurs de l’enseignement du Burundi (STEB) has produced booklets that cover all the questions frequently asked by teachers at the grassroots level. The booklets are a Training Manual and a Handbook for Trade Union Representatives. The aim is to equip activists to go out and meet colleagues in schools to encourage them to join the union.

Training Manual

STEB has developed a Trainers’ Training Manual (in French) to facilitate training for its members.

As Rémy Nsengiyumva, President of STEB, explains, “this manual gives users practical and easy-to-use tools to strengthen the skills of union representatives so that they are able to fulfil their role and defend and protect human rights.”

The manual is divided into eight chapters:

  1. Trade unionism: its history, and its evolution in the world and in Burundi.
  2. Recruiting, supporting and retaining members.
  3. The rights and obligations of civil servants and teachers.
  4. Quality education: with reference to the national education reform, the benefits of the reform as well as the related challenges and possible solutions to these challenges.
  5. Communication: a definition, its importance in life, in society and for trade unions.
  6. Conflict resolution: its causes, consequences, types of conflicts, the nature of conflicts, and the process of peaceful conflict resolution.
  7. Collective bargaining: its importance and negotiating techniques.
  8. Leadership: a definition, the qualities and responsibilities of a good leader.

Each chapter is divided into activities to be used according to the training objectives. The activities are designed around exercises, tools, documents and practical notes for the trainer. The exercises are an important part of the manual. They help to guide participants through an interactive learning process that promotes rapid understanding and appropriation of knowledge.

The training manual is a practical tool for trainers, a tool to be introduced during “trainers’ training”, and a useful tool for any STEB delegate wishing to learn about any of the topics in the manual.

It can be revised and updated and adapted to meet the needs of the moment.

“This manual was ultimately developed for all STEB members. We encourage them to take good care of it and disseminate it widely so that as many people as possible benefit from it. It is a tool to help organise trade union training,” Nsengiyumva insists.

The trade union leader recognises that production of the manual would not have been possible without the support of DLF “to whom we express our sincere thanks”.

The Handbook for Grassroots Union Representatives

The Handbook for Grassroots Union Representatives (in French) is a simplified tool which is based on the STEB training manual. It contains useful information that will help the representative to carry out his/her role of recruiting, supporting and retaining members, and organising effective union training.

This tool provides information that a trade union representative needs for their trade union activities and actions. It consists of subjects related to trade unionism, the mission and objectives of trade unions, the importance of recruiting and supporting members, human and labour rights, reference tools on which the trade union representative can rely to conduct social dialogue, inclusive quality education, the challenges of basic schooling, communication, leadership, conflict resolution, and negotiation.

For Nsengiyumva, “the handbook contains all the elements that are relevant to a union representative firstly as a human being defending human rights, and secondly as a teacher trade unionist defending and protecting the right to inclusive quality education and trade union rights at work.”