Africa report - TUC calls for G8 to be opened up

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date: 10 March

embargo: 00:01 hrs Friday 11 March

Attention: Development, politics, international correspondents, newsdesks

Welcoming the Commission for Africa report published today (Friday) Brendan Barber, TUC General Secretary, said:

'The Commission’s proposals are radical but realistic. And they recognise the part unions can play in tackling poverty in Africa. The challenge is now for governments to commit themselves to implementing the proposals at the G8 summit in Gleneagles. But they won’t see it through without pressure from the rest of us. Therefore we are calling for the G8 to be opened up to unions, charities, campaign groups and faith communities so that it truly represents the world, not just an exclusive club of rich country governments.'

Young African trade unionist available for interviews

Ms. Yemisi Ilesanmi, a 29 year old Nigerian trade unionist currently visiting the TUC, will be available for interviews responding to tomorrow’s publication of the Commission for Africa report.

Yemisi Ilesanmi - a senior official of the Nigeria Labor Congress, human rights lawyer and women’s rights activist, is in the UK to speak at the TUC Women’s conference about the abuses and hardships suffered by women and other workers in Nigeria and many other African countries. She says: 'Decent work - good jobs at good wages - is what will allow Africa to escape poverty. I want the Commission to recognise that and come up with workable proposals to improve the lives of working Africans.'

The TUC and unions internationally (Yemisi is Vice President and chair of the Youth Committee of the world trade union body the ICFTU) are part of the Make Poverty History coalition that is calling on the UK government to lead on abolishing the debt of developing countries, providing more and better aid, and making trade just.

Yemisi is a fluent English speaker and available in central London on Friday.

Yemisi Ilesanmi biography

Ms. Yemisi Ilesanmi is a 29 year old law graduate. She was a leader of the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS), which took an active part in enthroning democracy in Nigeria during the dark era of the military regime.

Through her concerns for the protection of human rights and the abuse of these fundamental rights during the military regime in Nigeria she became an active member of human rights organisations such as the Campaign for workers Alternative (CWA), Democratic Socialist Forum and United Action for Democracy. This active involvement in the human rights movement led to collision with the government of the day and to her being arrested and detained a number of times.

She started her working life with the vibrant and active Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) where she was recruited as a young activist. She was the gender officer of the NLC and she is presently working as the Executive Assistant to the NLC president where she is also championing the cause of young workers and their effective representation in union activities.

Ms. Yemisi Ilesanmi was recently elected the Deputy National Secretary of the newly registered Labour Party of Nigeria.

Contacts:

To arrange interview with Yemisi Ilesanmi please contact: Ben Hurley T: 020 7467 1248; M: 07881 622416 ; E: bhurley@tuc.org.uk

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