April 19, 2024

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Revolutionizing Rwanda’s Mining: REWU, RMB, RTB, and Enabel Commended for Unleashing Partnership and Sustainability!

Rwanda's Minister of Labor, Bayisenge Jeannette chatting with the SG of REWU Trade Union, Eng. Andre Mutsindashyaka

Rwanda’s Minister of Public Service and Labor expressed gratitude to the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers Union (REWU) partners, including Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), Rwanda Mines , Petroleum and Gas Board, (RMB), and the Belgian Agency for Development Cooperation (Enabel Rwanda), for their ongoing collaboration in promoting the Mining sector.

The Minister of Public Service and Labor, Bayisenge Jeannette, made the remarks while addressing the Public at the IPRC Kigali Stadium on Wednesday, December 6, 2023, during the graduation of 2000 Mineworkers who received certificates after an assessment that was conducted through the Recognition of Prior Learning Program (RPL). These certificates were awarded to 2000 workers who had successfully passed an inspection conducted by RTB in collaboration with REWU, RMB, MIFOTRA, and with the support of ENABEL.

Minister Bayisenge commenced by commending the diverse institutions that had convened at the event, emphasizing the significance of their collaboration in furthering the labor sector’s development in Rwanda and enhancing workers’ welfare.

She stated, “I appreciate the progress made in enhancing efficiency, increasing awareness, and adhering to regulations that govern good work and workplace safety in the mining industry.” She continued to explain that significant efforts have been made to ensure that the mining sector is recognized for its contributions and its commitment to enhancing performance and overall improvement.

Minister Bayisenge explained that “The contribution of mining companies in cultivating the necessary skills for the labor market is invaluable. We encourage you to collaborate with various partners to enhance knowledge, productivity, and foster improved working conditions in the mining sector.”

“This will benefit both employees and employers, leading to increased productivity. Consequently, we are confident that these efforts will enhance our country’s labor market and overall development.” She added.

Commenting on RPL program in Mining Sector, Minister Bayisenge emphasized that such a program to provide training and assess the knowledge of employees who already work in a certain field but did not have the opportunity to learn it in school, so that they have documents confirming their learning, is very important, adding that “It enables employees to obtain certificates that demonstrate their successful acquisition of knowledge and skills, providing them with opportunities to seek employment, pursue further training, enhance their abilities, and improve their professional performance.”

“So we thank the various institutions that participated, please allow me to name them, including the Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), we saw that there were 2,000 certificate recipients in addition to the 200 who received certificates last year, and they are determined to continue assessing more.” Minister Bayisenge said

She added, “We are grateful to the Rwanda Extractive Industry Workers’ Union (REWU), ENABEL, and other partners I have not listed here.”

She believes that this activity will help to take another step in the mindset change among the mineworkers

“When you have the opportunity to attend school and learn about the profession you aspire to pursue in the near future, it is important to ensure that the purpose of attending school is not merely to obtain a certificate, but rather to acquire knowledge. This knowledge should be practical and fruitful, which necessitates effort and understanding. Similarly, when you are employed, it is crucial to comprehend the distinction between performing a job based on personal perception versus carrying out the job in a professional manner.” Minister Bayisenge tells Mineworkers graduates.

She said, “You know that work is one of the most important values that our country upholds, but not all types of work are readily valued. This implies a necessity to shift attitudes. We want that in the future, individuals obtain certificates to differentiate between ordinary work and exemplary work. Let us strive to excel in our endeavors until we are assured of the quality of our work.”

To those who received the certificates, Minister Bayisenge said: “You have been given confidence and you have confidence in what you usually do, but the certificates you got will help you generate profits and I believe that we will come back here to hear the testimony of your achievements, and I would advise you to improve what you do in your daily work and increase the productivity of those you work for, but also create your own because we have seen that you do not have to stay employed, but you can also create your own jobs.”

She said, “In order to accomplish everything, I would like to remind all the mining employers present here to provide their workers with written contracts. We appreciate those who have already done so. Additionally, it is crucial to pay the salaries and bonuses of the workers through financial institutions. It is also important to be prepared for the potential risks and accidents that may occur in this line of work. I urge the workers to prioritize their safety and have the foresight to take necessary precautions.” Minister Bayisenge also reminded workers to save for their future.

Mr. Laurent Preud’homme, Deputy Head of Mission/Head of Cooperation at the Belgium Embassy in Kigali, expressed his gratitude to the Government of Rwanda and its partners for their commitment to promoting decent work and social protection in the mining sector. He emphasized that access to jobs with fair wages and better working conditions is fundamental for a dignified life.

He commended the achievements made by REWU, Enabel, and the different partners involved in the mining sector, such as the Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), the Rwanda Mining, Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), the mining companies, and the employers’ association.

 He highlighted the importance of social dialogue, collective bargaining agreements, and the Recognition of Prior Learning in improving the conditions for mine workers.

Mr. Preud’homme also emphasized the significance of certification in providing employees with an official document, like a skills passport, to present to employers.

“This certification not only boosts employees’ confidence in negotiating collective agreements but also leads to a boost in production, an increase in wages, and the transformation of informal employment into formal employment.”

Furthermore, Mr. Preud’homme addressed the issue of gender-based violence and misogyny, stating that it is time to end violence against women and girls and ensure that women’s voices are heard in all sectors, including the mining industry.

 He highlighted the importance of achieving parity between male and female graduates and called for continued efforts to challenge gender-based violence even beyond the 16 days of Activism.

Finally, Mr. Preud’homme congratulated the 2000 mine workers who were graduating that day and expressed Belgium’s commitment to partnering with them and supporting REWU in upgrading the skills of mine workers, promoting fair wages, and improving working conditions.

He acknowledged the vital role of mine workers in providing essential goods and pledged to continue working towards ensuring their decent working conditions.

The Director General of Rwanda TVET Board, Eng. Paul Mukunzi, speaking at the Event

Mineworkers received certificates through the Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) Program in Mining which is implemented by the REWU Trade Union in partnership with Mining Companies, Rwanda Mines Petroleum and Gas Board (RMB), Rwanda TVET Board (RTB), MIFOTRA, and with support from the Belgian Development Cooperation (Enabel Rwanda.).

ILO Representative handing over Certificate to a Mineworker at the Graduation event

Chairperson of the Rwanda Mining Association, Jean Malik Kalima and the CEO of RMB, Yamina Karitanyi awarding the Certificate of Recognition to the Secretary General of REWU Trade Union Engineer Mutsindashyaka Andre.

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