Workers With Disabilities Speak Out in Tunisian Documentary

Workers With Disabilities Speak Out in Tunisian Documentary

Nabil El-Moumni, a Tunisian disability rights advocate and blind receptionist at the local hospital of Mareth, Gabes, advocated–and won–important changes at his workplace to accommodate both workers and patients with disabilities. At his urging, the hospital installed an access ramp and prepared illustrated signs to help people who cannot hear or speak access the hospital’s various departments.

“They can have access to that department’s services independently, without the help of strangers,” El-Moumni says in a new documentary, “We Are All Different,” on the experience of workers with disabilities in Tunisia produced by the UGTT (Tunisian General Labor Union) and the Solidarity Center.

“I am blind, and I want more independence in my work,” he says. “The phone numbers I work with are registered in numerical support. I read via text-to-speech. I prepared papers in large format.”

El-Moumni’s support for worker rights initially cost him his job.  “After that,” he says, “I started a general strike in front of Gabe’s governorate.” He was reinstated on January 13, 2016.

A diverse group of workers with disabilities, from gardeners and street cleaners to municipal employees and athletic competitors, share their experience with discrimination and the barriers they face in the workplace, in their communities and in accessing government services and jobs due to accessibility limitations—both in public buildings and transportation.

Many also speak of the satisfaction they experience in their work, and the gains workers with disabilities have made in receiving protections and accommodations, and being empowered to advocate for their needs.

Kalthoum Barkallah, Solidarity Center acting country program director for North Africa, says the documentary “sheds light on the reality of persons with disabilities in order to build general public awareness and push public authorities, civil society and partners to take up their issues and defend their rights.”

The film debuted on International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3, 2021.

Migrant Mine Worker in South Africa: ‘We Have Nothing’

Migrant Mine Worker in South Africa: ‘We Have Nothing’

As a migrant mine worker from Swaziland, Mduduzi Thabethe says he has fewer workplace rights than his South African co-workers. Although all mine workers pay the same amount into the health fund, migrant workers get inferior care and pensions are rare.

“If you are a citizen of South Africa, you see you are building your country and you have something, but we have nothing.”

Although media and policymakers focus on African migrants to Europe, some 80 percent of African migrant workers remain on the continent.

Thabethe’s union, the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union, is among those working to improve conditions for migrant workers.

South Africa Miners Formed Union ‘to Fight Exploitation’

South Africa Miners Formed Union ‘to Fight Exploitation’

When Joe Montisetse came to South Africa from Botswana to work in gold mines in the early 1980s, he saw a black pool of water deep in a mine that signified deadly methane. Yet after he brought up the issue to supervisors, they insisted he continue working, but Montisetse refused.

Two co-workers were killed a few hours later when the methane exploded.

Today, Montisete is newly elected president of the National Union of Mineworkers, a position he achieved after helping form a local union at the gold mine soon after his co-workers’ deaths. After they formed the union, workers were safer, he says.

“We formed union as mine workers to defend against oppression and exploitation.”

‘Domestic Workers Work from Morning to Evening with No Break’

‘Domestic Workers Work from Morning to Evening with No Break’

I am Marie Constant, I am from Madagascar. I have worked as a domestic worker in Lebanon since 1997. I work for one person only. The work is difficult, especially when we receive guests as we don’t have choice but stay up late working until the guests leave which is usually around midnight or sometimes around 1 a.m.

In general, the domestic workers don’t have a choice as they need to work from morning until evening with no specific break time and no holidays. And because of these rights abuse, we decided to form a union to defend our rights. Also, the fact that most domestic workers don’t have the right to weekly leave, we try to reach out to all the domestic workers women in most of the regions to educate them about their rights.

Bangladesh Women Defy Roadblocks to Leadership

Bangladesh Women Defy Roadblocks to Leadership

Bangladesh garment worker and union leader Nazma Akter is among women challenging obstacles to leadership in their unions, their workplaces and their communities.

Founder and president of the AWAJ  Foundation and Sommilito Garments Sramik Federation, Nazma says “Women in Bangladesh, especially at the grassroots, are taking the initiative for leadership and we hope it will be more and more.”

Pin It on Pinterest