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Project: Value Chains Capacity Building

  • Value Chains Capacity Building
The Value Chains Project aims to build the capacity of trade unions in sub-Saharan Africa to develop bargaining and organising strategies for tackling inequality within and along global value chains.

Value chains describe where a company or operation is situated on the production line and what power it has in the bigger picture of how things are produced. This has implications for trade union organising and bargaining.

The LRS Value Chains Capacity Building Project aims to build the trade union movement in 14 African countries by complementing 
regional networks of trade unions supporting their ability to develop new and renewed strategies for organising and bargaining to confront inequality in global value chains. 

Big South African and international retailers are now operating across sub-Saharan Africa. The retailers include 
Shoprite, Pick n Pay and Walmart/Massmart, while clothing retailers such as Foschini and Truworths are also opening stores in the region. 

This development has created a network of manufacturers, intermediaries, and retail outlets in the region, part of which is entirely regional and part of which is the extension of global value chains. 

The Value Chains Capacity Building Project focuses on established union network alliances in wholesale and retail, agriculture and transport sectors.

It is important that trade unions understand the structure and governance of these value chains in order to develop responses that will address the unequal distribution of value and the exploitation of differing labour standards regionally. 

The LRS is a key resource to several trade union networks in the region. The Value Chains Capacity Building project, which is supported by the DGB Bildungswerk Bund, is building on the knowledge, relationships and lessons that underpin these networks. 

The project provides spaces where unions, working together with the LRS and our partners, can share experiences and reflect on the implications of value chain mapping for organising and bargaining.

Key Project Contact: 

Trenton Elsley

trenton@lrs.org.za