Malawian trade unionists to visit Scotland on disability inclusion research trip

29 Aug 2019
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SMP members with a professional interest in disability inclusion in the workplace are invited to attend a workshop in September to exchange information with visiting Malawian trade unionists.

SMP member and post-doctoral research associate at Heriot Watt’s School of Social Sciences, Dr Jen Remnant, and her colleague Dr Lena Wanggren, have been working in partnership with the Malawian Congress of Trade Unions (MCTU) on a project called ‘Working from the Margins: Supporting trade unions in Malawi to improve disability inclusion’.

This follows a trip to Lilongwe and Blantyre by Jen and Lena to conduct pilot interviews establishing the key concerns of stakeholders in disability inclusion in the Malawian workforce including employers, trade unionists, disabled people and government staff.

More about the project here

Dr Remnant said: “The trip was frantically busy, meeting lots of individuals passionate about improving the economic participation of disabled people, and improving working conditions more generally.”

MCTU staff including General Secretary, Denis Kalekeni, and Research Officer Limbani Kachali plus staff from the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST), are paying a return visit in September to develop wider working relationships and research networks.

A key feature of the visit is the two day workshop on Thursday, September 26 and Friday, September 27, in the Scottish Trade Union Congress (STUC) offices in Glasgow.

The workshop will involve sharing the data collected so far plus a talk by Denis Kalekeni about the successes, goals and aspirations of MCTU.

Jen added: “The most important outcome of the workshop will be to develop in partnership a number of research grant proposals relating to labour, employment, trade, disability and trade unionism in Malawi.

“Based on information shared by our Malawian colleagues, we hope to identify what research data organisations in Malawi need to generate and design research projects to meet those data needs.

“We are keen for these to be collaborative proposals across industrial, philanthropic and academic organisations.

“Our long term aim is to establish and maintain a research and activist partnership that benefits both the Malawian and Scottish workforces, finding and promoting creative ways to create accessible and inclusive work environments, raise employment standards and foster international global worker solidarity – even if in small, focused ways to begin with.

Any SMP member who would like to be involved should email j.remnant(at)hw.ac.uk for more details.

(Pictured L to R: Denis Kalekeni, Dr Jen Remnant, Dr Lena Wanggren and Limbani Kachali.)