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TRADE UNIONS AND THE DEMOCRATIC DEVELOPMENTAL STATE IN ETHIOPIA [Abstract ID: 0303-01]
An increasing number of academic works have investigated the Ethiopian “Democratic Developmental State” model and the country’s state-led industrial policies. However, despite the government’s strategic focus on labour intensive manufacturing and agroindustrialisation in its national development plans, few studies have touched upon labour issues and little is known about the role of trade unions in the EPRDF’s developmental state project. Studying the relationship and patterns of interaction between the EPRDF government and trade unions in Ethiopia since 1991, the paper explores the role of trade unions in the developmental state project and their ability to represent the interests of labour vis-à-vis the Ethiopian government and national and international employers. The paper draws on 48 semi-structured and unstructured interviews conducted in Addis Ababa between November 2015 and April 2017. Interviewees included union representatives and employees at the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, at the industrial federations and at basic trade unions, as well as employees at relevant public organisations and labour experts.