ICTs, Distributed Discourse and the Labour Movement in Cabo Verde: Why Weak Communications Remain a Crucial Barrier to Trade Union Effectiveness


  • Mark McQuinn SOAS, University of London
  • Mihaela Cojocaru




Based on interviews with trade union officials from different islands and the Inspector General of Labour, this article examines the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) by labour organisations in Cabo Verde. Distributed discourse is used as a conceptual framework to provide insights into ways in which the ability of trade unionists to engage in debates and formulate initiatives is influenced by the pervasiveness and control of digital technologies. ICTs are premised as complementary tools and not as substitutes for existing face-to-face union communication strategies, a perspective substantiated by all the interviewees. The research reveals that frail communication channels are major problems for unions in Cabo Verde, which significantly impede their ability to defend the rights of members effectively. Despite localised improvements, involving particular organisations, ICTs are not being utilised systematically and equitably across all the Cabo Verdean islands to enhance the effectiveness of the work of unions. Limited financial streams, high levels of informality in the labour force, a dispersed geography, the uneven penetration of digital technologies across islands and economic sectors, and government policies are major barriers to trade union communication. Policy implications are put forward in the light of the main research findings.

KEYWORDS: trade unions; Cabo Verde; ICTs; distributed discourse; labour democracy

Author Biography

Mihaela Cojocaru

Mihaela Cojocaru is a Portuguese-Moldovan researcher with a Master’s degree in Globalisation and Development. She is currently working for the Minority Rights Group International  and has experience in project development, M&E and migration journalism. Her previous research includes language policy and use of ICTs in Ethiopia, China-Africa economic cooperation, development assistance to Sub-Saharan Africa and Moldova and international political communication.