Dynamics of Assertive Labour Movementism in Ethiopia: Organized Labour, Unrest and Wages in a Socio-Historical Perspective

This project (which is pursued under a cotutelle agreement between the University of Basel and the University of Pavia) examines the interplay between the orientation of the Ethiopian labour movement and the shifting position of wage labour within the Ethiopian political economy over the past six decades. Key factors that have contributed to the growth and the decline in assertiveness of the movement are identified and are brought into relation with the different outcomes. In this, two cycles of growth and decrease of assertiveness are identified and analysed within the shifting context of Ethiopia’s political economy. Levels of unrest and real wages are mapped at an aggregate national level and compared to real wage development.

Sources drawn upon include the archives of the Confederation of Ethiopian Trade Unions, the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Bahir Dar textile factory, and the Ethio-Djibouti railway; the archives of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the ILO; private archives; interviews; and local newspapers.

Supervisor:Elisio Macamo

Co-Supervisor: Kassahun Berhanu (Addis Ababa University)


Andreas Admasie graduated with a BA degree from Addis Ababa University in Political Science and International Relations and MA degrees from the International Institute of Social Studies, the Hague (Development Studies) and Leiden University (African Studies). He has worked for the Swedish embassy in Addis Ababa and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Stockholm, and has taught at Addis Ababa University and the Institute for Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of Hargeisa, Somaliland. Since 2013 he has served as the regional representative of the International Institute of Social History in Africa. Research interests include studies of class relations, labour history, and the political economy of the Horn of Africa in general and Ethiopia in particular.


Andreas Admasie
Graduate School of Social Sciences
Petersgraben 52
4051 Basel