Building and Wood
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BWI affiliates from South Africa, Brazil and Sweden, including the ITUC, SLA, SASK, FES, LRS and StreetNet International attended the evaluation and Hanover conference from 21 to 22 May 2010 in South Africa.
The evaluation of the BWI “Campaign for Decent Work Towards and Beyond 2010” which was led by the National Union of Mine Workers, South African Building and Allied Workers Organisation and the Building Construction and Allied Workers Union took place in the back drop of huge excitement in South Africa over hosting the first ever World Cup on the African soil.
This campaign has set the tone for future sports mega events in terms of unions securing better working conditions. The Campaign for Decent Work was successful in that it evolved from a worker specific engagement to a more critical perspective of mega sporting events and development. South Africa’s construction trade unions have held 26 strikes at World Cup stadiums since 2007. The Campaign for Decent Work also saw the reversing of a long term decline in the level of organisation amongst construction workers in the country; as well as major changes to the poor wages and working conditions endured by workers in this sector. These have resulted in much better working conditions, including free transport for workers to the sites, bonuses, and with subcontractors on the stadiums being forced to comply with minimum construction wages. South African trade unions recruited over 27 000 new members. The unions also managed with the support of SLA and UNIA to lobby FIFA president Joseph Blatter in Zurich to commit FIFA to recognise the principle of decent work. This dialogue with FIFA, ensured for the first time ever, to commit to decent work and provide all 22000 construction workers with free World Cup tickets.
There was also, an official hand-over of the campaign with Piet Matosa the NUM deputy President handing over the “Decent Work” floating trophy to Edison Bernardes, President of Sindicato Solidariedade-Construction of Brazil. Comrade Bernardes comment that,” He is proud that international Solidarity is being led by South African trade unions to support Brazilian Workers” and he “is honoured to accept the handover of the campaign and hopes that Brazilian trade unions can meet the expectations set through the South African successes.”
The Brazilian trade union will continue the campaign till the 2014 Soccer World Cup in Brazil. The hand-over took place on 22 May 2010 at Union Stadium, Newlands, Johannesburg amongst a jubilant crowd of about 300 construction workers who celebrated the successes and millstones of the campaign. As a highlight the handover was also greeted by the Congress of South African Trade Union Federations, General secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi who addressed the workers and congratulating BWI for taking the lead in establishing a decent work campaign for a mega project such as the World Cup and indicated that COSATU will lend support to Brazil with its efforts towards 2014.
As an outcome of the evaluation between South African and the Brazilian trade unions the following was suggested to support the coming campaign in Brazil;