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21 January 2016

Cuba: trade union cooperation strengthens against MNCs

In the context of updating the Cuban Economic Model an even larger number of multinational companies can invest in various sectors of the economy of this Caribbean island as a joint venture or by maintaining complete control of the enterprise. Anyway, the company will have to respect among other rules, the right of workers in their integrity, including the respect of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) guidelines signed by representatives of State and Non-State Employers and the National Trade Union of Construction Workers (SNTC), member of the Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTC).

A delegation of Building and Wood Worker´s International (BWI), consisting of 23 delegates from 14 different countries attended on Wednesday, January 13th, to the celebration of the CBA of the Construction Sector 2016/19. It was signed by the SNTC General Secretary: Carlos Antonio de Dios Oquendo and the maximum employers' leaders in the sector, before an audience of high level led by the CTC General Secretary: Ulises Guilarte De Nacimiento and the President of the National Organization of Employers of Cuba: Roberto Parra Roja.

On this opportunity, the Cuban trade unions recognized the BWI solidarity and contribution to the workers and Cuban people cause by giving their highest honor award: "Armando Mestre Martínez" to the BWI General Secretary: Ambet Yuson; and to BWI President: Per-Olof Sjöö (GS Sweden) with a special recognition. The BWI Global Deputy President: Dietmar Schäfers, expressed the gratitude and honor of the International and its more than 350 trade union members in 136 countries who represents over 12 million workers.
After a week full of commitments of high-level meetings with various government, business, labor and social authorities - Jose Luis Rodriguez (former Minister of Economy and Planning), Fernando Gonzáles (one of the five Cuban heroes and now director of the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the People -ICAP), Kenya Serrano (ICAP Director), Carlos Mateu Pereira (former Vice Minister of Labor and Social Security, current leader of the Special Development Mariel Zone - ZEDM), Dra. Vivian Aguiar (President of the Labour Branch of Supreme Court of Cuba), in addition to Government Specialists and the CTC) - the BWI delegation formed by leaders of its affiliated organizations in Europe, Latin America and Africa plus the Australian CFMEU for Oceania, signed with SNTC an Agreement of International trade union Cooperation whose main objective is to improve communication and training about multinational companies of the BWI sectors.

The Agreement provides among other things: "to work together to strengthen and ensure (…) the struggle to improve the living and working conditions of workers (...) and the people; to c to call on the United States of America to lift the economic blockade of Cuba; to fight against the exploitative neoliberal policies and practices around the world (...), such as outsourcing, labor flexibility and privatization (...); to engage multinational companies (MNCs) and ensure that their behavior, anywhere worldwide, respects workers´ rights; to continue the Decent Work Campaign of BWI especially on the issue of modern-day slavery in Qatar for the FIFA World Cup 2022".

Using the words of the CTC International Relations Secretary: Raimundo Navarro, the signed Agreement: "is an example of unity in action that we hope will be the start of a good working relationship." "The best message to the International trade union movement is our joint action", finished the Cuban trade union leader.