Africa and Middle East: BWI holds regional assembly, vows to push for more democracy and solidarity

As part of moving towards its 5th Global Congress, BWI Africa and the Middle East held its first hybrid regional assembly on 6 July which was attended by fifty-four (54) participants from 20 different countries, representing 83 percent of its affiliates.

The assembly was officiated by BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, who said that the global union is continuously deepening its organisational democracy and principle of solidarity by ensuring that affiliates have a strong voice in its overall work and direction. He reminded everyone of BWI’s Durban Congress in 2017 wherein the historic 30 percent of women participation in BWI structures and activities was passed. 

Yuson recognised the region’s capacity to respond well to the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative effects on jobs and wages. “The region has done a great job in being innovative in many of BWI’s campaigns,” he said.

BWI Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng lauded the unity reached by BWI affiliates in Africa and the Middle East to fight for better living and working conditions despite enormous social and economic challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic. She hoped that trade unions will transform the challenges to opportunities to build a better future.

One of the assembly’s highlights is the election of Abdel Monem Ibrahim Mohamed Elgamal as Regional President and Vice President responsible for Africa and the Middle East Region for the 2022 Congress period. He was also designated to lead the BWI delegation at the 27th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 27) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) that will take place in Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt on 6-18 November 2022.

Elgamal, who is also the president of Egypt’s GTUBWW, said that the region needs to build and sustain a resilient membership beyond the 2022 Congress. He urged affiliates to pay their affiliation fees to show their support for BWI as a global union of workers in the building, building materials, wood, forestry and allied industries. 

“The Africa and Middle East region is fully supportive of Per-Olof Sjöö as BWI Global President, Ambet Yuson as General Secretary and all the nominees as adopted by our 4th Regional Conference in August 2021,” Algamal said.