April 28th: Cuba impulses the Campaign “25 kilos... ¡No more!”

Organizations affiliated to the Building and Wood Workers` International (BWI), took part of the “II Trade Union Meeting for the Unity of action on the construction sector workers" held in La Habana, Cuba, as part of celebration of April 28th: International Workers Memorial Day.

Representatives from 17 countries, including Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Panama, Uruguay, Australia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, Belgium, France and Switzerland, participated at the meeting.

Carlos Antonio de Dios Oquendo, General Secretary of the National Trade Union of Construction Workers (SNTC) of Cuba, invited to the participants to attend the massive march in José Martí Plaza of Revolution, with about half a million workers, including a block of 30 thousand construction workers.

The meeting concluded with a declaration of support for Latin American integration, solidarity, cooperation for social justice and equity among members of the sector as well as an Action Plan to boost the Campaign “25 kilos… ¡No more!”, which includes the dissemination of important information (lumbar diseases, bills, ILO recommendations, WHO, PAHO, European Directive and others); integrate the issue in all their demands; influence politically with the Ministries of Social Security, Labor and employment; submit draft legislation in all countries of the region and mobilize trade union bases. The Action Plan will be reviewed on the next April 28th, 2016.

In Australia the cement bags are no more than 20 kg and at the European countries no more than 25 kg, while in Latin America is still used 42,5 kg and 50 kg bags, with irreversible damage to the health of workers that results in early retirements, increased of informality, greater vulnerability of families, increased costs of social security systems etc. Uruguay is the exception since 2008 when the Unitary Trade Union of Construction (SUNCA) achieved with its Government a decree determining the reduction from 42.5 to 25 kg per bag within a year. After a visit of the BWI Secretary General Ambet Yuson to SUNCA in 2012, he launched the Campaign "25 kilos... ¡No more!"