BWI pushes for labour rights, gender equality and democracy inside and outside ILC

The Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) actively engaged the International Labour Conference (ILC) which was held last week in Geneva, Switzerland. Within the walls of the ILC’s conference rooms, BWI and its affiliates deliberated with governments, policymakers and advocates, and pushed for workers’ rights. Outside, BWI joined other trade unions in holding street actions to promote labour rights, gender equality, climate justice and democracy, and to denounce global authoritarianism and unjust wars. 

BWI said that many countries in the world suffer from the hands of dictatorial regimes that brutally attack workers’ rights and freedoms. The 12-million strong global union said that many workers worldwide are arrested, injured or even killed for simply promoting their rights, especially their right to organise and freedom of association. 

Construction workers and unionists in South Korea are victims of a large state-led union busting campaign, which resulted in the tragic murder of a trade union leader who set himself on fire to protest the government's onslaught on workers' rights. Similarly, in Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko's dictatorial administration dissolved the Belarusian Congress of Democratic Trade Unions (BKDP) and its affiliates, arresting and imprisoning more than 40 trade union leaders and activists, including BKDP President Yarashuk and Vice-President Antusevich.Meanwhile, Myanmar and its people remain subject to a military dictatorship that launched a coup in 2022 that deposed the country's democratically elected government, while Ukraine is still under attack by Russian President Vladimir Putin's invasion forces. 

Speaking on the current situation in Ukraine, PROFBUD President Vasyl Andreyev said that BWI and other global unions and federations consistently extended their solidarity and support to the Ukrainian working people who are in the thick of the struggle to defend their homeland, freedom and democracy. 

Aside from the pro-democracy actions, the ILC also saw the holding of a massive and colourful feminist strike organised by trade unions and led by women trade union leaders. Equally, trade union leaders joined a Pride Parade March that promoted a gender-equal world of work.