BWI will make Innovative Unionism as its objective and strategy for the future

30 November 2017 14:05


"BWI will make Innovative Unionism as its objective and strategy for the future", says Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI. At the same time, there is recognition that our affiliates have undertaken their own union innovation and transformation as well.The Forum was organised on 29 November 2017.

BWI organised three sessions on "Rights" and our "Our Industries”. In a video message, Hassan El Thawadi, Secretary General of the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL), said "I believe the ability of hosting the World Cup could change many aspects in Qatar including working conditions, along with many stakeholders." He added:"SCDL benefits from BWI experience working on social welfare."

Dietmar Schäfers, chair of sports campaign working group, highlighted: "Five years ago, they did not want to speak with us but now we are only the union that has achieved an agreement."

On "Rights", the session highlighted the work of BWI affiliates in ensuring trade union rights and workers' rights though innovative campaigns and networking. The focus was on nexus of sports and migration, International framework agreements and organising, workers' defence networks.

“Our Industries” focused on the work of BWI affiliates in implementing innovative organising and negotiating, influencing strategies with specific spotlights like building materials-cement sector, global MNC networks, organising through the supply and value chains, bottom-up organising. Were particularly highlighted the success of our affiliate in Ukraine in concluding a collective agreement with Heidelberg resulting in a 60 percent salary increase. GTUBWW Egypt shared its experience on exposing the occupational death at Titan cement industry with help of the media, which enabled the union to create a health and safety committee in order to improve the safety standard at the company. IAMAW USA shared its story on organising the IKEA supplier workers in Virginia. STIEU Malaysia stressed its fight for union recognition at multinational company and explained how the solidarity union network had helped. SUNTRACS Panama built broader alliance against neoliberal policies.

The talk-show format "Rights" session explained how affiliates use various tools to ensure better working conditions through international standard setting mechanisms and labour clauses. Among them ILO and OECD complaint systems; FSC and Forest Certification Systems; Procurement Guidelines; Labour and Social Clauses. It was also said that labour clauses is an important means to promote fair and just wage and working conditions. Inclusion of labour standards in procurement guidelines gives a good opportunity to engage with employers and demand accountability on workers’ rights. The BWI has been involved in the process for the World Bank. The case of Uganda was presented. It was suggested to work with other banks like EXIM bank (China) as a number of violations are reported in project operations. Of course, these instruments outlined above need to be used in conjunction with organising efforts at the local level. A number of companies, associations and bodies are very concerned about their brand. Therefore, this is a leverage that unions and BWI should continue to utilize for gaining access into the arena of labour rights, collective bargaining and organizing.