COVID 19 - Union Response

ILO C190 pushed to address COVID-19 violence against women

26 May 2020 12:54

On 22 May, fifteen women trade union leaders, officials and activists from BWI’s European affiliates, including BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, met online to discuss the challenges women face in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis.

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Indian unions launch nationwide protests against labour laws suspension

26 May 2020 04:16

Responding to the call of the Central Trade Unions (CTU), BWI Indian affiliates on 22 May joined a nationwide peaceful protest against the suspension of labour rights in major states in India and the deplorable plight of migrant workers.

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Philippine unions fight wage and benefit cuts, rights castration

24 May 2020 08:52

The Associated Labor Unions-Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (ALU-TUCP)
condemned several policies issued by the Department of Labor and Employment’s (DOLE) in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, which it said cut workers’ wages and benefits, and suspend labour rights.

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Turkish forest workers stop forced collection of COVID-19 donations

22 May 2020 13:49

The Civil Servants’ Union of Agriculture, Forestry, Husbandry and Environment Sectors (TARIM ORMAN-IS) opposed moves by Turkey’s General Directorate of Forestry to unilaterally cut workers’ salaries as part of the government’s COVID-19 donation campaign. It said that workers, especially union members, who refused to contribute to the campaign were threatened by managers.

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CGU statement on the suspension of Indian labour laws

22 May 2020 11:37

The Council of Global Unions (CGU) – representing more than 200 million workers from across the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and Global Union Federations including the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD – wholeheartedly condemns the suspension of labour laws by some Indian states during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Unions urge Indian President to reject anti-labour policies

22 May 2020 05:38

The BWI-Indian Affiliates Council submitted on 19 May a petition to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind urging him to reject anti-labour ordinances passed by several states relaxing and/or suspending important labour laws for three years to boost productivity and incentivise industries during the COVID-19 economic slowdown.

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Namibian union binds company to agreement on workers’ safety and wages

21 May 2020 12:19


The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers Union (MANWU) on 9 May negotiated an agreement with Chinese Company, Shanxi Construction Investment regarding strict compliance to occupational, health and safety standards and wage laws. Both parties agreed that the monitoring of the agreement will start two weeks after the signing.

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Pan European unions: Maximise opportunities opened by COVID-19

20 May 2020 10:17

On 18 of May, BWI affiliates from Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, Russia, Kazakhstan and Ukraine came together for an online conversation on COVID-19 and the world of work. The meeting was facilitated by BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson and BWI Regional Vice President Johan Lindholm.

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BWI holds second “how are you?” COVID-19 webinar

18 May 2020 01:43

On 12 May, BWI held its second “How are you?” online conversation on COVID-19 and the world of work. The webinar brought together trade union leaders, officials, and activists from 11 Western European countries. It was opened by BWI Deputy Presidents Gail Cartmail and Dietmar Schäfers. Participants were recognised by BWI Regional Vice President Johan Lindholm, while BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson summarised the main points of the discussion.

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Youth takes lead in organising

18 May 2020 01:35

BWI’s International Youth Committee held an online meeting on 13 May. It discussed the urgent need to empower young people by helping them find their voice in the middle of a pandemic through popular mobilisations and campaigns.

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BWI launches COVID-19 Solidarity Initiative

15 May 2020 14:31

Facing an “economic tsunami” that have already decimated millions of jobs worldwide due to COVID-19, BWI launched on Monday the COVID-19 Solidarity Initiative to help prepare affiliates cushion the ill-effects of the pandemic.

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BWI releases regional reports on COVID-19

15 May 2020 14:09

BWI on Friday released four (4) regional reports from the Africa-MENA, Asia-Pacific, Pan-Europe, and Latin America and the Caribbean on its affiliates’ various responses to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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BWI holds its first online conversations

15 May 2020 10:28

BWI Africa and Middle East held its first “How are you?” COVID-19 online conversations on 5 May. Forty (40) unionists, (9) of whom were women, from Africa Anglophone speaking countries participated in the online event. BWI’s Regional and Global Team and partners in Africa namely, Bastian Schultz and Iris Nothofer from FES, Ole-Kristian Paulsen from Industri Energi, Simião Simbine from SASK and Hope Kabuchu from FNV) also joined the discussion.

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Turkish cement union opens facility to health workers

14 May 2020 09:47

The Cement, Ceramics, Pottery and Glass Industry Workers' Union (CIMSE-IS) has opened its hotel in Ankara, Turkey to health care workers who cannot go home for fear of infecting their families with COVID-19.

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Arab women among most vulnerable to COVID-19

14 May 2020 06:32

COVID-19 knows no race, gender and age. However, the impact of the pandemic is much greater on working women than men in the Arab region.

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Finnish union fears new waves of COVID-19 with borders reopening

13 May 2020 13:11

Rakennusliitto, the Finnish Construction Workers’ Union, is concerned about the risk of exposure to COVID-19 on job sites and in accommodations and a possible “second wave” if the country is re-opened to Schengen countries as scheduled on 14 May. They argue that there are not yet strong, effective health and safety protections for construction workers.

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Chilean unions monitor OHS standards amidst pandemic

13 May 2020 08:22

The Confederation of Forest Workers (CTF) of Chile, the Federation of MASISA Workers (FETRAMAS) and the National Federation of Industrial Trade Unions of ARAUCO (FENASID) said that they were able to secure the workers’ safe transportation, reduce common spaces, improve occupational hygiene measures and ensure the non-reduction of wages, even for those who were given teleworking options, during the COVID-19 lockdown.

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Indian construction union holds COVID-19 webinar

13 May 2020 08:10

On 9 May, the BWI-affiliated Bandhkam Mazdoor Sangathan (BMS) organised a webinar titled “Construction workers’ safety, health and welfare in the context of COVID 19” in Gujarat, a western state of India.

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South Asian unions commemorate International Workers’ Memorial Day

12 May 2020 15:29

Twenty-five trade unions from India, Nepal and Bangladesh joined the yearly event to send a strong message that unions stand in solidarity with workers amidst a global health crisis.

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Netherlands: Union concerned COVID-19 protocols not followed

11 May 2020 09:20

In a survey it conducted with more than a thousand workers, BWI-affiliated FNV Bouwen en Wonen reported that COVID-19 health and safety protocols are not strictly observed in the construction industry.

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Pakistani union reaches agreement covering workers at World Bank-funded Tarbela Dam

09 May 2020 05:49

Pakistani union reaches agreement covering workers at the World Bank-funded Tarbela Dam

With the Pakistani government recognising the construction sector as an essential industry vital to keep the economy afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, construction work fully resumed in many parts of Pakistan.

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Latin American and the Caribbean unions maximise ICT opportunities

08 May 2020 10:10

The Latin American and Caribbean union leaders met online to define future trade union actions amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. The leaders agreed to devise tactics to continue their trade union work despite the lockdowns and paralysis of many industries.

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Venezuelan union secures incomes and benefits amidst lockdown

08 May 2020 10:07

The National Trade Union of Professional, Technician and Administrative Workers in the Wood and Allied Industries of Venezuela (SUNTIMAVEN) has reached an agreement with Masisa, a wood products company, to secure the incomes and benefits of its workers as provided by their collective bargaining agreement amidst a COVID-19 lockdown.

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Latin American and Caribbean young workers talk about COVID-19

08 May 2020 04:51

On 24 April, a group of young trade union leaders from BWI-affiliated unions in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) held a virtual meeting to discuss the effects of COVID-19 in their countries.

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Tanzanian union inspects COVID-19 measures at cement plants

07 May 2020 09:04

As part of its commitment to promote occupational health and safety (OHS) standards, the Tanzania Union of Industrial and Commercial Workers (TUICO) conducted visits to two cement production plants, Fortune Cement Company Ltd. in Pwani Region, Tanzania Mainland where over 80 percent of the workers are TUICO members, and the Tanzania Portland Cement Plc (Twiga Cement), owned by the Heidelberg Cement Group.

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Namibian union discusses COVID-19 impact on workers

07 May 2020 08:57

Justina Jonas-Emvula, General Secretary of the Metal and Allied Namibian Workers’ Union ( MANWU) and member of the BWI World Board, participated in a panel discussion aired live on television and radio wherein she shared the impact of COVID-19 on Namibia’s construction workers. She was invited by the General Secretaries of Domestic workers and Informal traders.

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Indian unions submit 10-point demand to government amidst lockdown extension

03 May 2020 07:25

The Indian government is extending the world’s biggest COVID-19 lockdown by two weeks starting 4 May due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in the country. This has given rise to a number of challenges, especially for workers in the informal sector, many of whom have lost theirs means of livelihood due to the economic slowdown.

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Caribbean unions push for workplace audit

02 May 2020 05:00

At a time when many employers are shutting down their operations, placing workers on remote work or paid leave and prioritising physical distancing, BWI affiliates in Jamaica and Bermuda are closely monitoring COVID-19-related labour issues.

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Panama: SUNTRACS negotiates new deal for construction workers

02 May 2020 04:55

After the Panamanian construction companies failed to fully comply with the terms of agreement they signed with SUNTRACS for the last six weeks, the union negotiated new guidelines with the Ministry of Labor and Labor Development (MITRADEL) and Panamanian Chamber of Construction (CAPAC) to ensure the income of construction workers who are currently not working as a result of the industry shutdown since 20 March.

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Blockade of Cuba hinders COVID-19 response

01 May 2020 03:42

The National Trade Union of Construction Workers of Cuba (SNTC) has denounced the continuing economic blockade imposed by the United States, especially during a health crisis. In 2019, for the 28th consecutive year, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo against Cuba.

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How Ukraine’s Building Workers’ Union responds to COVID-19 challenges

01 May 2020 03:33

Vasyl Andreyev is the president of the Construction and Building Materials Workers Union of Ukraine (PROFBUD), which brings together over 60 000 workers.

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May Day Message: Worker power is in the union

30 April 2020 19:09

This International Workers Day, the BWI recognises all frontline workers among them are building , construction and forestry workers playing an important role to support essential services. There are many workers that are going out every day, risking exposure to COVID-19 and some paying the ultimate price with their lives, to keep vital production and supply chains running, including medical supplies and food.

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NUM seeks to protect workers as lockdown eased in South Africa

30 April 2020 08:40

The South African government is set to gradually ease the economy back into activity as announced on 23 April by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

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Mauritius: CMWEU aids unpaid and COVID-19-vulnerable workers

30 April 2020 07:26

The Construction Workers’ Union of Mauritius (CMWEU) and CTSP came to the aid of 44 unpaid and COVID-19-vulnerable Indian migrant workers employed by Swadeshi Pvt Ltd, an Indian construction company in Mauritius.

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Indian unions hold webinar with employers, assess impact of COVID-19 in construction

28 April 2020 07:39

BWI affiliate Thamizhaga Kattida Thozhilalargal Madhiya Sangam (TKTMS) in Tamil Nadu State organised a webinar with the Construction and Real Estate Industry Coalition (CRIC) last 25 April to discuss the issues faced by the construction sector amidst the spread of COVID-19 in the State.

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Southeast Europe: Unions meet online, join BWI’s Workers’ Memorial Day campaign

28 April 2020 07:30

On 16 April, trade union leaders of BWI affiliates from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia held a virtual meeting to discuss the issues faced by workers resulting from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. They committed to participate in BWI’s “protect workers, stop COVI-19” global campaign on the occasion of the International Workers’ Memorial Day on 28 February. The unions are using social media to disseminate information and raise health and safety awareness among workers regarding the health crisis.

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BWI cooperation with Supreme Committee for Legacy and Delivery continues despite COVID-19

28 April 2020 03:06

Unable to conduct joint inspections on the ground, BWI held an online meeting earlier in April 2020 with the Qatar’s Supreme Committee of Delivery and Legacy in charge of infrastructure projects related to the 2022 FIFA World Cup to seek cooperation on efforts to protect migrant construction workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

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Council of Global Unions wants COVID-19 categorized as occupational disease

27 April 2020 15:27

The International Workers Memorial Day statement of the Council of Global Unions Coinciding with the on 28 April, BWI joins other global unions to call for COVID-19 to be recognised as an occupational disease.

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Nepalese unions unite against COVID-19

27 April 2020 12:16

Amidst an ongoing lockdown in Nepal, the BWI affiliate, Central Union of Painters, Plumbers, Electro and Construction Workers (CUPPEC), took several actions to mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on workers and their families.

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Malaysian unions call on government and employers to do more to protect workers, stop COVID-19

27 April 2020 11:41

The Cement Industry Employees Union (CIEU), Malayan Technical Services Union (MTSU), Malay Forest Officers Union (MFOU), PKNS Employees Union (PKNS), Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU), Timber Employees Union of Peninsula Malaysia (TEUPM), Timber Industry Employees Union of Sarawak (TIEUS), Union of Employees in the Construction Industry (UECI) and Union of Forestry Employees of Sarawak (UFES) have called on the government and employers to do more to protect workers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to put workers’ lives at risk.

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BWI launches 'protect workers, stop COVID-19 video

27 April 2020 10:28

As part of BWI's week-long campaign to mark the International Workers' Memorial Day on 28 April, we prepared a short video on how unions and workers can protect their health and safety against COVID-19. 

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Philippine unions call for faster and better aid to workers amid lockdown extension

27 April 2020 08:13

The Federation of Free Workers (FFW) and the Nagkaisa Labour Coalition called on the government to augment and expedite aid to workers after an extended lockdown lasting until 15 May was imposed on key areas in Luzon to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Women need equal, safe and inclusive workplaces during pandemic

25 April 2020 12:31

Saying that the COVID-19 pandemic is deepening existing inequalities, particularly among working women, the BWI European Regional Women’s Committee (ERWC) held an online meeting and released a statement calling on governments, employers and all stakeholders to overcome the crisis, with the goal to build more equal, safe and inclusive workplaces and societies.

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Unions from Central Asia and Eastern Europe prepare for International Workers’ Memorial Day

24 April 2020 13:03

On 22 April 22, trade union leaders from Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Russia, and Ukraine held a virtual meeting to discuss their participation in BWI’s workers’ memorial week campaign.

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Singapore: Unions extend assistance to migrant worker dormitories

24 April 2020 09:29

The Singapore National Trades Union Congress (SNTUC) and Migrant Workers’ Centre (MWC) furthered their concerted efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 particularly amongst migrant workers and those living in dormitories.

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Time to hear our youth!

24 April 2020 08:35

The BWI International Youth Committee (IYC) held its first online meeting on 15 April and released a statement on COVID19’s devastating economic effect on young workers.

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Palestinian union calls for improved health and safety at workplaces 

24 April 2020 07:58

The BWI-affiliated Palestinian General Federation of Trade Unions (PGFTU) made an urgent appeal to Israeli employers to ensure the decent working conditions of Palestinian workers employed in their labour market and settlements.

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INDIA: BWI CHILD LEARN schools offered as COVID-19 facilities

24 April 2020 02:40

BWI affiliates in India have offered their CHILD LEARN school buildings as possible COVID-19 facilities to the government as part of their commitment and solidarity to help contain the spread of the pandemic.

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BWI General Secretary and Chair of BWI Cement group on LafargeHolcim

23 April 2020 19:25

BWI General Secretary and Chair of BWI Cement group on LafargeHolcim

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BWI International Women's Committee (IWC) President Rita Schiavi on the new meaning of solidarity

23 April 2020 17:49

BWI International Women's Committee (IWC) President Rita Schiavi on the new meaning of solidarity in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic and her tribute to Jin Sook Lee, whom she described as a powerful activist and a good friend.

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Mexican tripartite response needed to protect employment during pandemic

23 April 2020 14:10

The International Confederation of Workers (CIT) highlighted the need for a tripartite response, comprised of the government, unions and employers, to protect employment during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Latin American unions use IFA to secure jobs and income

23 April 2020 14:06

Faber-Castell trade union leaders from Brazil and Peru held an online meeting to assess the situation on the ground amid the global spread of COVID-19. BWI and German multinational Faber-Castell have an International Framework Agreement (IFA).

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Colombian unions tackle status of construction work

23 April 2020 11:56

As part of BWI’s week-long campaign to mark the International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) on 28 April, the Coordination Board of the Intergremial of Workers of the Construction and Wood Industry of Colombia (INTERGREMIAL) held its first online meeting to share and discuss perspectives on the current status of construction work amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Philippines: Unions urge government to assist 1 million stranded construction workers

22 April 2020 09:36

The Nagkaisa Labour Coalition urged the Department of Labour and Employment (DOLE) to extend immediate support and assistance to about 1 million Filipino construction workers who were stranded and left behind by their employers in construction sites shut down since the start of the country’s COVID-19 lockdown on 15 March.

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Gulf governments urged to protect migrant workers during COVID-19 pandemic

21 April 2020 14:14

BWI, together with a coalition of trade unions and civil society organizations, asked the Arab states of the Persian Gulf for their strong commitment to provide adequate protection and support to migrant workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The region is highly dependent on migrant labour for its workforce, the vast majority of whom come from poor communities in South Asia, South-East Asia and East Africa that rely heavily on remittances.

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Japanese government expands support to workers

21 April 2020 10:55

As part of its overall response to the COVID-19 pandemic, BWI affiliate Sinrin Roren reports that the Japanese government has expanded its subsidy program to provide companies with additional financial support to secure the employment and incomes of their workers.

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Italian trade unions’ response to COVID-19

21 April 2020 04:25

Les syndicats italiens ont dû négocier avec les employeurs et le gouvernement pour mettre en place des mesures, sans précédent, afin de résoudre les problèmes sociaux et économiques liés au confinement, alors que la crise du COVID-19 s'est rapidement étendue en Italie, qui n'était pas préparée à l'épidémie et a complètement submergé son système de santé.

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Belgium: Social partners in construction sector conclude agreement during pandemic

20 April 2020 07:55

BWI Belgian affiliates welcomed an agreement reached with social partners in the construction sector last 15 April 2020. The agreement provides that the rules of social distancing in workplaces remain important and a priority. Workers will also have the right to decline an employer's request to work if a worksite has one or more cases of COVID-19 or if a worker can demonstrate that she or he is part of a group at risk.

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BWI: Protect workers, stop COVID-19 

20 April 2020 02:18

As the world battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the Building and Woodworkers' International (BWI) will mark the International Workers' Memorial Day on 28 April with a week-long campaign on workers' health and safety starting on Monday. 

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President Trump’s action against WHO is irresponsible

19 April 2020 03:48

The WHO and other international bodies should not be immune to criticism. That is also true of national governments and regional bodies. They should all work better, but that means participation, support and construction, not destruction.

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FES interview: BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson on Qatar and COVID-19

17 April 2020 13:49

Albert Yuson, General Secretary of the Building and Woodworkers' International (BWI), gives insights into the situation in Qatar.

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Message of Crecentia Mofokeng on behalf of BWI Africa & Middle East region

16 April 2020 20:04


On behalf of BWI Africa & Middle East region, the regional Presidium, the AFRECO members; the secretariat, all affiliates and its leadership on my own behalf, extend our sincerest solidarity and support to all leaders defending the safety and health of workers in different countries to mitigate the impact of Corona virus Pandemic,

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Argentina: UOCRA launches health protocol to prevent COVID-19

16 April 2020 12:11

The Construction Workers Union of the Republic of Argentina (UOCRA), a BWI-affiliated trade union, recently launched a new health protocol (Covid-19 Protocol of Practical Recommendations) designed for Argentina’s construction industry. The protocol was put up with the help of the Argentine Chamber of Construction (CAC), and includes protection and prevention practices against COVID-19 issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the country’s Ministry of Health.

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Guatemala: Government authorizes unpaid layoffs

16 April 2020 12:04

The National Trade Union of Construction and Services of Guatemala (SINCS-G), a BWI affiliated trade union, has reported that the Guatemalan Ministry of Labor and Social Security has recently approved Ministerial Agreement 140-2020, which authorizes employers to perform full employment contracts suspensions in all industries and allows suspensions to take place without compensation payments for workers.

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Brazil: Billions to prevent construction shutdown and layoffs

16 April 2020 11:58

The BWI affiliate, Construction and Ceramic Workers’ Union of Curitiba and Metropolitan Region (SINTRACON Curitiba) welcomed news that CAIXA, a public bank, intends to inject an additional BRL 43 billion (USD 8.2 billion) to the real estate sector.

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Senegal: SNTC welcomes income guarantees for workers

16 April 2020 03:11

The BWI-affiliated National Union of Building and Construction Workers ( SNTC/BTP) welcomed the government’s announcement on 3 April to ban layoffs and guarantee the incomes of workers made redundant during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Poland: Trade unions call on govt to extend support to workers

16 April 2020 03:05

BWI affiliates in Poland urged the government to take serious measures to secure workers’ income and protect the poorest of the poor during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Solidarity Message from BWI President Per-Olof Sjöö

15 April 2020 14:47

Solidarity Message from BWI President Per-Olof Sjöö

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Peru: Informal workers suffer during lockdown

14 April 2020 13:55

Amid a total lockdown, that started on 16 March and has been extended until 26 April, most of Peru’s 12 million informal workers are vulnerable to the COVID-19 pandemic due to the lack of government assistance.

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Netherlands: FNV signs agreement with employers on COVID-19 risk management

14 April 2020 13:31

The FNV-Bouwen en Wonen, BWI’s affiliate in Netherlands, recently closed an agreement with construction employers on how to manage COVID-19 risks in workplaces. This was after the union conducted a survey covering 1,300 construction workers asking their opinion on working amid a pandemic.

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Solidarity Message from Vice-President for LACR and BWI General Secretary

14 April 2020 13:29

Message from Saul Mendez Vice-President for Latin America & Caribbean

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Belgium: Construction unions decry employers’ disregard of COVID-19 measures

14 April 2020 13:21

While workers’ health is the primary concern of our Belgian affiliates ACV BiE and CG FGTB amidst the pandemic, this does not seem to be the case for the construction employers’ organisations, that refuse to take into account the preventive measures on the spread of COVID-19 demanded by trade unions. For the unions, this attitude from employers is totally irresponsible and unacceptable.

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German unions fight to protect trainees

13 April 2020 12:47

BWI affiliates, IG Metall and IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) have called for urgent government support to protect positions and income of trainees that have been excluded from support measures launched by the government for companies and workers during the pandemic.

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Lebanon: GSTU pushes for COVID-19 response fund

13 April 2020 05:48

The General Services Employees Trade Unions of Lebanon (GSTU) called on the Lebanese government to establish a response fund to aid workers who have lost their jobs and other means of livelihood to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Hong Kong: Workers brace for wage losses if construction shuts down

12 April 2020 08:57

With the number of positive cases pushing towards one thousand in Hong Kong, workers are becoming increasingly concerned that the construction industry may have to go into a temporary closure, leaving daily waged workers without income.

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Ecuador: Pandemic overwhelms govt’s national response

10 April 2020 02:55

BWI affiliates are concerned about the growing humanitarian crisis in Ecuador as the COVID-19 outbreak has debilitated the health system, and overwhelmed the government’s inadequate response to the pandemic.

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South Africa: International solidarity secures wages at Staedtler amid lockdown

10 April 2020 02:42

CEPPWAWU scored a big victory this week after it applied pressure using the IFA with Staedtler to secure workers their full wages during the COVID-19 shutdown being imposed in South Africa.

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Pakistan: PFBWW demands protection for workers during pandemic

08 April 2020 05:41

The Pakistan Federation of Building and Wood Workers (PFBWW) has expressed its concerns over the health and safety of workers who continue to work on construction projects linked to the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

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Video Message from Johan Lindholm BWI Vice-President for Europe

07 April 2020 10:38

Message from Johan Lindholm BWI Vice-President for Europe

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France: Unions concerned about health and safety at relaunched construction sites

07 April 2020 09:25

BWI affiliates report that it took more than two weeks of negotiations between the government and the construction sector to agree on the terms for the resumption of construction sites that were shut down as part of national efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19.

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South Asia: Governments must protect livelihoods from COVID-19

07 April 2020 08:24

WI-affiliated trade unions, along with national trade union centres, have petitioned their governments to seek financial relief on behalf of workers affected by COVID-19 lockdowns in several South Asian countries. They said that the crisis has dire effects on the livelihood of millions, including daily wage earners and migrant workers.

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South Africa: Workers under lockdown concerned about jobs

07 April 2020 07:32

BWI affiliates expressed their deep concerns over reports of thousands of job losses in South Africa’s construction industry, which has been on 3-week shut down due to COVID-19.

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Turkey: YOL-IS opens facilities to health workers

06 April 2020 13:43

The Turkish Union of Road, Construction and Building Workers (YOL-IS), responding to reports that many health workers cannot go home and rest for fear that they might infect their families with COVID-19, has made its hotels, guesthouses and other social facilities in several cities available to the frontliners.

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North Macedonia: No wage cuts for workers during pandemic

06 April 2020 10:16

An agreement was reached last week between the Macedonian government and trade unions, including BWI affiliates, ensuring that workers’ wages in the public and private sectors would not be reduced and/or terminated during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Nepal: NTUC makes demands for vulnerable workers during lockdown

06 April 2020 05:33

The Nepal Trade Union Centre (NTUC) and the Construction and Allied Workers' Union of Nepal (CAWUN) have demanded that the government address their serious concerns over the vulnerability of the workforce during the COVID-19 lockdown, including informal, migrant workers and health workers.

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Philippines: Workers push back against tyranny amid shocking rhetoric

06 April 2020 05:21

The unions in the Philippines have won better social protections for workers amidst increasingly repressive conditions and threats during the lockdown, while the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

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BWI Deputy-President Dietmar Schäfers conveys a message of hope to all workers

05 April 2020 18:07

BWI Deputy-President Dietmar Schäfers conveys a message of hope to all workers

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Brazil: SINTRAPAV-PR protects workers during shutdown

05 April 2020 07:27

The Trade Union of Workers in Construction of Roads and Public & Private Works of the State of Parana (SINTRAPAV-PR) has successfully concluded an agreement with its employer for the safe return to their families of 6,000 complete with transportation tickets, wages and full benefits. The said agreement was reached as part of a deal to protect workers from COVID-19.

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BWI Deputy-President extends her solidarity to the whole BWI family

04 April 2020 08:54

Gail Cartmail extends her solidarity and explains the fight for construction workers in Britain.

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Spain: Union victory on COVID-19 protection for workers

03 April 2020 11:02

The government has heeded the demands of the unions in Spain to prohibit the dismissal of workers and the termination of temporary employment contracts during the COVID-19 crisis.

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Bulgaria: Union calls on govt to take drastic measures to protect workers from COVID-19

03 April 2020 10:47

The BWI affiliates in Bulgaria report that the government is not doing enough to secure workers’ jobs and income from COVID-19, which makes them vulnerable to the health and economic impacts of the pandemic.

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South Korea: Unions to ensure workers’ wages as COVID-19 is put “under control”

03 April 2020 10:38

The Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) is taking action to ensure that workers, especially those on daily employment contracts, on several construction sites that shut down due to COVID-19, are paid in full.

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BWI, other trade unions raise Qatar’s migrant workers’ vulnerabilities to COVID-19

03 April 2020 03:44

On 31 March, BWI, together with the other trade unions and social movements, sent a letter to the Qatari government expressing their growing concern regarding the vulnerability of migrant workers to COVID-19 in the country.

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Dominican Republic: Workers’ brigades distribute thousands of COVID-19 food packs

02 April 2020 07:39

The National Federation of Construction, Wood and Building Materials Workers (FENTICOMMC), BWI’s affiliate in the Dominican Republic, has organized “workers’ brigades which distributed 2,300 bags of food and other supplies to construction workers.

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Colombia: Irregular workers remain unprotected from COVID-19

02 April 2020 06:29

The Colombian Association of Construction, Building Materials and Woodworkers (INTERGREMIAL) reported that Columbian workers are not equally protected and compensated by the government in the fight against COVID-19.

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Malaysia: Timber unions call for mandatory COVID-19 testing

02 April 2020 05:53

While Malaysia has been in lockdown since 18 March to stop the spread of COVID-19, more than 200 timber mills across the country have been given work stoppage exemptions, leaving thousands of migrant workers concerned about their health and safety.

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BWI General Secretary extends solidarity to all workers globally

01 April 2020 16:36

In this period of crisis, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson extends his solidarity globally to all workers.

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Venezuela: Trade unions comply with govt’s COVID-19 measures

01 April 2020 07:16

BWI affiliates in Venezuela reported that they are complying with the government’s COVID-19 measures to prevent the spread of the virus in their country.

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Nigeria: Union protests company’s non-compliance with COVID-19 work stoppage

01 April 2020 06:47

The National Union of Civil Engineering Construction, Furniture and Wood Works (NUCECFWW) in Nigeria expressed its shock and disappointment this week over a company’s refusal to comply with the government’s directive to shut down all workplaces as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Bahrain : GFBU assists construction workers amid COVID-19

01 April 2020 06:13

The General Federation of Bahrain Trade Unions (GFBU) reported this week that it is continuing its work of reaching out to workers, particularly to construction workers, on ways how they can ensure their good health and safety, and secure their incomes and other means of livelihood.

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Italy: Unions inform migrant construction workers of gov't benefits vs. COVID-19

01 April 2020 05:45

BWI’s Italian affiliate, FILLEA-CGIL published a letter this week informing migrant construction workers of the benefits they are entitled to during the COVID-19 outbreak.

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Indonesia: Workers demand COVID-19 lockdown coupled with wage subsidies

31 March 2020 11:43

While Indonesia has a Health Quarantine Law, the government has yet to implement a lockdown and temporary close workplaces to protect its citizen from Covid-19. This was reportedly widely criticised by the public, particularly by trade unions which viewed it as prioritising big business interests over and above public health.

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India: World’s largest lockdown triggers massive exodus of migrant workers

31 March 2020 09:16

India's lockdown, the world's largest COVID-19 quarantine, triggered the massive exodus of migrant workers who are trying to return to their native villages.

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Russia: Moscow goes into lockdown, unions brace for COVID-19 impact

31 March 2020 08:35

On 30 March, the Russian capital, Moscow, was put under a city-wide lockdown in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19 to the country. While Russia has been relatively spared by the pandemic, the number of people testing positive has risen quickly.

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Egypt : GTUBWW donates $ 19,000 to protect irregular workers from COVID-19

31 March 2020 07:55

The General Union of Building and Wood Workers in Egypt (GTUBWW) donated a total of US $19,000 to the Egyptian government as contribution in the fight to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the country.

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BWI launches COVID-19 websection

30 March 2020 18:42

The BWI launched a COVID-19 websection to provide information received from its affiliates around the world. The section exists in English, French, Spanish and German.

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Chile: Video message from FETRACOMA on COVID-19

30 March 2020 09:17

As a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the National Union of Construction and Industrial Assemblage Workers (SINTEC-Chile) calls on the Chilean government to implement a workers' quarantine to safeguard the health and lives of workers, secure employment and income and suspend payment of basic services, loans and credits from financial institutions.

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Qatar: Workers address lockdown woes

30 March 2020 07:33

With Qatar under a COVID-19 lockdown, 16,000 workers housed in an accommodation facility found it difficult to get their salaries as access to automated teller machines (ATM) has been strictly regulated to prevent the spread of the virus.

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India: SEWA pushes for 4-point program to assist Indian women workers

30 March 2020 06:48

With the enforcement of the world’s largest COVID-19 lockdown, trade unions in India raised serious concerns that Indian women workers, who make up around 90 percent of India’s vast informal sector (470 million people), will likely be disproportionately affected by the economic impact of the pandemic.

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Tunisia : Trade unions set up “COVID-19 fighting fund”

30 March 2020 06:17

The Tunisia General Labor Union (UGTT) and FGBB have decided to set up a $ 34 million “COVID-19 fighting fund” to help workers affected by the international health crisis.

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ILO Compilation on COVID-related labour standards

30 March 2020 05:40

BWI is sharing with you the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) compilation of International Labour Standards related to COVID-19.

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UK: Unite wants COVID-19 income protection extended to self-employed construction workers

30 March 2020 05:09

Unite urges the government to extend its wage protection scheme to protect all construction workers trapped in various forms of bogus self-employment and exploitative employment models.

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Europe: EFBWW launches COVID-19 webpage

27 March 2020 11:37

The European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) launched a COVID-19 webpage to provide its member unions the latest update and information on the global health crisis.

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Cuba: Discipline, responsibility and solidarity in time of COVID-19

27 March 2020 10:47

As countries around the world try to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic, one nation is standing out as an inspiring symbol of strength, discipline and solidarity.

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Brazil: Amid COVID-19, QUIMICOS ABC ensures workers’ health, safety and income

27 March 2020 09:34

With COVID-19 reaching Brazil, BWI affiliate QUIMICOS ABC inked agreements with employers to ensure the health, safety and income of its members.

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Argentina: UOLRA secures incomes of migrant brick workers amid COVID-19

27 March 2020 08:56

UOLRA will be giving migrant brick workers in small family-owned brick factories 5,000 Argentine Pesos (about USD 78) for 4 months to offset their loss of income due to the temporary closure of small brick factories.

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Guatemala: Unions raise "serious concerns" over govt’s handling of COVID-19

27 March 2020 08:20

BWI's Gutamelan affiliates raise their serious concerns regarding the measures implemented by President Alejandro Giammattei to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Japan: Tokyo 2020 Olympics postponed, construction workers demand support

27 March 2020 08:17

With the postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics, Japanese trade unions demand appropriate measures to help construction workers.

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Austria: Trade unions launch "Corona hotline" to assist workers

26 March 2020 14:20

The Austrian trade unions launched a “Corona hotline” last 16 March to support and assist workers during the global health crisis.

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Steps construction workers and employers should take on COVID-19

26 March 2020 13:36

Education plays a crucial part in addressing the pandemic. Workers and employers alike must be equipped with the proper and latest information on how to protect themselves from COVID-19.

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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Forestry workers protect rights amid COVID crisis

26 March 2020 09:08

The Independent Trade Union of Forestry, Wood and Paper Processing of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Forestry workers trade union) has taken a two-pronged approach to protect its members from COVID-19.

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BWI to multinationals: Take global responsibility and cooperate on COVID-19

26 March 2020 08:19

BWI is reaching out to big companies to urge them to use best practices on and economic protection for workers in the fight against COVID-19.

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India: Govt urged to protect workers’ livelihood from COVID-19

26 March 2020 08:14

INBCWF) submitted a petition to the Indian government calling for the protection of workers' health, safety and livelihood as authorities imposed the world's largest COVID-19 lockdown.

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US: Natl COVID-19 agreement signed covering electrical workers

26 March 2020 08:13

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) and its construction employer have signed an agreement covering the health and safety of workers during COVID-19.

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Australia COVID-19: Unions and industry work together to keep workers safe and construction going

25 March 2020 13:30

The CFMEU Construction and General Division, the Master Builders of Australia and other major construction industry players are all in agreement that building work must continue despite the COVID-19 crisis.

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Turkey: Unions brace for COVID-19

25 March 2020 10:04

BWI affiliates in Turkey reported that the country has started to take preventive measures against the COVID-19 outbreak this month. They said that the government has started imposing restrictions on incoming travelers and closed schools, bars and night clubs and suspended all national and international events. However, the country is not yet on a total lockdown as public transport is still operating and public institutions, shopping malls and banks are still open. Workplaces are also continuing production.

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Germany: Unions want no labour rights abuse due to COVID-2019

25 March 2020 09:52

Last 17th of March, the confederation DGB in Germany met with the employers’ association and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs to discuss ways to address the COVID-19 crisis. Given the serious threat to public health, workers’ livelihood and the economy, the government, unions and employers all agreed to share the responsibility in fighting the pandemic. The unions and employers asked the federal government to prepare a comprehensive plan to avert a possible economic recession.

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Israel: Histadrut signs CBA protecting public sector workers from COVID-19

25 March 2020 09:45

On 18 March, Histadrut and the Israeli government signed a collective agreement that will regulate the employment of public sector workers during the COVID-19 crisis. The agreement is signed for the period of 19 March 2020 to 16 April 2020.

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COVID19 Brazil: Workers defeat measure suspending work contracts without pay

24 March 2020 12:36

BWI affiliates in Brazil on Monday claimed victory after they successfully pressured its government to back down on a measure that aims to suspend the employment contract of all workers for up to 4 months without salaries as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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India: Unorganised workers and COVID-19

24 March 2020 11:50

Unorganised workers (known as workers in the informal economy elsewhere) are subject to the Coronavirus just like other workers. With most of the state governments in India calling on people to strictly observe social distancing and remain in their homes, this is causing a major impact on unorganised workers, many of whom work in construction.

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Germany: IGBAU calls on federal govt to increase COVID-19 short-time work allowances to 90%

24 March 2020 09:10

The Industrial Union Construction, Agricultural and Environmental (IG BAU)-Germany today called for an increase on COVID-19 short-time work allowances for workers. In a petition, the union called on its members to take action and put pressure on the federal government to provide 90 percent short-time allowances to workers as one of many measures to protect the workers's health, safety and livelihood from the global health crisis.

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Panama: SUNTRACS negotiates closing of construction projects, ensures wage payments

24 March 2020 08:42

Saúl Méndez, Secretary General of SUNTRACS and President of the BWI Regional Committee for Latin America and the Caribbean (LACR), together with other SUNTRACS trade union leaders, met with the President of the Republic of Panama, Laurentino Cortizo, and the Minister of Labor.

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Mauritius: CMWEU urges govt and companies to protect workers’ jobs and health from COVID-19

23 March 2020 09:01

The CMWEU, together with its sister unions from the CTSP National Centre, held a dialogue with the Ministry of Labour on how the government can ensure that specific measures and protocols are put in place and observed by companies to ensure the workers’ health and safety against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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IUPAT to political leaders: Protect workers from COVID-19 pandemic

20 March 2020 06:57

Amid the conflicting policy proposals on how to respond to COVID-19, the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), representing workers in the United States and Canada, has called for congressional action to support workers impacted by the pandemic.

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COVID-19 in Francophone Africa

20 March 2020 06:41

While less impacted than the rest of the world, the African continent still faces the risk of the spread of Covid-19. BWI affiliates in the region are already feeling the effect of the pandemic.

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GS Facket - Sweden negotiates COVID 19 agreement

20 March 2020 06:01

At the beginning of the week of 16 March, the Swedish government presented a crisis package on how to deal with the impact of the Coronavirus. A temporary system of short-term work was immediately introduced which will be valid until the end of the year.

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France: Construction work stops due to COVID-19

19 March 2020 12:56

France's construction sector has called for a temporary work stoppage of all construction sites and the confinement of its workers as a response to COVID-19.

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Belgium: Workers deal with COVID19 lockdown

19 March 2020 11:14

The BWI Belgian affiliates ACV-BIE and CG FGTB reported today that Belgium was officially placed under a lockdown until 5 April as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes Belgium the latest country to impose such a measure.

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ILO issues report on COVID 19 and world of work: Impacts and responses

19 March 2020 05:41

The ILO Report: Impacts and Responses, described and linked in this ILO news release, speaks of the current challenges and what needs to be done for workers and to sustain economic activity. Equally important, it urges us to look to the future.

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Coronavirus: Fight Pandemic – Protect migrants

18 March 2020 15:03

A blog piece by BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson

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Qatar gov’t and migrant workers unite to fight COVID-19

18 March 2020 13:42

Qatar’s Ministry of Labour (MADLSA) convened an emergency meeting with leaders of different migrant worker communities last 12th of March to relay information on the measures being taken by the Qatari government to protect its citizens and workers against the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Global solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic

18 March 2020 10:43

The pandemic requires an unprecedented show of solidarity. Governments, trade unions and employers must close ranks more than ever in turning the tide against this international health crisis.

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COVID 19: Workers need workplace safety measures

12 March 2020 16:46

The Council of Global Unions (CGU), representing 200 million workers, called on governments and employers in all countries to act swiftly to save lives and to limit the spread of COVID 19. It said that the crisis is a fundamental issue of health, occupational health and safety, and rights and social protections.

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