COVID 19 - Union Response

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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