The 4th Global Power Trade Union Congress, that was held in Chicago, United States last week has passed resolutions to support two of BWI’s global campaigns, the ‘Stop the Attacks on Korean Unions” and the ‘Red Card for FIFA’ campaign. The conference is a gathering of national electrical unions, including BWI affiliates from Australia, New Zealand, Norway and France, working together to combat exploitation in the electrical industries.
“The solidarity of working people across the world, including the many electrical unions here, has helped us make significant progress in pushing FIFA to respect workers’ rights”, said BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson. Speaking to the conference, Yuson reported that, “…a couple of weeks ago BWI and FIFA signed a Memorandum of Understanding allowing BWI to conduct joint inspection of the construction of the stadiums for the 2018 football championship.”
He requested ongoing solidarity to support the campaign, particularly in Qatar, where, “One million construction workers in Qatar are migrant workers from India, Nepal and Philippines. They are treated like slaves, low wages, bad working and living conditions, and workers are not allowed to join trade unions to demand their rights. We need to make sure that migrants and refugees have the same rights, working conditions, and wages of national workers.”
Yuson also highlighted the case of 15 union leaders and members of the Tower Crane Operators Branch of the Korean Construction Workers’ Union sentenced to up to three years in prison for engaging in collective bargaining negotiations. “We need to mobilise global solidarity to show to our comrades in South Korea that they are not alone in this struggle – and to the government of South Korea that their crimes against trade unionists will not go unnoticed.” He called on participants to write to their countries’ South Korean embassies to demand an end to the crackdown on the South Korean trade union movement.
Unions participating in the conference also expressed their strong support for the 55 CUB brewery maintenance workers from Australia (many of them members of BWI-affiliate the Electrical Trades Union), who were terminated without notice through a labour hire contracting arrangement, then offered their jobs back with a 65% pay cut. BWI has issued an action alert to all its affiliates to support this campaign by supporting the boycott where possible, demonstrate their solidarity to the #CUB55 with selfies or to send a protest letter to CUB management demanding reinstatement on full pay.