ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in infrastructure and construction

The BWI had a strong team of construction trade union leaders from Namibia, Uganda, Panama, Brazil, India, Fiji, Germany and Italy, well prepared for this two day intensive ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in infrastructure and the construction industry.

The discussion document was an extremely weak report written by the ILO, which looked like it had been put together in a day, cut and paste from old data. The report was criticised by governments and workers in the opening remarks.

Despite this, the labour group was able to put forward the trade union point of view of the state of the industry and to articulate proposals for improvements in procurement and labour clauses in bidding and contract documents; and to make the case for workers representation and collective bargaining on employment policies, labour practices, working conditions and health and safety.

Around forty government representatives, mainly from Ministries of Labour and Labour Inspectors made helpful and well informed contributions to the discussion, and were largely supportive of the trade union proposals. A peculiar interlude during the government contributions was a lengthy lecture from the government of China, completed with power point, extolling the virtues of the Chinese international contractors and their “world stunning projects”.

Significantly, the employers were finally convinced to drop their long-standing objection to Convention 94 on Labour Clauses in Public Contracts. They now agree that this important convention should be promoted by the ILO and ratified by governments. The employers also agreed that the ILO should research and evaluate the use of roving safety representative schemes, where trade unions can provide trained H&S representatives to visit small workplaces and offer advice and support.

The ILO will provide the notes on the proceedings and the negotiated conclusions of the meeting in due course, and they will be posted on the BWI website for information.

The BWI had a strong team of construction trade union leaders from Namibia, Uganda, Panama, Brazil, India, Fiji, Germany and Italy, well prepared for this two day intensive ILO Global Dialogue Forum on Decent Work in infrastructure and the construction industry.

The discussion document was an extremely weak report written by the ILO, which looked like it had been put together in a day, cut and paste from old data. The report was criticised by governments and workers in the opening remarks.

Despite this, the labour group was able to put forward the trade union point of view of the state of the industry and to articulate proposals for improvements in procurement and labour clauses in bidding and contract documents; and to make the case for workers representation and collective bargaining on employment policies, labour practices, working conditions and health and safety.

Around forty government representatives, mainly from Ministries of Labour and Labour Inspectors made helpful and well informed contributions to the discussion, and were largely supportive of the trade union proposals. A peculiar interlude during the government contributions was a lengthy lecture from the government of China, completed with power point, extolling the virtues of the Chinese international contractors and their “world stunning projects”.

Significantly, the employers were finally convinced to drop their long-standing objection to Convention 94 on Labour Clauses in Public Contracts. They now agree that this important convention should be promoted by the ILO and ratified by governments. The employers also agreed that the ILO should research and evaluate the use of roving safety representative schemes, where trade unions can provide trained H&S representatives to visit small workplaces and offer advice and support.

The ILO will provide the notes on the proceedings and the negotiated conclusions of the meeting in due course, and they will be posted on the BWI website for information.