Macedonia: 5th Congress of SGIP reiterates the commitment of its 80 years of care for construction workers’ rights

The IVth Congress of the Trade Union of Civil Engineering, Industry and Planning of Republic of Macedonia, SGIP, held on 21 May 2016 in Krusevo Macedonia, gathered 39 delegates, with a participation of more than 30 per cent of young and women delegates. Pavel Trendafilov was re-elected as president of SGIP and the Congress elected the SGIP Council. 


In his address to the Congress, Pavel Trendafilov said: “It was on 20 June 1936 when construction workers begun a first strike in Skopje that spread throughout the country, fighting against a 12 hours of work day, miserable wages and bad health and safety, which ended successfully with gains for the workers. Eighty years later we have to continue our struggle for workers in construction and fight back where workers’ rights are violated in Macedonia and globally. I am proud that the members of the SGIP unselfishly gave themselves throughout the years to achieve its goals. We should leave a legacy to the future generations to preserve the dignity of the union and this is why we look up the young women and men delegates with full trust and support that, you, will build this organization and accomplish new and even greater results.” 


The president of the Trade Union of Construction Industry of Croatia – SGH, Jasenka Vuksic highlighted: “This are times where unions need to be able to respond to new challenges, like the precarious work and anti-union attitudes of employers that lead to worker’s exploitation. We must fight and there is lot of work ahead of us, but, we, all together can achieve the aim of putting workers before profits.” 


The SGIP Congress presidium was chaired by the SGIP youth and women activist. The Congress adopted changes in the union statutes and adopted a new Program prioritizing the continuation of organizing and collective bargaining in multinationals and infrastructure projects and promotion of second line young and women leaders within its structures. 


On behalf of the BWI, Jasmin Redzepovic, BWI Assistant Education Secretary, commended the SGIP for its organizing efforts in the highway projects Corridor 8 and 10, as well as to the Global campaign work on Chinese MNCs in the construction sector in South east Europe asserting that there should be no exploitation of workers for development. He stressed that the union power can be only strengthened by rebuilding, reforming and restoring the unions through organizing workers into trade unions, bringing unions closer to the member’s/work sites, education of members that results to action-transformation of unions that have a global perspective in their local actions. 


The delegates expressed their full support to BWI campaign “No World Cup in Qatar without workers’ rights” with the aim of the protection of construction-migrant workers in Qatar, calling up on FIFA to take its responsibilities. 


Around 20 international and local guests attended the event including BWI affiliates from Albania (FSNDSH), Croatia (SGH), Turkey (YOL-IS), the president of the SSM – Federation of Trade Unions of Macedonia, Phd Zivko Mitrevski and leaders of sister Branch Trade Unions.