Massive protests explode worldwide against “rising tide” of anti-worker policies

Massive workers’ protests are breaking out in many countries even as the COVID-19 pandemic rages worldwide. BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson welcomed and supported the protests organised by BWI-affiliated trade unions in the United States, Ukraine, India, Philippines, Hong Kong and Indonesia. BWI called them a “global pushback against a rising tide of anti-worker and anti-democracy policies” being implemented by many governments under the guise of responding to the global health crisis. 

“The message is clear. Trade unions will not allow governments and employers to use the pandemic to rollback workers’ rights and victories. We will not allow them to introduce a ‘new normal world’ where workers’ rights are impaired. Workers will push back and move forward to build a better future,” Yuson said.  

In Ukraine, the BWI-affiliated Construction and Building Materials Workers Union of Ukraine (PROFBUD), along with other trade unions, launched a national day of action on 30 June against the government’s push to pass an anti-union law. BWI  also joined the Global Trade Union Solidarity Action to express its full support in opposing the law which contrives Ukraine’s Constitution and core ILO conventions. 

In India, BWI affiliates joined a nationwide protest on 3 July against the suspension of labour laws in several Indian states and the national government’s move to privatise key industries and sectors. The trade unions pushed for a “12-point charter of demands,” which includes universal social security for all workers, rejection of foreign direct investment in core sectors and zero labour law amendments in favour of employers. 

Meanwhile, in Indonesia, the government is trying to pass an Omnibus law on job creation, which many workers argued will lead to more mass layoffs and reduced wages. BWI affiliates launched various actions to oppose the bill and joined a broad mobilization against the proposed measure on 16 July.  

Nagkaisa, the Philippines’ biggest coalition of labour centres, was also in the thick of the battle against a new Anti-Terror Law which threatens to undermine and harm human rights, particularly trade union rights. The Filipino trade unionists launched big protest actions and on 17 July filed a petition before the Philippine Supreme Court calling on the high tribunal to strike down the measure as unconstitutional. 

Likewise, Hong Kong trade unions continue to fight a new national security law criminalizing so-called acts of secession, subversion, foreign interference and terrorism. They have since resorted to creative ways to voice their dissent after China has started to fully implement the security law and arrested people displaying now forbidden political slogans.

In the United States, tens of thousands of American workers walked out of their jobs on 20 July Monday in more than two dozen U.S. cities in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and to connect income inequality with racial injustice. 

(Photo of Strike for Black Lives courtesy of NBC)