The BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson, visited Lebanon from 14 to 17 of February 2019. He was accompanied by the Regional Representative for the Africa and Middle East Region, Crecentia Mofokeng, and MENA Coordinator Wassim Rifi.
Their mission was to learn and understand what was taking place in the country and show support for BWI affiliates. The visit took place following a period of turbulence, including riots, and public actions such as strikes, marches and protests in the heart of Beirut. Action was linked with serious economic and social problems. The actions in this period, in term, further damaged the economy and led to the collapse of the currency.
In an effort to learn about the realities on the ground and determine if there are possible solutions, the General Secretary met with the Acting President of the General Confederation of Lebanon Trade Unions (CGTL), Mr. Hassan Fakih and Antoun Antoun, the President of GSTU, the BWI affiliate in Lebanon. Ambet Yuson extended congratulations to Brother Antoun for his appointment as the advisor to the newly appointed minister of Labour.
The meeting provided an opportunity to learn about developments in Lebanon. They were also able to discuss measures that might help address the social-economic and political challenges in the midst of tensions and turmoil.
The BWI delegation met with the newly appointed Minster of Labour, Ms. Lamia Yammine ,who was open to ideas and suggestions on the improvement of Labour Relations in Lebanon, including through strengthening social dialogue.
The BWI General Secretary met the Regional Director of the ILO, Ms. Rouba Jaradat. They were briefed on the developments and the need for a new strategy for the Region, one to which BWI could make an important contribution given the large number of workers in BWI sectors.
Ambet Yuson took the opportunity during all his meetings to stress the importance of building a strong, effective, and coherent trade union movement that will represent all workers, including migrants and refugees. He appreciated the value the mission, which will serve as the basis of future cooperation. It also helped facilitate work in the region as a whole.