Per-Olof Sjöö,, President of BWI and GS of Sweden, participated in a panel focusing on rights of migrant workers organized by Union to Union as part of the 8-day political festival Almedalen Week. Established in 1968 by former Prime Minister Olof Palme, when he as minister of education at the time, spoke from the back of a lorry at Kruttornet in Visby.
Today, Almedalen Week has evolved as a democratic meeting place for all political parties and according to organizers “a democratic meeting place that everyone can join and co-create. The atmosphere is informal and relaxed, creating the feeling that everyone who matters is there. Chance meetings can lead to unexpected effects.”
Sjöö spoke on work of BWI in campaigning for the rights of migrant workers with a specific focus on BWI’s work in Qatar, where 99% of workers in the construction sector are migrant workers. He highlighted BWI’s cooperation with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in conducting joint safety inspections of the 2022 World Cup stadiums as the country will host the next FIFA World Cup Tournaments. He also highlighted BWI’s work with construction companies such as QDVC/VINCI and Besix in ensuring ethical recruitment, establishment of Workers Welfare Committees, good safety and health, and decent accommodation facilities.
“As a result of BWI’s work in Qatar for the last eight years, working and living conditions for migrant workers has improved, but there is much more that can be done. In this BWI continues to work actively on the ground in outreaching to migrant workers with the support of BWI affiliates including Swedish unions,” stated Sjöö.
In addition to Sjöö, other panelists included Alice Petén, Migration correspondent for Swedish Government Radio, Sofia Östmarkm, Executive Director of Union to Union and Emil Jensen, Artist and Poet.
In addressing the overall root causes of labour migration, President Sjöö emphasized the need to focus on alleviating poverty and creation of decent jobs in the countries of origin so that migrant workers are not forced to migrate. He concluded by stating, “We need to solve poverty,”