BWI has released on Wednesday its full Asia Pacific report on COVID-19 covering the situation of the region’s different countries and the wide array of initiatives and interventions done by trade union affiliates to respond to the crisis.
In the report, BWI discussed the health and socio-economic impact of COVID-19 to workers and the effect of the countries’ different lockdown measures to the construction, wood and forestry industries.
The report also substantially discussed the plight of migrant workers, who are one of the sectors hardest-hit by the pandemic. BWI brought to light the challenging situation of migrant workers based in Singapore, India, Nepal, Thailand and Qatar.
BWI’s report also presented the affiliates and governments’ different initiatives and engagements to respond to the pandemic. For unions, social dialogue, collective bargaining, tripartite agreements, online campaigns and humanitarian aid and relief efforts dominated much of their efforts. Youth organising was also given special emphasis, with young trade unionists leading the charge in maximizing social media spaces and opportunities to further promote BWI campaigns.
On the other hand, the report said that most governments in the region created policies unilaterally. Few governments involved workers and business in their negotiations. Several countries have also not established policies specific to the construction, wood and forestry industries.
Looking forward, the report outlined the important post-COVID transition plans and demands that unions must actively push for. Some of these include health and safety protocols to protect workers from COVID-19, policies on economic recovery, especially those that affect construction and wood and forestry workers; social inclusion measures for the poorest and most marginalized workers, particularly migrant workers, and programs aim to revitalise unions.