Sweden: “No more dead construction workers” – message from Congress of Byggnads

 Johan Lindholm, re-elected chairman of Byggnads

“No one should have to risk his or her own life by just going to work,” said the Swedish Prime minister Stefan Löfven in his speech to the Congress of the Swedish Construction union Byggnads in Gothenburg.

A lot of the focus at the Congress is on health and safety as nine construction workers died on their jobs last year. The government has after demands from Byggnads promised to give more resources to the Swedish Work Environment Authority to carry out labour inspections and introduce collective agreements as a requirement for all public procurements.

The current leadership of the union was re-elected for another four years term with Johan Lindholm as chairman of the union, Lars Hildingsson as second chairman, Patrik Östberg as union secretary and Torbjörn Hagelin, as secretary of agreements.

“To represent the construction workers is a big thing. I am very pleased with what we have done,” said Johan Lindholm.

Karl Petter Thorwaldsson, President of the Swedish Confederation of Trade Unions LO spoke about the importance of standing up for the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers.

"The debate now is all about immigrants and refugees. Where does this mood come from? The workers' movement don't put people against people!" he said. 

A number of BWI affiliates globally was present signifying their support for global campaigns and solidarity. Byggnads has contributed to the “Sustainability of Projects and Organising Campaign” (SPOC) fund, that is contributing to a number of organizing campaigns by BWI affiliates around the world.

"With the hands of Byggnads that is building Sweden along with the hands of BWI that is building the world, together through genuine solidarity we are creating a global trade union movement that can easily take on anti-trade union employers and conservative populist governments," said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI in his speech to the Congress.