The opening ceremony of the 4th BWI World Congress started on a vibrant note with the youth carrying BWI flags and marching to the stage chanting solidarity slogans followed by the national anthem. A short cultural performance reflecting struggles in South Africa were showcased that enjoined delegates from across the world to raise slogans on workers struggles and solidarity.
Per Olof Sjöö, BWI President, opened the congress emphasizing "the moment for global solidarity with more than 700 workers from all over the world". He highlighted: "This is the time for global solidarity to take back the power to the people." Sjöö added: "There is also a need to shift the frame of economic growth where there is space and opportunity for workers to share the wealth.”
Piet Matosa, Vice-President for BWI Africa and Middle East reminded the Congress of the slogan "Amandla! Power to the people" which is a cross cutting theme to fight back and build workers' power with innovative unionism so that workers' rights are achieved and bring back power in the hands of workers.
in his address to Congress, Thembikosi Willies Mchunu, Premier from the KwaZulu Natal Province, South Africa, shared the concerns of workers in current challenging times. In addition, he highlighted: "The need for workers' organisations to innovate". He also referred to ANC struggle and end of apartheid. Finally, he raised key questions that would guide BWI and unions’ work in the coming years and urged the BWI to make sustainable improvements by continuing to reorganise themselves so that they can negotiate effectively..