South Africa: Solidar Suisse visits BWI regional office, marks historic cooperation

BWI’s regional office for Africa and Middle East in Johannesburg received on 24 May a delegation from the Solidar Suisse composed of Joachim Merz, Solidar Suisse Desk Officer Southern Africa & Bolivia and Beat von Däniken, Solidar Suisse Mozambique Representative. 

The visit aimed to magnify the historic cooperation between BWI and Solidar Suisse which for several years now have benefited thousands of workers and their families by improving their working conditions, occupational health and safety and access to social justice.

Since 2008, Solidar Suisse has been supporting BWI and affiliates in the region starting with the massive infrastructure projects for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. It was BWI’s first sports campaign that helped trade unions organise more than 25,000 workers, engage FIFA, the government and employers, and sign collective bargaining agreements (CBAs) that guaranteed better working conditions and wages for all workers employed in the World Cup infrastructure projects.

Solidar continued to support BWI’s policy and campaign work in the region, successfully mobilising the global union’s affiliates and their members in the region in campaigns for occupational health and safety, gender equality, youth empowerment, decent work and on Chinese multinational companies.

In 2020, Solidar Suisse’s support focused on the Ban Asbestos Campaign that has taken an important step in engaging governments, employers and other stakeholders  in six (6) countries: Kenya, Ghana, Nigeria, Mauritius, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Through virtual and face to face meetings and workshops, more than 120 union activists have been trained to campaign and lobby for the implementation of the National Programmes for the Elimination of Asbestos and Related Diseases and to influence their respective governments for the COP meetings on the Rotterdam Convention.

BWI Regional Representative Crecentia Mofokeng thanked Solidar Suisse and its delegation for their continuing help and support for BWI and its affiliates in the region. 

“Solidar Suisse is one the best partners of BWI in the region. We hope that this good cooperation will continue. We also look forward to the replication of the Ban Asbestos campaign in more countries in the region to achieve a total ban and come up with national programmes for the elimination of asbestos-related diseases,” Mofokeng said. 

Solidar Suisse is a Swiss non-governmental organisation that has a 70-year commitment to decent working conditions, democratic participation and improvement of living conditions in the poorest countries.