Unionists push for more worker participation to secure safer and healthier workplaces

Trade union leaders from BWI affiliates led by Zach Smith of the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU), Morgan Mazarura of the Zimbabwe Construction and Allied Trade Workers' Union (ZCATWU), and Linnea Wikström, BWI Global Coordinator for Construction and Infrastructure, have collectively advocated for increased worker health and safety protection at the 28th World Safety and Health Congress held in Sydney, Australia.

Addressing the assembly, they emphasised the crucial role of workers' representation in ensuring active participation in health and safety efforts. Their focus extended to key challenges confronting workers in the construction, building materials, and forestry industries. Among the pressing issues highlighted were the hazards of silica and asbestos exposure, the adverse effects of heat stress, and the potential risks associated with extensive working hours, all of which can significantly impact the safety and well-being of workers in the said industries.

The trade unionists also underscored a shared commitment to fostering safer and healthier working conditions globally, urging stakeholders to prioritise and address the multifaceted challenges faced by workers. This initiative coincides with the broader global discussions on environmental sustainability and workers' rights at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “COP 28” in Dubai starting this 30 November, asserting the interconnectedness of workers’ rights and welfare, and broader global initiatives for a more sustainable future.