Asia Pacific: Unions share innovative trade union approaches, release report

The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) recently released its report on innovative unionism in the Asia Pacific region. Titled “Workers’ Recovery from COVID-19, Climate Change and Capitalism,” the report presents various initiatives on innovative unionism that challenge capitalist relations and structures and push for a green and sustainable economy based on the protection of workers’ rights and the promotion of free universal public services.


The report documents ten (10) trade unions from different countries in the Asia Pacific region which have implemented creative initiatives that advanced organising efforts amongst unorganised workers, especially young workers, defended human rights and democracy, pushed back against multinational companies, and reduced gender-based violence and harassment at workplaces. 

The unions are: the All India Construction Workers Central Union (AIKTMS) in Tamil Nadu, India; the Building and Woodworkers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUC); the Building and Woodworkers’ Federation of Myanmar (BWFM); the Construction, Forestry, Mining, and Energy Union (CFMEU) in Australia; the India National Cement Workers Federation (INCWF) in India; the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Union (KFCITU) in South Korea; the National Union of Building and Construction Workers (NUBCW) in the Philippines; the Pakistan Federation of Building and Wood Workers (PFBWW) in Pakistan; the Indonesian Federation of Peoples Labour Unions (SERBUK) in Indonesia; and the Sabah Timber Industry Employees Union (STIEU) in Malaysia. 

The report gives an insight on the evolving activism of workers in the region in the 21st century. It tells the stories of trade unions challenging repressive regimes in Myanmar and the Philippines and ending modern slavery in India, Nepal and Cambodia. It shows how trade unionists are organising supply chains in Indonesia and using consumer demand for ethical standards to bring justice for migrant workers in Malaysia.


The document also presents new experiences on how trade unions are standing up for gender equality and against the “macho culture” in the South Korean and Philippine construction industries, while supporting indigenous youth in skills training programmes in Australia. 

The report is the result of BWI’s partnership with the Swedish Union to Union (UtoU) which encouraged the global union's affiliates to share with the broader trade union movement the innovative organising approaches that they have developed to advance workers’ struggle in the building and construction, wood and forestry, building materials and allied industries.

Download the report here.