BWI discuss with affiliates FSC’s new core labour requirements in chain of custody

The Independent Union of Forestry, Wood and Paper Processing of Bosnia and Herzegovina (SSSPDP BIH) on 17 March organised an expert seminar in Sarajevo which was attended by representatives and experts from the Chamber of Commerce, the Faculty of Forestry and wood industry companies, as well as employers from forestry companies, the Association of Forestry Engineers and Technicians of FBiH and leaders from SSSPDP BIH.

Coen Van der Veer, BWI Director for Wood and Forestry presented the outcomes of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) General Assembly held last October 2022, which among others, adopted a motion that secures the free access of trade union representatives to FSC-certified worksites and plants to talk to the workers employed. It is said to be related to workplace health and safety requiring workers to choose their own health and safety representatives.

Participants to the seminar agreed that a systematic solution to these issues is needed, as well as constant communication between companies and trade unions. SSŠPDP BIH President Lejla Ćatić said that long-term employees in specific professions in the forest sector who got injured at workplaces have a difficult time finding new employment. “While it is unclear how this can be verified and how to ensure that employees who work for subcontractors of FSC-certified companies work under the same conditions as the employees of the public company that ordered the work in question, some subcontractors employ workers in precarious working conditions that are in violation of the FSC standards. This usually refers to making insurance payments and exercising related rights,” he said. 

Also, as part of BWI’s visit to Bosnia and Herzegovina, it had a working meeting  with the Forestry, Wood Processing and Paper Trade Union of Republika Srpska. Trade union leader Vlado Pavlović and several other trade union representatives discussed the current working conditions in the wood and forestry industries, as well as the European Union's new standards, which will also implemented in the area. The FSC's new core labour requirements in the forestry and the chain of custody were also tackled.