Overwhelming support for core labour standards in FSC assembly

Trade union representatives affiliated with the Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI) were elated with the overwhelming support that they received from the cross-chamber members of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) on key policies during the council’s general assembly last 9-14 October in Bali, Indonesia. 

In the said assembly, Policy Motion 50 was passed which guaranteed the rights of workers in forest-based industries, maintaining that they are integral parts of FSC’s principles and criteria under the chain of custody. 

Also passed was Policy Motion 51 on the right of workers to elect their own occupational health and safety (OHS) representative(s). It is said that the FSC’s standards requirements for certificate holders must ensure commitment to workplace health and safety in their business operations. 

During the plenary sessions, participants noted that the FSC has the habit of doing certifications even in countries where labour and human rights are not ensured.

As such, BWI congratulated the FSC on the said motions, saying that they are important steps forward that incorporated its normative framework and core labour requirements in its chain of custody certificates.

“I m very proud of our collaboration with the other chambers of the FSC that has led to the recognition of fundamental workers’ rights under the FSC certification. This will be a game changer in the FSC-certified worksites as workers will be provided more mechanisms to exercise their rights to self-organisation, collective bargaining and safe and healthy workplaces,” BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said.

Also stressed in the assembly are reports and figures from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) that point to the forestry industry having the most dangerous workplaces. Trade union delegates reminded FSC’s cross-chamber members that during the 2022 ILO Conference, there was a decision to include occupational health and safety as a fundamental right to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work.

BWI’s important gains in the FSC General Assembly come on the heels of its recently concluded 5th World Congress in Madrid, Spain on 5-7 October.  In the said Congress, BWI adopted a new Global Strategic Plan that includes the rights of workers employed in forest-based industries.