Today at a meeting in Jogjakarta the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) Global Social Chamber supported and endorsed the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI) initiative to having core labour standards embedded in all FSC policy standards.
"In countries where labour rights are poor, the FSC brand provides us with a mechanism to ensure that forest workers are treated with respect and dignity. Embedding the ILO Core Conventions within all policy standards helps us raise the bar for all forest workers, regardless of where they are working," said BWI's Asia Pacific Regional Representative Apolinar Tolentino.
The Global Social Chamber is made up of trade unions, indigenous peoples, civil society groups and advocates, who gave their unequivocal support and endorsement of the FSC Working Group on ILO Core Conventions Report on Generic Principles and Criteria with direct reference to ILO Conventions.
The BWI and its nine affiliates’ representatives bolstered its argument by bringing the actual experience of Sabah Timber Industries Employees Union (STIEU) with the Sabah Forestry Industries (SFI) into the meeting deliberations, to highlight the need for the stakeholders’ support and endorsement.
With the support of the chamber secured, Tolentino is optimistic that the Working Group's report on workers’ rights to freely organize and collectively bargain would be approved by FSC International Board and finally integrated into FSC certification systems and processes. "We have been pushing for this for some time, and trust that the Board will make the right decision."
The Board is scheduled to meet on February 7, next week.
The BWI delegation who attended the meeting is composed of representatives Asia-Pacific regional office alongside affiliates from KAHUTINDO, ALU, STIEU, INBCWWF, FNV, TKTMS, FIRST Union, OFMFPWU, AND SUNTMAVEN.