Trade unions have been fundamental to building functioning democracies for over a century. Trade unions can only fully and freely function in democracies. It is also true that democracy cannot be complete without trade unions. In other words, there are no trade unions without democracy, and no democracy without trade unions.
Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) General Secretary Lee Cheuk Yan and four other democracy leaders received prison sentences for organising and participating in a pro-democracy rally in 2019 which was deemed illegal under Hong Kong’s new National Security Law.
The Building and Woodworkers International (BWI), representing 12 million workers worldwide, supported the creation of Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) as a counter to the country’s brutal military junta.
Sharing various initiatives to promote the responsible recruitment of migrant workers in Qatar’s construction industry, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson called on the country’s hospitality industry, particularly hotels that will be used for the 2022 World Cup, to adopt measures that will secure labour rights.
BWI lauded the German national football team for its strong public support for migrant workers’ rights after its players displayed the words “human rights” spelled out across the t-shirts they wore when they lined up during their qualifying match against Iceland in March.
A court in Hong Kong convicted Lee Cheuk Yan, General Secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), and several others for organising and taking part in a democracy rally deemed illegal by the Chinese Special Administrative Region’s National Security Law.
The Building and Wood Workers International (BWI) and the Confederation of Trade Unions of Myanmar (CTUM) appeal to your kind hearts to donate generously to the “Myanmar Strike Fund” intended to sustain and strengthen the Burmese trade unionists’ struggle for democracy against the country’s brutal military junta.
BWI, representing 12 million workers worldwide, stands in solidarity with the Belarusian people, especially the trade unionists and workers, as they mark Belarus' Freedom Day on 25 March. We join them as they continue their struggle for democracy. We add our voices in calling for an end to state violence and repression, particularly those committed against trade unions, the release of all political prisoners and the conduct of new and fair elections.
Belarus opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanouskaya met with BWI and fellow global labour unions on 10 March in Switzerland as part of efforts to build international pressure for strongman Alexander Lukashenko to relinquish power.
BWI expresses it full solidarity and support to the Construction Metal Wooden and Related Industries Employees Union (CMWEU) and the Confederation des Travailleurs des Secteurs Publique et Privé (CTSP) which were sued by the Hyvec Construction Ltd. in retaliation for simply fulfilling their roles in protecting the rights and welfare of workers.
A Brazilian court on 8 March has cleared criminal convictions against former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, opening the window for the popular trade union leader to run in next year’s presidential election.
In the latest international efforts to support the Burmese people’s struggle for democracy, the European Commission (EC) reprotedly imposed sanctions on military-owned companies in Myanmar operating in the timber industry.
BWI expresses its full support for the extended nationwide work stoppage launched on 8 March by Myanmar’s different trade unions and the broad Civil Disobedience Movement (CDM) to defend democracy from the military junta.
BWI joins over 200 civil society organisations in urging international financial institutions (IFIs) to immediately freeze loans and other financial assistance linked to the military junta amounting to an estimated USD 11 Billion.
On 22 February (Monday), Myanmar's biggest trade unions and multitude of workers will launch a nationwide general strike to defend democracy from the military junta. Millions are expected to join the strike dubbed as the "Five Twos" revolution (22.2.2021).
Myanmar’s military’s attaches have the opportunity to change the course of Myanmar’s history. We call on them to reject the military junta and join the people in holding it accountable. We call on them to be the genuine army of the Myanmar people. We call on them to defend their people and country’s democracy.
PEFC is extremely concerned about the recent developments in Myanmar. In response, it is seeking assurances from the Myanmar Forest Certification Committee (MFCC - the national member for PEFC in Myanmar) and the one PEFC chain of custody certified company in the country that the rights of workers and trade unions are not being infringed.
Ten Global Unions representing more than 200 million workers from across the world call on unions globally to ramp up pressure on governments and corporations to target the commercial interests of the Myanmar military junta.
BWI and EFBWWW, representing more than 12 million workers, including 2 million workers in the construction, woodworking and forestry across the world and in Europe, are calling on the European authorities and institutions to take immediate and urgent action to put pressure on Myanmar’s military junta and its commercial interests.
“The future is in implementation.” This was the consensus of the key actors pushing for labour reforms in Qatar at a forum hosted by BWI’s two-day Global Sports Conference on labour rights and the 2022 FIFA World Cup held November of last year.
Ensuring workers’ health and safety are core issues that trade unions consistently fight for. With the onslaught of the COVID-19 pandemic, there has been a growing and vocal clamour for a new way of working through strengthened health and safety measures at the workplaces.
Last year, BWI held a successful two-day Global Sports Conference on labour rights and the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The conference showcased exciting sessions that discussed various issues and concerns on migrant workers’ rights. One of these was a session that went over BWI’s cooperation with the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC) on labour rights in Qatar in the context of the World Cup 2020.
Trade union defence of democracy is fundamental. Trade unions require the oxygen of democracy if they are to flourish. If democracy is to live and thrive, trade unions will join with others to make that happen.
BWI condemns in the strongest possible terms the arrest of Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU) Chairperson Carol Ng and at least 50 other democracy activists under Hong Kong’s national security law (NSL).
As we start 2021, I take this opportunity to send best wishes to you for the New Year and reaffirm the commitment of BWI to global solidarity as we take on the challenges that are being carried forward from 2020 and the new ones that we will face in 2021.
On International Migrants Day, IOE and BWI publish a joint statement on the essential role of migrant workers during the pandemic and the need to provide greater social protection to them in these uncertain times.
The Building and Woodworkers International (BWI) and the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) are jointly commemorating International Migrant Workers Day on 18 December under the theme ‘We are all Migrants’.
BWI, as part of its long-standing sports and decent work campaign, has defended the rights and conditions of construction workers involved in building facilities for Olympic Games just as we have with FIFA facilitates.
After BWI’s Indian and Romanian trade union affiliates joined hands in helping six stranded Indian migrant workers in Romania, the said workers were finally repatriated and returned to their home state of Tamil Nadu on 16 November.
The Council of Global Unions (CGU) will discuss the latest human rights developments in the Philippines, especially with the issuance of the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) of the anti-worker Terror Law, and how unions can utilise international instruments to force the Duterte government to uphold and respect human and trade union rights.
BWI, through its General Secretary Ambet Yuson, joins its American trade union affiliates in celebrating their historic electoral victory, which it hopes will create ripples of positive change worldwide and build the ecessary momentum to defend democracy, promote gender equality and secure human and trade union rights against the spread of authoritarian populism.
As part of its contribution in analysing the migration flow in Europe before and during the COVID-19 pandemic, BWI released a discussion paper to identify the main migration trends in the region which would serve as guideposts for trade unions to pursue better policies to protect migrant workers’ rights.
"We may be observing physical distancing, but workers will never be distant from one another.” This was the statement issued by BWI Latin American and Carribean Representative Nilton Fretias after BWI-affiliated trade unions in the region released two series of “workers’ action bulletins” in August.
As Filipino workers mark Ferdinand Marcos’ declaration of Martial Law 48 years ago, Global Unions add their voices in opposing the draconian Anti-Terror Law an condemning the massive human rights abuses under the Duterte regime.
The CGU welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament (EP) of the “resolution on the situation in the Philippines, including the case of Maria Ressa”. The resolution provides examples of the degeneration of democracy, gross violations of human rights, and rampant violence and intimidation during the rule of President Duterte.
In another example of working class solidarity and cooperation, BWI’s trade union affiliates in India and Romania joined hands in working with authorities to help Indian migrant workers, who were reportedly stranded in the European state.
This was the message sent by BWI to all its affiliates, partners, allies and friends as it encouraged them to donate to the people of Beirut, especially its workers, who were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and a prolonged economic crisis that decimated millions of jobs, and recently, a social unrest that was triggered by the catastrophic Beirut explosion that injured and killed many people.
BWI, on behalf of its 12 million trade union members worldwide, and EFBWW, representing 2 million trade union members from 34 European countries, express their solidarity with the brave trade unionists and workers of Belarus who went on strike and organised different forms of democratic and peaceful actions to protest against the alleged massive electoral fraud in their country.
BWI welcomes landmark achievements in Qatar that were signed into law on 30 August 2020; introducing a minimum wage for migrant workers and allowing them to change jobs without requiring their employers’ permission to do so.
For more than 20 days people in Belarus have been protesting massive electoral fraud. Peaceful protestors have endured violence and repression and many have been arrested. Workers in Belarus joined the growing democratic movement and went on strike, organising protest actions to demand an end to the violence and new elections in the country.
With the COVID-19 pandemic worsening the plight of many Ukrainian migrant workers in EU countries, PROFBUD, the construction workers union of Ukraine held a multi-stakeholder conference on 19 August in Odessa to discuss and address the situation.
BWI, on behalf of its 12 million trade union members worldwide, expresses its full solidarity and support to Belarus’ brave trade unionists and workers who went on strike and launched massive peaceful actions to protest the alleged massive electoral fraud in their country.
To address the plight of millions of migrant workers who have been repatriated or are awaiting repatriation as a result of pandemic-induced unemployment, BWI endorsed the call of a coalition of civil society organisations (CSOs) and trade unions for an “urgent justice mechanism” to respond to the migrant crisis.
BWI denounces the American Peace Plan (Deal of the Century). It is an unwelcome intervention that is a departure from the rules and principles of international law and disregards internationally accepted processes.
Every year since joint inspections began in Qatar based on the memorandum of Understanding signed in late 2016 between BWI and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy of Qatar, established for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the Joint Working Group (JWG) has made a report.
Workers at Wendt Corporation, a plant based in Buffalo New York succeeded in winning their two-year fight for a collective bargaining agreement. The workers joined the Ironworkers Union (Local 576) in 2017 and they have been battling the management for its first contract. Finally, this past August the union and the management agreed to an agreement after nearly 60 sessions of negotiations. During the negotiations the Wendt management harassed union members and threatened to lay-off workers.
The global union federation BWI has today released a second report highlighting how Tokyo 2020 construction workers lives are still at risk, while rampant subcontracting is putting downward pressure on workers’ wages.
In June 2018, at the Holcim El Salvador plant in Metapán in the north of El Salvador, eight leaders from the first Board of Directors of SICCA [Union for the Cement Industry and Allied Workers] were dismissed the day after having presented the union to the Ministry of Labour.
Today, on the opening of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, the BWI and its 12 million members around the world express condolences to the families of the twenty-one construction workers who died during construction of World Cup stadiums.
On 5 June 2018, the Swiss National Compact Point (NCP) responsible for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises concluded its follow-up on the BWI complaint against FIFA that focused on the 2020 World Cup Games in Qatar.
For the first time, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) commemorated International Workers’ Memorial Day (IWMD) in Qatar by supporting the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA) 2nd National OSH Conference and participating in various site-level activities to raise awareness on safety and health.
Today, as the 2018 Winter Olympics begin in PyeongChang, South Korea, the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Unions (KFCITU) have released a joint report outlining violations of construction workers’ rights throughout the Olympic construction process.
A Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) delegation met this week with FIFA Secretary General Fatma Samba Diouf Samoura who was appointed by the FIFA Council at the 66th FIFA Congress in Mexico. Representing BWI were: Ambet Yuson, General Secretary; Johan Lindholm Byggnads, Sweden; Dietmar Schaefers, IG BAU, Germany; Pierre Cuppens, ACV-CSC, Belgium; Steinar Krogstad, Fellesforbundet, Norway; Gail Cartmail and Jim Kennedy, UNITE; UK.
The FIFA Human Rights Advisory Board which includes Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI met this week and issued the following statement:
We welcomed our first day and a half of substantive discussions with the FIFA Administration, including the Secretary-General, about FIFA’s human rights responsibilities. It was an important opportunity to establish a general understanding of FIFA’s human rights efforts to date, and it was a forthright and frank discussion.
The first joint inspections on 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar™ projects have been carried out by the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) and the Building and Wood Workers' International (BWI), the global trade union for construction workers.
According to the International Labour Organization there are over 150 million migrants in the global workforce. Migrant workers are essential part of the global economy and without them, entire economies would collapse.
On 2 June 2016, 15 members of the Tower Crane Operators Branch of the Korean Construction Workers Union (KCWU) affiliated to the Korean Federation of Construction Industry Trade Union (KFCITU), BWI’s affiliate in South Korea, were found guilty under the criminal charges of “blackmail” and “obstruction of business” for merely engaging in collective bargaining negotiations.