Finland: Rakennusliitto holds 25th Congress, highlights international solidarity

At Rakennusliitto’s Congress on 11-13 May in Helsinki, Finland, an international seminar with the theme "Builders in Europe and around the World” highlighted the role of international solidarity in addressing the challenges and prospects of the trade union movement. BWI European affiliates were among the delegates present in the said event. 

The international seminar discussed various experiences such as the situation in Ukraine and the projects supported by the Trade Union Solidarity Centre (SASK) which aimed to protect the rights of migrant workers, as well as children working on construction sites around the world. The importance of trade union solidarity was shown in Mozambique’s climate situation following the floods and cyclones which forced  trade unions in the construction sector to adapt; and the impact of new forms of work on young people in Namibia.

The event also highlighted the slowdown in the construction industry, particularly the renovation and energy renovations which are lagging in the local government sector. In infrastructure, focus was demanded on roads, given the backlog on repairs. In this context, Rakennusliitto continues to put pressure on companies for them to assume their responsibilities while facing a shortage of skilled labour that led to the rise in the number of migrant workers. The union calls for more inspections and an extension on the scope of collective agreements.

The three-day event concluded with the election of Kimmo Palonen as the new president of the Finnish construction union replacing Matti Harjuniemi, who was the union’s president for almost 20 years and a member of BWI’s World Council for more than a decade. Concurrently, Jyrki Ojanen was elected as the union’s vice  president. BWI, who was represented by Acting Regional Representative, Geneviève Kalina, and Policy Director for Building Materials, Jasmin Redzepovic, congratulated the union for its successful congress.