Gender, climate and workplace safety are intersectional—unions
BWI southern Africa affiliates in the construction sector from Mauritius met online on 11-12 September and discussed “critical intersections” between the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention No. 190 on Violence and Harassment in Workplaces and climate change. The event, attended by CMWEU from Namibia, MANWU of South Africa, Zambia’s BCAWU and CLAWUZ and ZCATWU from Zimbabwe, and in partnership with 3F, gathered 27 participants, majority of whom are women and youn people.
Kudzai Chireka, a labour and gender consultant with vast experience on trade union matters, imparted knowledge on the intersectionality of gender, climate change, and occupational health and safety. She provided BWI affiliates with practical knowledge and strategies on how to include gender and climate change-sensitive issues in occupational health and safety (OHS) policies and collective bargaining agreements (CBAs).
A presentation on the accountability and reporting mechanisms of the ILO was delivered by Amanda Mejía-Cañadas, an ILO International Labour Standards and Labour Law Specialist. Amanda also addressed specific cases of labour violations in Zimbabwe and Namibia and advised the affiliates based in those countries appropriately.
The meeting reminded trade unions that they a have a “seat at the table” in promoting the rights and welfare of their members. The participants reflected on their 2022-2023 achievements and committed themselves to keep pushing for improved work standards in Southern Africa’s construction industry.