BWI general secretary reports on activities
"I am really proud that our unions have organised over 300 000 workers in the past four years and covered over 500 000 workers under our collective agreements. Many of these members are coming from developing countries." said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of he BWI in one of the videos summarizing his report on activities. "In Africa alone, we have recruited over 6000 women workers. So our members in the South are increasing. It is going to change the BWI." In addition he added: "BWI has been supporting its unions to organise at infrastructure projects like in Latin America which has been our growing region. The result is 100 000 construction workers joined the trade unions and there was a 20% increase in wages. The campaign Fair Games, Fair Play has changed the situation of construction workers in Brazil."
Of course his speech aslo delivered a strong message to congress on the youth issue. "BWI global youth festival brought together 400 young people from around the world. BWI wants to be the organisation of the young wood and construction workers. We want more young workers to join, more taking leadership positions and to be at the front line of the struggle because the agenda of the young workers is the agenda of the BWI.""
The report captured challenges, victories and major campaigns in the past four years. Were highlighted Swedwood (Danville) IKEA, ongoing World cup/ Sports campaign and ‘Without Us’ – migrant rights campaign. "Many of our members now are migrants, and as such bilateral agrement of cooperation on the issue are important. The Malaysian timber employees union is going to organise the Nepali workers working in Malaysia." A particular focus was made on the World Cup campaign targeting 2014 in Brazil, 2018 in Russia and 2022 in Qatar - “The BWI undertook a high level mission to Qatar to raise the problems of migrant workers with different stakeholders including FIFA. To further intensify our campaign in Qatar, the BWI has now established a South Asian Construction Workers Network and Support Group”
The global BWI activity report evoked positive responses. Khuntia, Vice President, Asia/Pacific remarked - “We thank the BWI for all the initiatives and intervention(s) to strengthen the union work globally to ensure that workers are central to all the political, economic and social changes taking place in the world including the Asia/Pacific region”.
Among other speakers, representative from Zenken Soren, Japan announced affiliation with the BWI from 01 January 2014. General-Secretary from Danish Electrical Union, Jørgen Juul Rasmussen mentioned formation of Global Power Trade Unions, a network of electrical unions and another speaker from Panama – Mendez sought solidarity of the affiliates on the difficult situation in Panama where trade union leaders have lost their lives in the unions’ struggle to uphold the rights of workers.