UNION’s, make it possible!

BWI 4th World Congress 2017
Durban, South Africa

by: Ricardo Sia

Amidst these crises and turbulent times…

BWI remained unfazed while reinventing its strategies to meet the problems and challenges generated by the economic, social and political instability that pervades Europe.

BWI has placed priority to bring back the power of unions through aggressive organizing…

To bring back the unions closer to the members through reorganization of Trade Union structures…

And to bring back the trust and confidence of workers to trade unions through meaningful campaigns.

This platform became key, for BWI in effectively engaging the urgent social issues…

Like exploitation, unemployment, repression, poverty, hunger and the struggle against social dumping and betterment of wage.

In 2016, a significant victory was accomplished by BWI and RBWU affiliates and the FIFA-Local Organizing Committee, when it signed a Memorandum of Understanding that provides for a joint safety inspection for the 2018 World Cup Sites in Russia.

BWI unions have also sought to ensure FIFA is complying with national minimum standards. Since then, ten inspections have taken place.

Also in Russia, BWI and the Russian Timber Union worked together to organize the workers at the IKEA plant in Tikhvin, resulting into creation of a core network of worker-activist who are leading the struggle for trade union recognition.

In Germany, more than 200 thousand workers marched the streets in Berlin where BWI together with IGBAU protested the TRANS-ATLANTIC TRADE and INVESTMENT PARTNERSHIP.

In Ukraine, the BUILDING WORKERS Trade Union, after years of negotiation finally signed a National CBA in August 2017 increasing the wage of several hundred thousands of workers in construction and building sectors.

Likewise, BWI affiliates in Montenegro, Serbia, Bosnia, and Herzegovia were successful in their CBAs.

When Holcim and LaFarge, and Heidelberg Cement and Italcementi as well, BWI took actions on protecting workers’ rights.

In 2015, the campaign “Holcim-Lafarge No Merger Without Workers’ Rights” was launched and global action days followed. These campaigns resulted in forcing the cement giants into negotiation for an I-F-A.

The TURKISH UNION OF ROAD, CONSTRUCTION and BUILDING WORKERS of Turkey, in 2016, campaigned successfully which resulted in granting permanent employment status to around 12,000 subcontracted workers at the General Directorate for Highways.

This year, the BWI affiliates in Pan Europe organized in 14 countries concluded 33 activities around the International Workers’ Memorial Day on April 28 as part of the BWI campaign with the theme of “UNIONS MAKE WORK SAFER”.

Now, forward ever and with abounding experiences learned from the tumultuous last decade, BWI goes headstrong to engage the coming challenges that will come its way.


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