BWI – April 03, 2009

The Global Union movement urges world leaders to tackle the global jobs crisis

The G20 meeting in London 2 April 2009 presented a joint commitment to put in place a much tighter regulation of banking and finance, demanded by trade unions for several years, and a package of more than $ 1000 billion to the IMF to fight the global financial recession.

In connection with the G20 in London and the G 8 “social summit” for Labour Ministers in Rome, Global Unions presented joint demands on world leaders to give top priority to the urgent need to tackle the huge crisis in employment caused by the financial crisis. A publication ” Getting the World to WORK” has been published including these demands. We encourage you to download the Publication at the Global Union website here.

Global Union demands on a “Global Action Plan for Jobs” presented in Rome, include proposals on public expenditure targeted at employment, especially infrastructure investment programmes. Anita Normark, BWI General Secretary, participating in the meeting said that the construction sector being the largest industrial employer globally, has been one of the hardest hit by the crisis, but can play an important and positive role to stimulate employment and demand growth. “The crisis was preceded by a construction boom, where many companies and public and private clients unfortunately cut costs by using migrant workers from all over the world, often badly paid and treated, and now sent home to their countries of origin. This has had a bad impact on the industry itself, on the quality of construction, working conditions and now on the lack of skilled workers and has made the industry much less attractive for young people. This means that much more public money has to go into skills training programmes in construction, programmes that have to be developed and managed together with social partners. When public stimulus money is going into infrastructure a much tighter control of quality and decent working conditions has to be carried out by using good procurement processes.”

In the Global Union response to the crisis it is also stated that there has never been a better time to launch the “Green New deal” called for by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and supported by Labour Ministers at the last meeting in Niigata, Japan 2008. Construction also has the potential to make a significant contribution to environmental sustainability because of the demands it excerts on global resources. The industry accounts for one-sixth of global fresh water consumption, one-quarter of global wood consumption and two-fifths of global material and energy flows, and almost one quarter of ozone depleting gases come from air-conditioning units in buildings. Apart from global resource consumption, the industry also generates waste on a scale that dwarfs most other scenarios. Forestry has the unique characteristic of being able to lock down carbon from the atmosphere and make a major contribution to mitigating climate change. When sustainably managed and harvested, forestry can also greatly reduce poverty in far-flung rural areas and provide a steady, sustainable source of raw materials to downstream industries where millions of workers can be employed, providing that environmental sustainability is given an equally important footing with social sustainability. Well-trained forestry workers who have decent jobs are on the front line as guardians of one of the earth’s most abundant and renewable resources, its forests.

Canadian Affiliate Launches Safety Network for Forest Workers

The newly-launched Forest Workers Safety Network (FWSN) is an initiative of the United Steelworkers (USW) union, which represents over 20,000 forest workers in the province of British Columbia. It is available to all workers, whether or not they are members of the union.
The network’s website will be the main communications vehicle to reach out to forest workers. A pilot project initiative will focus on safety issues affecting Coastal loggers and other woodlands employees.

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