BWI OnLine – February 11, 2010

Ten Priorities for the BWI in 2010!

After a debrief meeting about congress to enhance performance, the BWI workshop including headquarters and regional staff looked at ten priorities for 2010. Among the priorities, Multinationals (MNCs), Organising IFIs projects and other public works, Migration, Wood and Forestry, Sports campaign, Green construction, Women and youth, Communication, Building global and regional capacity, and Financial sustainability.

The workshop pointed at the importance of a coordinated action on the monitoring of international framework agreements at global level and MNCs at regional level. On IFIs, the regions will carry out a mapping exercise of World Bank-IFC projects in order to target one project on organising for each region.

The workshop also stressed the need for the organisation to look at migration flows from a global perspective. We will develop our work in Africa/Middle East and Latin America/Caribbean and continue in Asia and Europe.

On wood and forestry, we will further develop our work on organising MNCs and campaign on chain of custody. There will be a Global Forestry conference at the end of the year.

The BWI will also formulate a clear communication strategy and engage in two global campaigns, one on migration in December 2010 and the other on sports. The Sports campaign will target the World Cup in South Africa, the Commonwealth Games 2010 in India, Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland, and WC 2014 Brazil. In addition, the BWI will launch the “Voices of women from BWI sectors” on international women’s day and organise a campaign around the international youth day on 12 August.

The International will write a policy paper on green construction and map out different activities in order to prepare for the global conference in 2011.

The general secretary supports training and the idea of setting up new tools to build the global capacity of the staff.

Finally, the organisation will look into its financial sustainability and establish a 10 year plan taking into consideration increase in affiliation fees and costs in the region.

The workshop was held in Chexbres Switzerland from 2 to 4 February 2010.

Affiliates Are Invited to Submit Their Films for Night of Labour Shorts Festival in Geneva

To promote the development of trade union films, the International Metalworkers’ Federation, in collaboration with the Global Unions, is hosting the 4th Annual Geneva Labour Film Shorts Festival in Geneva, Switzerland. Affiliates are invited to submit copies of short films that they have produced or been involved in producing on union and worker responses to the global financial crisis and climate change. Films need to be submitted to the BWI by no later than 15 February 2010.

Please send copies of your films on DVD with a short paragraph describing the film, why it was produced and how it was used. We will need unfettered rights to show the film and publish it online, of course with full acknowledgement of who created the material. Due to resource constraints for interpretation, we are only able to accept films in English language or with English subtitles. For more information contact Toni Mast from the BWI

For the first time ever, LabourStart is sponsoring a Labour Video of the Year competition. Videos submitted to this competition must be on the web, and less than 10 minutes long. They must focus primarily on work, workers or worker’s issues. Please submit your nominations to before midnight GMT on 15 February 2010.  Find out more about labour film festivals around the world by clicking here

Southern India:  TKTMS Helps in Setting Up A Construction Academy in Tamil Nadu 

The Construction Workers’ Welfare Board in Tamil Nadu has for the very first time set up a Construction Academy to strengthen and develop the construction industry in the State. The proposed Construction Academy is set to come up on 50 Acres of land in the Kancheepuram district with a total cost outlay of about 50 Crore Rupees (more than USD 10 million) and shall work towards enhancing workers skills, upgrading building technology and additionally imparting training to the interested youth from families of the members registered with the Construction Workers’ Welfare Board. The announcement to this effect was made by the Chairman of the Board, Pon Kumar, who is also the President of TKTMS, an affiliate of BWI and also constituent of the TCWF – State federation of seven BWI affiliated unions.

This development is especially significant in the light of the findings of the BWI sponsored study on construction workers in the metropolitan area of Chennai (the State capital) revealing that an overwhelming majority of the construction workers do not have any formal training. The training is expected to not only address Occupational Health and Safety issues but will also help improve the wages of the workers as a result of enhanced skills. This welcome move will thus benefit more than 2 million construction workers in the State currently registered with the Construction Workers’ Welfare Board.

The Night of Labour Shorts Festival will be held in Geneva on 15 June 2010.

Italy:  New General Secretary for Feneal Uil 

Workers are still reeling from the most severe economic crisis. Feneal Uil is mobilizing and campaigning the Italian government to ensure that recovery programmes address workers needs. According to Antonio Correale the newly elected general secretary of Feneal Uil “There is a need to engage immediately in a tripartite dialogue in order to reinstate security in the country after the earthquake and to create work remembering the tragedies occurred in our beautiful but devastated country.” Around 600 delegates and guests attended the event in Sicily Italy from 27 to 29 January 2010.

“Eight out of ten communes in our country are confronted to seismic risk or in precarious conditions. We need to put our energy for the 157 thousand jobs lost in the construction industry in 2009 only.”, added Correale known as Tonino, the former national organising secretary of Feneal, who began working for the union movement in Naples during the difficult years of reconstruction after the earthquake.

“Feneal Uil is a strong and reliable member of our family and an example of an organisation that takes a pro-active position in many areas of union work such as in health and safety and professional training.” said BWI Assistant General Secretary, Marion Hellmann, who addressed the congress on behalf of BWI.

Tonino Correale replaces Feneral Uil’s former general secretary Giuseppe Moretti.

India:  BWI Unions Tell Quebec Premier Mr. Charest:  Asbestos?  No Thanks!!! 

Trade unions and human rights activists have urged Quebec’s Premier to stop shipping chrysotile asbestos to India when his own government is spending millions of dollars to remove chrysotile asbestos from Quebec’s schools, hospitals and buildings.

Today, more than 150 members of BWI affiliates – Delhi Asangathit Nirman Mazdoor Sangathan (DANMU); Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam (NMPS) and Mahanagar Asangathit Mazdoor Sangathan (MAMU) assembled in front of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) in the Indian capital, New Delhi to register their protest with the Quebec Premier’s trade delegation and urged to halt asbestos trade.

The union activists carried banners and placards, and distributed informative material on the hazards of Asbestos (both in English and local language) among the public. Finally, the Quebec delegation was forced to pay heed to the protest, and a representative met the unions in the presence of police officers. A letter addressed to Premier Charest, and jointly endorsed by numerous organizations, was handed over.

Following the demonstration, the action shifted to the press conference, which was co-organized by BWI, Occupational and Environmental Health Network of India, New Trade Union Initiative (NTUI) and the Ban Asbestos Network of India. Representatives from both print and visual media attended the event and were provided with detailed information kits on the hazards of Asbestos. All speakers in consonance called upon Prime Minister of India and Quebec’s Premier to stand up to the powerful asbestos industry in both countries which is spending millions of dollars to intimidate and silence workers, doctors, scientists and activists who are all for banning asbestos.

Victims of asbestos related diseases, who are dying a slow death with no legal and medical remedy in sight, narrated their painful sufferings from the incurable and fatal illnesses.

Later in the evening,the BWI led delegation met with the Quebec media and a strong message on their government’s double standard on Asbestos trade was conveyed. It was reasserted that Quebec’s own health experts have told Premier Charest that it is impossible to manage chrysotile asbestos safely. The delegation unitedly appealed to Premier Charest to respect Canada’s great human rights record and to put people before profits.

(Quebec’s Premier is on a whirlwind tour to India with a big trade delegation)