BWI OnLine – January 12, 2010

BWI Moving Forward in 2010

The past year was one of economic turmoil and instability. The international trade union movement responded quickly and effectively to address the enormous difficulties faced by millions of workers who were basically victims of corporate mismanagement. Although we have yet to fully recover from the financial crisis, we enter 2010 with the energy, unity, and momentum garnered from the 2nd BWI World Congress held this past December in Lille, France.

At the Congress, we unveiled a strategic plan that outlined our road to recovery, to rebuild, and our road to move forward. We will start 2010 with some initial campaigns on addressing the economic crisis, organizing multinational corporations, climate change, migration, trade unions rights, and youth.

Millions of workers are still reeling from the most severe economic crisis. In 2010, BWI with solid leadership will campaign in coordination with the Global Unions for international financial institutions to implement effective financial regulatory mechanisms to ensure a democratic global governance of the international market. BWI affiliates should mobilize and campaign their national government to ensure that workers issues are included in economic development and recovery programs as well as all forms of stimulus packages. These recovery programs should also address the specific concerns of women workers who due to their historical marginalization are one of the most vulnerable in times of economic crisis.

Despite the efforts of trade unions, and broader civil society groups at the recent COP 15 in Copenhagen, governments failed to reach a legally binding agreement to succeed or complement the Kyoto Protocol. In 2010, with strong tenacity we will campaign for the international trade union movement to push governments to not only formulate a binding agreement but more importantly implement policies and programs that will ensure sustainable development, decent work, and just transition. BWI affiliates should advocate and dialogue with national governments to implement programs in upgrading energy effectiveness and renovation of existing buildings, develop vocational trainings programs linking the new technology with creation of jobs for workers in transition both in the construction and forestry sector, and advocate for inclusive sustainable forest management policies from the nursery to the finished product.

Globalization has resulted in uneven global economic grown and phenomenal increase in transnational migration, particularly in our sectors. In 2010, with self-assurance we will institute a Global Campaign on Migrant Workers Rights that will push for a rights-based approach to labour migration internationally and regionally as well integrate migrant workers rights in International Framework Agreements and promotion of Corporate Social Responsibility. The Global Campaign will supplement and support the work of BWI affiliates developing and implementing organizing campaigns focused on migrant workers, advocating and promoting the rights of migrant workers, and providing much needed services to migrant workers.

While workers are restricted from borders, multinational corporations are not. In the same way we follow workers, we will follow multinational corporations and continue our organizing campaigns. In 2010 BWI with incredible zeal will continue to campaign for the implementation of International Framework Agreements (IFAs) to organize workers. BWI affiliates should utilize the IFAs as a tool for organizing and incorporate it in their overall organizing campaigns.

Every day workers are harassed, fired, jailed, and some are even killed for exercising their fundamental right to organize. In 2010 BWI with great bravery will campaign to defend and promote trade union rights and further demonstrate the positive “Union Effect” in achieving sustainable development and decent work. BWI affiliates should continue to actively participate in our solidarity campaigns.

Today young workers need trade unions more than ever as they find themselves employed in non-permanent, temporary work that often barely pays living wage and with no or minimal benefits. In 2010 BWI with daring passion will campaign to commit resources and develop focused organizing campaigns aimed at organizing young workers.

Leadership, tenacity, self-assurance, zeal, bravery, and passion are all qualities of the tiger and according to the lunar calendar, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger. These are all qualities that BWI and its affiliates will need to adopt to ensure that we are successful in the initial campaigns that will move our strategic plan forward.

Ambet Yuson
BWI General Secretary

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