BWI OnLine – March 09, 2010

Solidarity campaign Zimbabwe: ACT NOW! Arrest, Intimidation and Harassment of BWI affiliate GAPWUZ

“The BWI strongly condemns the continuing arrests, harassments and intimidation of trade unionists by your security forces, which in our opinion represent worst abuses of workers’ rights. We urge you to order the security forces to immediately and unconditionally release GAPWUZ officials that are currently under arrest in Zimbabwe and to ensure the return of any properties taken from their offices by your security personnel,” said BWI general secretary Ambet Yuson. In its message to the president and to the prime minister of Zimbabwe, BWI has condemned and strongly protested against the arrest, intimidation and harassment of its affiliate the General Agricultural and Plantation Workers of Zimbabwe – GAPWUZ.  

According to the information received by the BWI, on 19 February 2010, the General-Secretary of GAPWUZ, Gertrude Hambira, and members of her staff were summoned to Police General Headquarters from the Law and Order section at Harare Central Police station and arrested the GAPWUZ Assistant General Secretary Gift Muti and President Manjemanje Munyanyi. Also, the Police mounted a rigorous search in the offices of GAPWUZ looking for what they described as information contained on a video tape highlighting disturbances on Zimbabwean commercial farms, we are informed that Cde Muti was later released but Cde Munyanyi is still in Police custody.  

“The arrests of trade unionists and the raiding of union offices are in contravention with ILO convention Nos. 87 and 98. These two instruments, which Zimbabwe has ratified, call for States Parties to ensure respect for the freedom and security of persons, freedom from arbitrary arrest and detention, protection against acts of interference, freedom of opinion and expression, the right to provide information through the media and the right to protection of the properties of trade union organisations” added Ambet Yuson.  

The BWI will continue to monitor the situation. Please take two minutes to sign our solidarity campaign! 

Solidarity campaign: ACT NOW! The EU reaches trade deal with Colombia

“The European Union reached a free trade deal with Colombia and Peru on 1st of March 2010 that will fully liberalise commerce in some sectors between the 27-country bloc and the two Latin American nations. The deal is part of an effort by the EU to reach a free trade agreement with the Andean Group of countries. In such a context BWI will continue to raise concerns on the issue of human and trade union rights for Colombian civilians,” said Ambet Yuson, general secretary of the BWI. “We cannot tolerate that Colombia remains the most dangerous country for trade unionists in the world where murderers profit from impunity.” Take two minutes to sign the online protest message addressed to two german deputies of the European Parliament in the frame of IG Bau’s campaign.  

The deal follows nine rounds of talks. It must be initialled by the parties possibly at an EU-Latin America summit to be held in May in Madrid before being voted into law by parliament.  The agreement will provide new market access to exporters from both sides and includes manufactured products, agricultural goods, services and investment.  

The EU is the second-largest trading partner of the Andean region after the United States, with total trade worth nearly 18 billion euros ($24.3 billion) in 2008.  
For further information on IG Bau’s campaign see here. 

Chilean workers need your support now!

BWI has now re-established contact with its affiliates in Chile. Information received from the CTF, Confederation of Forestry Workers, is that the head office of the union, in Concepcion, has been destroyed by the effects of the earthquake. This city was the closest to the epicenter of Sunday’s earthquake. The leadership of the union, Sergio Gatica and Jorge Gonzalez and their families, have survived the earthquake.

We have also re-established contact with our affiliated unions in the construction industry. They also report widespread damage throughout their network of regional and local offices.

It is so far unclear exactly how many forestry, wood and construction workers were fatal victims of the quake and the ensuing tsunami. The geography of the central region of the country is a long narrow coastal strip where the major roads and rail infra-structure is located and where a great deal of damage has been sustained.

Employment in the wood and forestry is apparently very hard hit, with major companies reporting a halt in production. Reports expect some time to pass before normal activities are fully resumed.

BWI is sending some immediate aid to its affiliates in Chile, which is aimed at providing humanitarian relief in order help provide some basic needs for union members. However, as Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary said: “we are now appealing to our affiliates around the world to come to the support of our colleagues and in Chile.”

In a second phase of support, efforts will be directed to re-building the unions’ own infrastructure.

BWI will provide updates on the developing situation in the country as these become available.

We are calling on you to provide support which will be forwarded to our affiliated unions in Chile. Contributions can be sent to the following account and BWI will ensure that this is transferred to support our affiliates and their members and will be used in a second phase, to assist trade unions to re-build the vital infra-structure that they lack today. Please mark your contributions: “SOLIDARITY CHILE”

Bank details:

6-8 Place Longemalle
1204 Genève


54, route des Acacias,
CH – 1227 Carouge

For Swiss Francs:
No 246606.290190-6 (CHF)
IBAN CH41 0844 0246 6062 9019 0

For US Dollars:
No 246606.310090-7 (USD)
IBAN CH24 0844 0246 6063 1009 0

For Euros:
No 246606.310290-0 (EUR)
IBAN CH56 0844 0246 6063 1029 0



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