BWI - Building and Wood Worker's International

02/04/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 02/04/2020 17:07

BWI actions are highlighted in the GFMD in Quito

In 2017, STICC POA provided a check of almost two thousand dollars (about 115 thousand gourdes, the local currency) to FENATCO, Haiti. The amount was for six months of contributions from Haitian workers affiliated to STICC POA in Brazil.

The actions of the BWI affiliate in Brazil, the Union of Construction Industry Workers of Porto Alegre (STICC) to migrant workers include:

  • Requiring an employment contract written in the language of the foreign worker;

  • Translating the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA);

  • Sharing part of the immigrant workers' union fees with the union of the country of origin;

  • Hiring a foreign employee for Union staff to assist foreign members; and

  • Integrating the foreign worker in Brazilian union life.

These are among the contributions of STICC, chaired by Gelson Santana, who also serves on the BWI Working Group on Migration.

This experience was discussed at the Civil Society meeting in the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which was held in Quito, Ecuador from January 20 to 25, 2020. The meeting was attended by about 1,500 representatives of governments, civil society, the private sector and local authorities from about 150 countries. The BWI delegation included Julius Cainglet, FFW, Philippines; Pusuluri Narayana Swami, PMLU, India and Nilton Freitas, BWI Latin America and Caribbean Region.

BWI action with migrant workers in Qatar, Philippines, Dominican Republic and other countries was presented and discussed at the Forum's Civil Society Day. According to Gelson Santana, the union has an important role to play in protecting and integrating migrant workers, 'our Union is concerned with the working and living conditions of Haitian and Senegalese immigrants in Porto Alegre. By protecting migrant workers from exploitation, we also protect workers and the people of Rio Grande do Sul, who will maintain and improve their working and living conditions and prevent a degradation of conditions that would affect everyone.

With BWI facilitation, STICC POA signed an International Cooperation Agreement with the National Federation of Construction Workers (FENATCO) in Haiti. The Agreement foresees, among other actions, giving part of collected union contributions from Haitian members of STICC to FENATCO. Those funds will help the union develop training and certification of its members on the Caribbean island.