South Asia: BWI unions mark Decent Work Day

Under the theme “Decent Work. Better Future,” BWI affiliates in Bangladesh, India and Nepal marked this year’s World Day for Decent Work last 7 October with various trade union activities.  

In Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Building and Wood Workers’ Federation (BBWWF), Dhaka Metro Workers, Bangladesh Sanjukta Building and Wood Workers’ Federation (BSBWWF) and Palli Bidyut Sramik Kormachari League (PBSKL) led this year’s Decent Work Day campaign by launching awareness-raising and interactive learning sessions among workers. 

In Nepal, the BWI-Nepal Affiliates Committee (BWI-NAC), composed of the Central Union of Painters, Plumbers, Electro and Construction Workers of Nepal (CUPPEC), the Construction and Allied Workers Union on Nepal (CAWUN) and the All Nepal Construction Workers Union (ANCWU) included discussions on decent work in their cadre and membership training and awareness courses.

Meanwhile, in India, a number of trade unions participated in the global campaign for decent work. The Rural Workers’ Organisation (RWO), the Construction Labour Union (CLU), Hind Khet Mazdoor Panchayat (HKMP), Bhatta Mazdoor Sabha, (BMS), the Indian National Building, Construction, Forest and Wood Workers’ Federation (INBCFWWF), the Nikhila Odisha Bidyut Sramik Mahasangha (NOBSM), the Orissa Forest & Minor Forest Produce Workers Union (OFMFPWU), the Kerala Kettida Nirmana Thozhilali Congress (KKNTC), Nirman Mazdoor Panchayat Sangam (NMPS), Delhi and Uttar Pradesh Gramin Mazdoor Sangathan (UPGMS) held numerous events in the states of Tamil Nadu, Bihar, Punjab, Odisha, Kerala, Delhi and Uttar Pradesh.   

In Tamil Nadu, a construction sector dialogue was organised by the Thamizhaga Kattida Thozhilalargal Mathiya Sangam (TKTMS) to look into the implementation of key laws covering construction workers, particularly on decent work and social protection amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It was attended by key office bearers and representatives from the Builders Association of India (BAI), Construction and Real Estate Industry Coalition (CRIC) and India’s largest construction company, Larsen & Toubro. 

A youth-led week-long campaign was also launched by the Maharashtra Building Construction Forest and Wood Workers’ Union (MBCFWU) from 30 September to 7 October. 

Tamilnadu Congress Workers’ Union (TCTU) Acting President Dr. Bhuvaneshwari Nanjappan explained that decent work is about fair wages and working hours, gender equality in workplaces and social security. 

“Unions should ensure that decent work for all is realised, especially among informal workers who comprise 95 percent of the labour force,” Nanjappan said.