Philippine union’s COVID-19 relief leads to membership growth

The National Union of Building and Construction Workers' (NUBCW) efforts to distribute food packs to stranded construction workers in Manila due to the COVID-19 pandemic has gained it new union members. 

NUBCW, with help from BWI’s COVID-19 Solidarity Initiative , visited different worker accommodation barracks and delivered 350 food packs to construction workers abandoned by their employers and who have not received support from the government.

“Around a million construction workers across the country have been stranded by the lockdown, doubly punished by the lack of job security,” said NUBCW Secretary General Santiago Nolla.

Nolla said that many new members have joined their union, motivated by the assistance that they have extended and their health and safety awareness campaign. “Aside from our humanitarian assistance, we provided awareness on good health and safety practices to stop the spread of COVID-19, and ways to protect their rights and ensure labour standards,” he said.

 “Construction workers are some of the most vulnerable workers in the Philippines. We will rely heavily on the government’s national economic recovery strategy. As such, now is a crucial time to strengthen our organisation with new members and to sharpen our demands at the national level,” Nolla concluded.