BWI Message on the 2022 International Labour Day


In a video message, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson said that workers have never made progress or achieved justice through gifts from high, from charity or the benevolence of employers and governments. He said that all of the rights and benefits enjoyed by working people today are the direct results of workers' struggles as expressed through their trade union organisations. 

BWI asserts that without trade unions, workers don't have unity. Without unity, there is no power. And without power, the workers can't rewrite their future. 

As we mark this year's International Labour Day, BWI reminds everyone of the important role played by trade unions in fighting for social change, and just and lasting peace. In the struggle to defeat organised oppression and tyranny, the organisation of trade unions is our most vital weapon.

Watch the video here.  

Read the full message below:

The great American labour and civil rights leader, A Philip Randolph said, "At the banquet table of nature, there are no reserved seats. You get what you can take, and you keep what you can hold. 

If you can't take anything, you won't get anything, and if you can't hold anything, you won't keep anything. And you can't take anything without organization."

Workers have never made progress or achieved justice through gifts from on high, from charity, or from the kindness of strangers.  They have only overcome fear, won respect for their rights, and obtained a voice through organization. 

We are going through trying times. For many, COVID 19 brought a pandemic of loneliness. It boosted violence against women and hatred, manipulation, and polarisation. 

Meanwhile, on the political and human rights front, it seemed as if dictators were on the march while elected leaders were shaking in their boots. 

May Day, the workers’ holiday, is also a celebration of those who resist. Look at the Ukrainians, When they didn’t welcome Putin’s invasion with open arms, -- civilians were targeted with bombs, shells, and mines. Their fight in the face of atrocities has earned the respect and admiration of the world. 

Look at the courageous people of Myanmar who refused to give up and give in, this time to a home-grown tyrant, despite civilian massacres. 

Workers and their Trade unions are in the front lines of the struggle for democracy nationally and globally, / often with young and female leaders who came forward to resist and overcome. 

The fight for democracy and free trade unionism has always been one and the same fight. 

The Ukrainian resistance in the heart of Europe is inspiring. It has become more important to defend human life than Capital. This new-found wisdom needs to last and spread to the rest of the world. 

Trade unions are about freedom, but we are also about justice and peace. It is not, however, the peace of the graveyard that we seek. Real peace does not come from the suppression of conflict, but rather from its resolution. Lasting peace can only be based upon social justice. It is outrage at injustice that can make fear vanish. It is hope that can dissolve desperation. It is light that lifts the darkness. It is workers, who create all wealth, and together, in their unions, hold the lever to move the world.