BWI releases global COVID-19 report, pushes for a 5-point recovery agenda

BWI released on Wednesday a one year global report on the responses of its trade union affiliates to COVID-19. 

Titled “BWI@Work: Trade Union Responses to the COVID-19 Pandemic,” the report documented the extraordinary work of BWI affiliates in the time of a pandemic, presented their various initiative and outcomes, and shared good practices that other unions can emulate. It covered the areas of employment and wages, occupational health and safety, and migrant workers’ protection. 

BWI President Per-Olof Sjöö called the report an “extraordinary compendium of extraordinary trade union work in the middle of an unprecedented global crisis.”

Meanwhile, BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson thanked all their affiliates and solidarity support partners for their valuable contributions and assistance, which he said enabled them to continue their essential trade union work. 

“By documenting BWI’s various and innovative COVID-19 efforts worldwide, we hope to share our best practices to nurture a learning environment, identify and fill knowledge gaps, and inspire other trade unions to do the same. This is our humble offering in the fight against this pandemic,” Yuson remarked.     

The report narrated how BWI and its affiliates acted quickly to engage governments and employers to ensure the protection of workers in terms of health and safety as well as in the economic downturn. It also presented how BWI’s most vulnerable affiliates, including migrant workers, have been extended much-needed relief and assistance through its “COVID-19 Solidarity Fund Initiative.” 

The global report covered a 12-month period and release in March 2021 which coincided with the first anniversary of the first COVID-19 lockdowns in Europe and the declaration of a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). 

Before this, BWI issued five (5) regional reports over the period of April to May 2020 to provide affiliates an initial picture of the fast-evolving global health crisis and an array of options of initiatives they can pursue to protect their members from COVID-19. 

The report also presented BWI’s pandemic recovery agenda. It called on governments to do the following:

  1. Public investment on labour intensive work such as infrastructure, roads, housing projects, schools, health care facilities;
  2. Transition to a greener and cleaner economy to reduce carbon emissions and ensure a just transition for workers through retraining and employment support programmes; 
  3. Decent, safe, green and union jobs committed to ILO Conventions and recognise occupational health and safety as a fundamental right; 
  4. Social inclusion through equity measures to address discrimination in employment faced by women, migrant workers, young workers and other vulnerable groups;
  5. Ensure respect for workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining, and encourage meaningful social dialogue on all economic and social recovery plans. 

 Full report in EN.