Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) passed a resolution in its world congress this month in support of the democracy movement in Hong Kong. BWI is a global union federation representing 12 million building and wood workers around the world.
The resolution, titled “Solidarity with Hong Kong People’s Struggle to Defend Freedom and Democracy“, urged the Hong Kong government to scrap Hong Kong National Security Law (NSL), release all union leaders immediately and unconditionally, and cease all political suppressions on civil society organisations, including independent trade unions.
The BWI World Congress was held on October 5 in Madrid, Spain. 750 union representatives around the world attended the congress. In his opening remarks, Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary, paid speical tribute to the courageous trade unionists from Hong Kong, Myanmar and Ukraine.
I also want to recognise our courageous trade unionists who have put their lives on the line for freedom and democracy. Let’s show them our solidarity for their fight for democracy, peace and freedom in Ukraine, Myanmar and Hong Kong.Ambet Yuson, BWI General Secretary
The resolution from BWI underlined a significant number of trade unions disbanded since the implementation of the NSL. The largest sectoral trade union, the Hong Kong Professional Teachers’ Union, and the only democratic and independent trade unions Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions (HKCTU), for example, were forced to dissolved or cease operations, along with other independents trade unions.
The resolution further stated that the Hong Kong authorities cancelled the registration of the General Union of Hong Kong Speech Therapists and arrested its members. It also underscored the plights of trade union leader who have been imprisoned for their participation of peaceful assemblies and political events.
The resolution condemned the persistent suppression on the independent trade union movement and political prosecutions of union leaders under the pretext of “national security”, which contravened international human and labour rights laws and standards. It called on the HKSAR Government to observe core international labour standards, including the International Labour Organization (ILO) principles of freedom of association and ILO Convention C087, which is applicable to Hong Kong.
BWI pledged to continue to mobilise its affiliates, build support, and express solidarity to those who lost their freedom in defending human rights and freedom. Trade unionists and workers will fight until democracy is fully restored in Hong Kong.