A workshop was organised in hybrid mode by the Building and Wood Workers International (BWI, Global Union Federation) on ‘Organised Value Chains in Chinese MNCs’ from November 17 to 19.
More than 60 trade unionists from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, Australia and South Korea shared the challenges and also trade unions’ interventions at the Chinese MNCs sites vis-à-vis labour violations that pertained to working conditions, working hours, overtime, wages, social security, paid leaves and occupational health and safety.
A number of action points were deliberated including collective actions, networking, case filings, compliance to national laws, ILO core labour standards, invoking International Financial Institutions (IFIs) accountability mechanisms, social dialogue and also pushing for recognition of Covid-19 as occupational disease.
National vice president INTUC and BWI Indian Affiliates Council Chair former MP Dr Rama Chandra Khuntia delivered closing remarks where he voiced concerns on the expanding footprints of Chinese MNCs and undermining of trade unions and workers’ rights in their operations.
Dr Khuntia noted that in countries where there are strong institutions and strong trade unions Chinese MNCs tend to comply with laws and honour labour standards. On behalf of the federation, he assured the trade union leaders from the Asia Pacific region of all support and cooperation to push for a decent work culture at the Chinese MNCs.
The other key speakers at the three-days event included Dave Noonan (Australia), Chair of BWI AP Regional Committee, Tos Anonuevo (Switzerland), BWI Educational Secretary, Apolinar Tolentino (Malaysia), BWI Regional Representative, Asia Pacific, Dr Rajeev Sharma and Prerna Prasad (India), BWI South Asia Office.