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18 May 2017

Road to Durban: BWI World Board Nominates Ambet Yuson as General Secretary and Endorses 4-year Strategic Plan

The BWI held its World Board on 10 May 2017 receiving affiliates from all over the world in Geneva, Switzerland. Representatives of the Presidium, Auditors, Titular members of the World Board, observers, and invited guests from Australia and the United States discussed issues on the political situation in various parts of the world and the challenges facing trade unions and working families. Ambet Yuson, General Secretary of BWI stated: “We are pleased to gather today to share the achievements of the last six months and prepare for our Fourth World Congress in Durban.”

The World Board nominated Ambet Yuson as General Secretary of BWI to lead the Global Union Federation (GUF) for next term period starting 2018. Supporting the nomination Fatimah Mohammad, Chair of the BWI International Women’s Committee praised Yuson’s work in mainstreaming gender issues in BWI and highlighting the role of women leaders within BWI. This was reiterated by Rita Schiavi from UNIA of Switzerland. Piet Matosa, Vice-President for Africa and Middle East and representing National Union of Mine Workers of South Africa and John Alexander, Vice-President of Asia Pacific and President of CETWUF of Fiji announced the unanimous support of BWI affiliates in their respective regions for Yuson to continue as General Secretary.

The 2018-2022 Strategic Plan was also endorsed by the World Board. Johan Lindholm, President of Byggnads and Chair of the Strategic Working Group presented the main points of the plan. He also stated: "We are living today the same struggles that we had 50 years ago, we need more justice, more equality and more solidarity. We have to welcome workers from other countries who are building our houses. The new seven priorities contribute to strengthening our work."

The new Strategic Plan will consolidate the ten existing priorities into seven priorities, called "Convergence" synthesized in:

  • rights for all,
  • safe work,
  • youth,
  • gender equality,
  • sustainable industries,
  • fair games and
  • a focus on organizing within value chains.

    These important priorities together with conferences on innovative trade unionism will be discussed at the 4th BWI World Congress to be held in Durban, South Africa from November 29 to December 1.

    In addition, the World Board welcomed the presence of Kenneth Rigmaiden, Andrew Larson and Terry Nelson from the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) from North America. Kenneth Rigmaiden, President of the IUPAT, underlined the importance of BWI in building global solidarity. He shared the state of challenges trade unions in the United Stated are facing under the Presidency of Donald Trump but concluded with innovative ideas that his union will focus in the coming years such as education apprenticeships, community organizing, protecting the environment and fighting inequality.