BWI Building and Wood Workers’ International YOL-IS CONGRESS: the struggle for bread, peace, and freedom continues

24 Feb 2019 Ferado

The Turkish Road, Building and Construction Workers Union YOL-IS held its 11th Ordinary Congress on 16-17 February 2019 in Ankara, Turkey. The theme of the Congress was “From past to present, from today to the future”, “YOL-IS carries on the tradition of the struggle for bread, peace, and freedom”. The main focus of the Congress was the breakthrough of the union in obtaining direct employment for more than 10.000 subcontracted workers at the General Directorate of Highways.

The Congress hosted more than 750 participants, including the Minister of internal Affairs, former labour ministers, MPs, EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem GOUDRIAAN and 23 international delegates representing BWI affiliates from 13 countries along with BWI General Secretary Ambet Yuson and Vice President of the European Federation for Building and Wood Workers (EFBWW) and President of BYGGNADS Johan Lindholm from Sweden.

YOL-IS President Ramazan Agar was re-elected. He emphasised in his address economic and social problems based on the neo-liberal policies such as privatisation, subcontracting, flexibility and precarious jobs, which have negatively affected labour rights. He also addressed the current economic crisis in Turkey and the consequence of shrinking the employment capacity in the construction sector where more than 500,000 construction workers have lost their jobs over the past six months.

He said, “Our union fought for ensuring direct employment for subcontracted workers in the public sector and our fight paved the way for providing public employment to more than 700.000 subcontracted workers in all public sectors. However, thousands of our members are still excluded from the scope of permanent public employment. Our fight for direct employment for all subcontracted workers will continue until every one of them has decent working conditions”.

In conclusion, Agar stated, “Unions are institutions of modern democracy, social justice and advanced economies. Join us and we will advance towards labour and social peace.”

At the YOL IS Congress two resolutions were passed – one focusing on trade union policy and the other on organizing.

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