Alliance news

Trade union of Russian builders has been denied participation in the BWI international conference on asbestos

The international conference organized by the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) will take place in Vienna, on 6 and 7 May 2014. During the event all issues and problems related to the use and production of materials containing asbestos will be discussed. Leaders of European and some other international trade-union organizations apply double standard practices in respect of chrysotile and asbestos industry. Despite the absence of convincing scientific evidence of the hazardous nature of chrysotile, they demand a ban in respect thereof ignoring the opinion of the workers of chrysotile industry enterprises whose interests they are bound to protect. It is surprising that BWI, which minds the interests of the tens of thousands workers, including members of the trade unions, refuses to listen to the representatives of the chrysotile industry trade unions.

The International Alliance of Trade-Union Organizations “Chrysotile”, which includes over 40 trade-union organizations of construction and construction materials industrial enterprises in Russia and other CIS countries, is in possession of the information that the conference organizers have denied participation in the conference to the Trade Union of Russian Builders and a number of other organizations affiliated with BWI.

In response to BWI’s actions, the Alliance is convening a business meeting of the chrysotile undustry trade unions. The participants of the meeting will include representatives of professional organizations and associations from Russia, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, India and Kazakhstan. The meeting will focus on implementation of measures aimed at combating the global anti-asbestos campaign, which is scientifically unsubstantiated, and which has been launched by the world manufacturers of alternative, allegedly safe materials, and other stakeholders.

The Alliance was created by trade unions in order to oppose the broad anti-asbestos campaign conducted in Europe for the purposes of imposing a complete ban on the use of chrysotile-asbestos. All the statements and facts of the Alliance’s representatives are based on the practice of chrysotile use of many years, on the data of scientific research of chrysotile and on the position of the national builders’ trade unions. We refuse to agree with BWI’s position promoting the ban on the use of all types of asbestos. In our opinion, presently WHO’s approach to the solution of this matter is the most constructive one. Thus, in the document adopted by the 60th session of the World Health Assembly “Global Plan of Action on Workers’ Health (2008-2017)” (WHA 60.26 of 23 May, 2007) it is said as follows: Sec.10 “… Its (WHO’s) activities will include global campaigns for elimination of asbestos-related diseases – bearing in mind a differentiated approach to regulating its various forms – in line with relevant international legal instruments and the latest evidence for effective interventions, …”.