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Organising to raise awareness of asbestos risk in Cambodia

Oct 30, 2020

In Cambodia, union organisers are refreshing their strategies and tactics to educate workers about the dangers of asbestos. Using distance learning, union educator Kathleen Galvin is volunteering her time, skills and expertise to work with the APHEDA Cambodia team to help build the capacity of partner organisations.

Building and refreshing skills to confront asbestos exposure risk

In Cambodia, union organisers are refreshing their strategies and tactics to educate workers about the dangers of asbestos. To help build the capacity of the Builders Woodworkers Trade Union of Cambodia (BWTUC) to organise construction workers against the threat of asbestos, union educator Kathleen Galvin is volunteering her time, skills and expertise developed over her career in union training. Kathleen is working with the Cambodian team via distance learning.

Construction workers exposed to deadly dust

Construction workers in Cambodia are exposed to the dangers of asbestos. Most workers have not been informed about the risks of asbestos – they work with asbestos, they live with asbestos [in workers’ accommodation], and they carry asbestos back to their family on clothing.

That’s why Union Aid Abroad – APHEDA and the BWTUC are working together to train union organisers to go out into worksites to inform workers about the dangers of asbestos, and what they can do to minimise the risk of asbestos-related diseases.

New techniques, new strategies and new methods to save lives

With support from the American Center for International Labor and the Australian NGO Cooperation Program, APHEDA is supporting the BWTUC to refresh their organising strategy on asbestos.

In these sessions, the union educators and organisers develop new techniques, new ideas, and new methods of explaining the dangers of asbestos to workers. Many construction workers come from rural areas where there are few educational opportunities to develop literacy. Many workers may not have heard about asbestos at all.

 

Organising training delivered online to tackle asbestos risk offline

With organising moving more and more to online platforms, the value of working in partnership is increasingly important. Translators, administrative officers, union leaders and APHEDA Cambodia staff are working closely together to make organising possible in an online environment.

The goal is to both inform and to encourage action as well as spread awareness from workers to the community and beyond to reach employers and government. Building on awareness raised through training and building organsing skills, that awareness will be harnessed to seek real policy change, reducing asbestos exposure over time by eliminating asbestos altogether from Cambodia.

 

 

 

Take action on Asbestos!
  1. Sign our petition to stop International Development Banks funding asbestos products in Indonesia and other countries. Removing this funding will shrink the market and promote alternative products.
  2. Join the campaign: Asbestos. Not Here. Not Anywhere.

Join the Campaign to Ban Asbestos

We are building a movement of people in Australia to join with unionists and campaigners across South East Asia to support their struggle to ban asbestos and eliminate asbestos-related diseases. We want to secure an asbestos-free future because as long as asbestos is being used anywhere, it remains a risk everywhere.

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