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Trade Unions and Workers roundtable (Malaysia)

11 February, 2018
14.30 - 16.30
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | Banquet Hall
Event type: 

During the 9th session of the World Urban Forum, PSI together with UCLG, ILO, BWI, Action Aid and WIEGO will be holding a stakeholders’ roundtable on Trade unions and workers. This UNHabitat event will take place on 11 February from 14h30 to 16h30.

Challenges and wins for trade unions and workers implementing the New Urban Agenda

While representing the large majority of city dwellers and urban communities, city workers –formal or informal, young, women, or migrant – are often invisible and underpaid, working and living in precarious conditions. They build and operate our cities, bringing them to life, providing the essential services urban and local communities need. City workers need decent working conditions, adequate resources and staffing levels, and appropriate health and safety equipment, systems and training to perform their jobs correctly. Instead, the conditions of workers that build and maintain our cities leave much to be desired.   

The violation of basic workers’ and trade unions’ rights, precarious employment, poverty wages, the lack of training and safety equipment, as well as the privatization of essential public services, austerity measures and tax avoidance dramatically undermine our cities’ inclusiveness and sustainability. Many operate under extremely difficult conditions: public emergency, building and construction, health and utility as well as migrant workers often lose their lives or get permanently impaired on the job because of such conditions. 

It is crucial that urban communities’ stakeholders, mayors, local and central government officials and elected representatives, as well UN Habitat ensure that workers’ and trade union rights are not only non-negotiable human rights, but also preconditions to achieve the NUA’s transformative commitments and the SDGs. Workers and their trade unions are key institutional actors in shaping social, economic and urban policy on an equal footing with social partners local authorities and business, as per the ILO’s tripartite approach.

Guiding questions:

  • How are trade unions, workers, mayors and civil society allies implementing the NUA’s transformative commitments to making cities and local communities more equitable and inclusive?
  • What are the challenges of public emergency service workers in dealing with the consequences of climate change in cities?
  • How can decent housing be ensured for construction workers, who build cities and are yet often at the edge of urban centers?
  • What is the role of accessible universal, gender and youth responsive-public services in securing urban gender equality?
  • How can we design cities and urban institutions so migrant workers have a greater capacity to exercise their rights?
  • How can decent work be achieved in municipal waste management services and foster an inclusive urban circular economy?


  • Douglas Ragan  -  UN Habitat, Youth and Livelihoods Unit Leaders


  • Daria Cibrario  -  Public Services International (PSI)
  • Gunde Odgard Badkartellet  -  Denmark, Building and Wood Workers International (BWI)
  • Norhayati Abdul Rashid  -  President, Malayan Nurses Union, Malaysia (PSI)
  • Phyo Sandar Soe  -  Senior Organizer, BWWF of Myanmar (BWI)
  • Poonsap Tulaphan  -  HomeNet Thailand (WIEGO)
  • Radha Kumari  -  Action Aid India
  • Edgardo Bilsky  -  United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG)
  • Edmundo Werna  -  International Labour Organization (ILO)

More information:

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