By Sanjiv Pandita
The network has membership from similar networks in Europe and US and the Asian network members join the meetings of the European and US counterparts. It has also built systematically into a strong solidarity networks. In the recent Asian network meeting in Bangkok, 2013, ANROEV members proposed the formation of a global grassroots network that would bring tougher the global grassroots movement and make their voice even stronger. In principle, the proposal has agreed both by the European and the US networks, however, to make it truly global it also needs members from Africa and Latin America which would be its next task. At the policy level, there have been many promises made to improve health and safety, starting with a Beijing declaration of “Occupational Safety for all” in 1994 by the World Health Organization. International Labor Organization in 2008, also makes similar promises in a nicely worded ‘Seoul Declaration’ that “calls for a preventative safety and health culture, which gives the right to a safe and healthy environment and which is respected at all national levels”. However at ground level it seems nothing has changed, despite these wonderful promises.
Two decades after the deadly fires of Kader and Zhili, we have seen even worse fires in Pakistan and Bangladesh. Though these international UN bodies seem to have membership from the sates, yet there is the exclusion of the main beneficiaries in this decision-making process- the victims and the workers who are getting exposed. The complete failure of health and safety at all levels is because of failure of grassroots democracy; the where absence of unions, the working class has almost no representation at any level of the decision-making process. Moreover, the impacted population and the victims, who are marginalized in this process, do not have any democratic space to express themselves. In this regard, the victims organizing and the Asian network play an important role in bringing the voices of the impacted workers to the surface. They have realized the only themselves can change their situation, and all they need is some space, where they can exert and express themselves. The network has helped them in this process by providing them some platform and they are leading what has a potential to become a global solidarity network.