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Introductory Speech of Cde George Mavrikos,General Secretary of WFTU ,to the 17th World Trade Union Congress South Africa, Durban
5-8 Ocotober 2016
Comrades of South Africa, of the country of Mandela, of Mabhida, of Mtshali, of the land of the heroes of the working class, of the land that has shed rivers of blood of its best children in the struggle against apartheid, against capitalist barbarity, in the struggle that fights for the people to be master of his wealth;
Dear comrades of South Africa, on behalf of the 92 million members of the World Federation of Trade Unions who live and struggle in 125 countries of the world, we tight our arms around you in an international hug, we say to you a great thank you for the glorious hospitality of this grant, historic trade union Congress.
That in the three days to come, the real protagonists in this Congress will be problems of the workers, the problems of our people, the duties of the trade unions, the way-out and the perspective for the attainment of the basic and contemporary needs of the popular families.
It is our duty, an obligation of all of us to hold a Congress that is open, democratic, uniting, class-oriented and internationalist. A Congress that will honour the 71 years of internationalist struggle of WFTU and at the same time will respond to the modern needs of the current and future priorities of the World Working Class. The large participation in the pre-congress discussions, the proposals on the basic documents that the Presidential Council prepared, the large and wide publicity, make us optimistic that here in Durban, the Congress and its Resolutions can open new ways for the present and future of the militant Trade Union Movement. The 17th World Trade Union Congress takes place in a period when the international situation for the people and the workers becomes more complex and liquid.
We can underline shortly, two basic factors that characterize the global situation:
The deep economic crisis of the capitalist system
The international situation is characterized by the economic crisis of capitalism and the hard anti-labour and anti-peoples policies. It is a crisis that affects all countries more or less while there are possibilities for a return in an even deeper recession. The consequences of this crisis are the generalized unemployment which increases by the closing or merging of companies but also from the lack of new investments, the increased public and private dept, poverty and misery experienced by a big part of the population, intensification of workload and greater difficulty of the popular families to cover their basic needs. This is a crisis of overproduction and accumulation.
The unsold commodities are an unrealized and accumulated capital that cannot function. Also, the profits and the super profits of the monopolies from their previous investments may exist as gathered money but find it difficult to be reinvested in new investments.
Based on the data of the World Bank which evaluates the extreme poverty in the low level of $1,90 dollars per day, the people who are estimated to experience extreme poverty today are:551 million for Asia, 436 million for Africa, 15 million in South America, 5,9million in North America, 0,3 million in Europe and 50,000 in Oceania. However, the numbers of actual poverty are so much bigger. From the people aged between 15 to 74 only 61% has some form of employment, while 1 to 3 has been in long-term unemployment for more than 12 months.
At the same time, large and painful is the tax of blood deposited by the workers in the name of capitalist development.
Each day, there are 6,300 recorded deaths in the workplaces due to occupational accidents and diseases which means more than 2.3 million deaths per year. About 317 million accidents are recorded in the workplaces per year. The number of migrants has increased rapidly over the last 15 years. The number of migrants reached 244 million in 2015, an increase of 41% in comparison to 2000, while according to estimations 60 million of those are violently displaced refugees.
The majority of this migrants comes from Africa. The low standards of living and the major problems of the people of Africa can be easily seen in the low life expectancy of the Sub-Saharan Africa which is the lowest and ranges from 47-60 years of life. Most countries being under the 50 years of life expectancy. In the contrary, and even within the crisis, the profits and super profits of the monopolies accumulate.
A characteristic example is that the 500 more profitable companies according to Fortune 500 claimed profits of $1.5 trillion dollars in 2014 only. The IMF estimates a global slowdown of the GDP growth of 3.4%. Specifically it speaks for the slowing of the development of the developed economies. For the US economy, a drop of growth in the pace of development is expected as well as a drop in the consumption of ordinary people and it is estimated that the data of fixed investments and net exports will be decreasing. A decrease has also been recorded in the inflows of Foreign Direct Investments (FDI) in global level for the year 2014, a drop of 16% in fact, at the level of $1.23 trillion dollars according to the UN Trade and Development Committee.
And off course this comes hand in hand with the so called "agenda of structural reforms" and the "exemplary public finances" and the "cooperation for innovation, for the new industrial revolution and the digital economy". Behind all those words, is the more severe attack against the rights of the workers, the widening of part-time employment and contractualization, the work with few or no rights, the privatization of sectors that are still public in the hands of private capital (such as Healthcare, Education, Energy, Transportetc) and the use of new technologies in favour of the capitalists for the intensification of exploitation of the working people.
It is worth highlighting that the European Fund for Strategic Investments promotes 350 billion euro in investments in infrastructure which would first of all assist the monopoly groups. We must say at this point that the global production of the multinationals has increased in the year 2014, with the estimated added value reaching 7.9 trillion dollars when these companies employee 75 million workers. The G-20 aim for a global development of 2%until the year 2018, while the inflows of FDI are estimated to be increased by 11% in the year 2017.All this data show us that in any case: with recession or with development of the economy, the exploitation of the labour force is increased, the labour, social and democratic rights are either frozen or taken back, the basic and contemporary needs of the working people are far from satisfied, on the contrary, a vast part of the population is become poor and poorer.
SECOND: The imperialist aggressiveness - Competitions
The plots of the imperialist centres for the control of the markets and the raw materials form new alliances, adding more complexity to the competitions of the monopolies and the dangers that they arise for the people. Therefore, the inter-imperialist conflicts become more intense especially in with the increasing presence and intervention of NATO in the Middle East and Eastern Europe.
Under the false pretext of the "rule of democracy" and the "war against terrorism", new sources of fire blow up, new borders are constructed and new spheres of influence are created. The people of Ukraine, of Yugoslavia, of Afghanistan, of Iraq, of Syria, of Lebanon, of Libya, of Mali etc. have been victim of this attacks with endless number casualties and severe damages in infrastructure under this imperialist intervention and aggression. In the era of imperialism, in which we live in, besides the social, economic, political and military framework, also religious fanaticism is used in this mess of conflicts. With the funding, training and equipping coming from imperialist forces, various terrorist groups and organizations are operating, spreading terror in international level. This terrorism highly assists the cultivation of a state of terror, manipulation and finally wider expectance of the imperialist atrocities against the people in other countries as well as the repression of democratic rights in their own countries. The long civil wars and the warfare in Somali, in Chad, in Central African Republic, in South Sudan have been incited by the imperialist forces who continue to torture the people of Africa who end up cut in more and more inner-African conflicts with armed missions arriving from various African states.
The developments in Turkey with the enhancement of the conflict inside the country and their expression with the failed coup attempt in connection with the complicated inter-imperialist contradictions that are increasing in the wider region of Middle East, form an even more dangerous environment for the whole Mediterranean.
The people of Syria suffer from an imperialist intervention. A main ground of these competitions between the imperialist states is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the European Union and the United States which for the last decade has been attempted to be put in action but especially the last three years is being discussed in secret negotiations between the two sides. This TTIP is an enormous "financial" plan to form a unified euro-Atlantic market for the capitalist economies of the two sides of the Atlantic Ocean, aiming to increase the profits of the large monopoly groups as a new "Financial NATO". The TTIP in reality starts from the financial spectrum but expands as a geostrategic central intervention of the US.
Yellow trade union leaderships, unfortunately, surrender to the strategy of the monopolies, they support the imperialist policy and they defend the maintenance of inequality and the imposition of USA, the European Union and Australia against the countries and the economies of Africa, of Latin America and of Asia. These yellow trade union leaderships implement and cultivate the collaboration with the bourgeoisie and the enslavement of working masses in Medieval conditions of work and life. The common objective of all those undemocratic forces is to continue and widen the plundering of the wealth-producing resources of the countries of all continents. We, the large family of the World Federation of Trade Unions with clear and strong anti-imperialist characteristics are on the side of the people who struggle against the plots of USA and their allies. We remain stable and consistent in our principles that only the people themselves have the right to decide freely and democratically for their present and future. Only the people themselves, and not the imperialists and their mechanisms. For this reason we demand the dissolution of NATO, today.
The action of the WFTU over the previous five years was organized within this framework of the international deep economic crisis and the intensified imperialist interventions. Our strategy over the past five years 2011 to 2016 was focused on:
A. The development of struggles
In the five years that passed since our previous Congress, important labour struggles were organized in all continents. The vast majority of the workers realizes that only though struggle can we demand and defend our rights and at the same time fight for the attainment of our contemporary needs. In these struggles, the members, the friends and the cadres of WFTU were in the first line.
Important efforts were made by the Presidential Council and the Secretariat to also fulfil its tasks The strikes, the demonstrations, the rallies that took place over this period required increased needs of command and guidance, they demanded timely planning, good organizing, good supervision and timely confronting of the anti-labour tactics of the international bourgeoisie, confronting of the dirty role of the majority of the Mass Media Corporations that slander the struggles, the confronting of the reformist perceptions that undermine the experience of the class oriented struggles and chain themselves in social dialogues. Through the hard and important struggles of the past five years, it become possible in many cases that workers and people manage to achieve particular solutions to chronic problems.
Allow us to underline that in the struggles of the workers in India, it was two times during this period that more than 180 million workers took the streets. Let's remember also the struggles of the teachers in Mexico for the improvement of the quality of education and the survival of the teachers. The struggles of the working class of Colombia against multinationals, the murders of trade unionists who fight against the plundering of the wealth of the country from the bourgeoisie.
The struggles in Ecuador, in Paraguay, in Peru, in Chile, the struggles in Turkey, in Bangladesh, in Philippines, in Indonesia, in Sri Lanka and every corner of the planet. We want to congratulate from this floor the comrades of FNIC of Petrochemicals in France who have organized and successfully led hard struggles against the anti-labour policy of the Holland Government. We salute the Working Class in Greece for their class-oriented struggles against the IMF, the World Bank, the European Union. We recognize the militant characteristics of the class-oriented trade unionists in Spain, in Portugal, in Britain, in Italy who keep the flag of the struggle high. We reaffirm once more today our respect and our internationalist solidarity to COSATU, to all trade union Organizations in South Africa, to the working class of this heroic land who continue the struggle for their fair demands. We want to thank all of you for your struggles in your countries. With your stable and wide work, all of us together, we succeeded in liberating the Cuban Five held illegally in the US prisons.
Their release confirms that the struggles always bring results, sooner or later, but these results are always positive. We apologize because in such an Introductory Speech, it is impossible to mention all countries and all trade unions by name.
But from all our struggles during the past five years we can draw some conclusions:
1. The societies progress only with social struggles.
2. In these struggles the Working Class as a leader must open wider paths and must make sure that the level of consciousness must mature and the demands must become more radicalized.
3. The class-oriented trade union movement has a duty to unite the whole class, to unite all workers and at the same time to construct their alliance with the poor peasantry, the youth, the women.
4. We shall not forget that our cadres are forged into the struggle. They learn the art of leadership. The value of collectivity in the leadership. The irreplaceable role of internationalism and solidarity.
5. We cannot forget also that in the struggles today many Mass Media Corporations play dirty role and therefore the need for correct and timely information from our unions has great significance today. Dear colleagues,
Over the last years, the representatives of the international capital, the capitalist governments and the reactionary Mass Media are making an effort to attack the right to strike and if possible to eliminate it. This effort aims to make the life of the working people even more difficult and to increase the profits of the monopolies.
To limit the struggles of the trade unions.
This is why they want to disarm the class-oriented trade union movement from the great right of Striking.
Unfortunately in this campaign also the International Labour Organization, the ILO, does not take a correct position. It actually feeds this attack.
As WFTU we state it clearly that we do not accept any limitation to our right to strike when the needs demand us to do so. Dear Brothers and Sisters, We all know the value of struggle. Without struggle there would be collective bargaining, without struggle there would be no working hours, without struggle there would be no social security, without struggle we would have gained the right to found trade unions.
Therefore the struggle brings results, the struggle is our power, the struggle is our weapon. We have to defend our right to struggle. Let us continue to plan, to organize and to support the struggles of the workers and their fair rights.
B. The organizational picture of WFTU
In the five years that passed from the 16th Congress until today we tried to implement the resolutions we had voted in the last Congress in Athens; Resolutions that obliged as to work for the Organizational Strengthening of the WFTU in the workplaces and in each region. The Congress mandate it us to increase and enhance our numerical strength.- In the 16th Congress we had 78 million members. Today here in the 17th World Trade Union Congress we come with 92 million members. An increase of 14 million new members. An increase of 18%.We want to applaud all the Organizations that with their action promoted the positions and the principles of the WFTU, they projected the history of the WFTU and they assisted in this important numerical strengthening of the family of the WFTU
This increase in numbers is a result of collective work. It is a result we achieved all together. Along with the increase in numbers we also made other positive steps in our organizational structure.- 7 new Regional Offices were founded and started their operation during the past five years- 1 new Sectoral TUI was founded- More and better schools of trade union training were organized. More and more qualitative international fora and activities.- The organizational growth of WFTU is reflected also in the participation of this Congress. In our last Congress 850 delegates took place today we have here 1520 delegates. In our previous Congress 101 countries participated.
This is the real image. We become stronger. We continue. The international working class expects so much from the WFTU.
The WFTU is growing - Our responsibilities are growing.
Our objective in the next Congress of WFTU is that the WFTU will have 100 million members from all corners of the world. In the organizational field we also contributed greatly:- In the creation of new Trade Unions and Federations- In the improvement of the functioning of Trade Union Organizations and also by- Cultivating the need for the deepening of collectivity, of internal democracy and of respect to the membership in the base.
If we had to draw a conclusion from our action in the organizational field we could safely say that we made significant steps forward. However, the needs are many. Everyday there are new needs, new priorities present themselves,Today the life and the expectations of the working people put upon us new complex duties.
Our effort for the organizational strengthening, for the increase of membership, for the enrolment of new members, for the foundation of new trade union organizations where it necessary, for the increase of the presence of women and young workers in the leadership of the trade unions is an ongoing battle. Today we have the obligation to fight for this objectives.
Our work for the Migrants and the Refugees It is a serious permanent duty of our days to focus on the problems of the migrants and the refugees due to the deep economic crisis and the imperialist wars who generate and increase this social phenomenon.It is vital that we are close to the needs of the migrants and the refugees.
That we protect them from racism, xenophobia and neofascism. That we help them survive.We have to insist that migrants and refugees become members of the trade unions, that they struggle along with all the native workers for their rights in the countries they live in. We have to make our unions hospitable for our fellow people. Most of all it is crucial that we strengthen the struggle so that the cause of this social phenomenon ends in total. We have to fight so that the imperialist interventions stop, so that their countries are financially assisted though the United Nations and that these workers who are forged to migrate are able to fight dignified employment and dignified life in their countries of origin.
The financial status of WFTU
Another side of the Organizational Strengthening of WFTU is that it becomes more empowered financially. The financial status is very serious, since the economy is the ground of the political and the trade union action. In this field we are very weak. We are poor. It is our responsibility and duty that the WFTU becomes financially autonomous.
That our unions become financially self-reliant and do not depend on external intervention.
The finances of our trade unions must rely on the fees and the support of the workers.
From the members and not from external factors. The trade union-members and friends of the WFTU are evaluated from whether they support the WFTU financially or whether they don't. We have many positive examples but we also have many negative examples. We underline once more that the only income of the WFTU are the fees and the support received by the unions who are members and friends of the WFTU.
We propose that the new leadership, the new Presidential Council should call a special Conference for the ways to achieve the financial self-reliance of the WFTU
Need for new cadres
A crucial organizational duty which remains is the help towards new trade union cadres in order to create new militants of the trade union movement.
The cadres of WFTU from the base up to the top have made a significant contribution in our common effort of rebuilding the WFTU as a healthy, stable and modern Organization from top to bottom.
What we succeeded the previous years is a result of the collective effort of all of us. We all, some more some less, gave a part of our life for the interests of the international working class.
There are only a few, counted in one hand, who did not respond to their duties.
The long and rich experience that the international trade union movement has collected shows that the cadres from the bottom to the highest posts are the treasury of the WFTU. The real power of the WFTU are its people, its fighters who struggle under difficult conditions in their work places, in their sectors, in their regions and sacrifice their time, offer their abilities for a higher cause. For the liberation of the Working Class from the bonds of exploitation. These people and the cadres of WFTU are those who analyze and decide on the line of organizing which is also a crucial topic.
In the modern day world, with the immense difficulties for the working people, with the serious attacks against the trade unions, it is pivotal that we contribute greatly towards the forging of the trade union leaders who will be capable to live up to the expectations.
The struggles that took place have helped this new generation of cadres to gain experience and to evolve its potential.
We are in need of trade union cadres of all levels. Cadres who will:- Believe in the general line and the strategic objectives of the WFTU and will implement in practice and bring to live these aims. Cadres that have faith in our demands and in the line of the WFTU. Since faith makes us bold and determined in the class-oriented struggle.- Cadres who will love the class they belong in, the working class and will fight next to their fellow workers with patience, with understanding, with substantial assistance aiming for the maturing of class consciousness of the workers. So that we evolve the consciousness of the worker.- Cadres that will implement in practice and not only though words, the collective spirit, the principles of criticism and self-criticism. Cadres who will put the "We" over the "Me"
Cadres who will attack careerism, bureaucracy, corruption and elitism. Who will unmask and expose the role of the sold out trade unionists. Cadres who will be courageous against bourgeoisie and against blackmails.- Cadres who will defend the WFTU and its positions first and foremost inside their own countries with bravery and arguments. Not only outside of the country. Firstly inside their own country, inside their own sector, inside their workplace.- Cadres who will make them their priority to help new trade unionists into become valuable leaders, so that they can become the new blood and will continue and strengthen the class-oriented trade union movement. Cadres who understand the need for constant renewal in all levels.- Cadres who will be internationalist. Who will respect the history of the working class in their countries and internationally, who will honour the martyrs of our class and who will actively express the internationalist solidarity for our brothers in need in all parts of the world.
Cadres who will respect the traditions, the culture and the right of each worker to believe or not to believe in religions.
We are optimistic that with these criteria and with the care of all of us we will be able to form a trade union manpower who will be identified by their loyalty, their organizational, ideological and political abilities, for their militancy and courage and for their experience.
C. For our strategy It has been our constant priority to enrich and to analyze our strategy and our tactic as a trade union Organization of militants of the class-oriented trade union movement.
Always and everywhere we projected the strategic role of the Working Class as a pioneer class of the society which is capable to lead the alliance with the other popular strata, with the poor peasantry, the unregistered workers, the immigrants, the refugees, the workers of the mind, the self-employed, aiming to solve the immediate, the day to day problems as well as radicalize the struggle towards the ultimate victory and the social emancipation from the capitalist slavery.
Daily this has been our priority, trying to radicalize the anti-imperialist and the anti-capitalist characteristics of the WFTU. For the WFTU, the trade unions and the trade union struggle, is a great school for the working people. The trade unions are important tools for the working class and their role is irreplaceable in capitalism and in socialism.
We are aware of the important internal changes that take place inside the synthesis of the working class. The modern working class has more skills, more knowledge and better education, better educational and cultural level. But at the same time the element of exploitation remains intact. Multinationals and monopolies profit from the sweat and work of the working class. Exploitation continues to exist and in fact increases." Internationalism, an element of our strategy
Each trade union is obligated to fight for the rights of the workers in its country. First and foremost inside its own country. In the extent it enhances the struggles in the national level, in the extent it strengthens the class-oriented perception in this particular country, objectively it also helps to empower the international trade union movement. Because when we say international trade union movement in reality we speak about the total situation, the grant picture of the movement which in matter of fact is formed as a puzzle, the pieces of which are each respective country. Any change in each individual piece, changes the general picture.
The trade unions members and friends of the WFTU have rich experience of internationalism and solidarity. The solidarity was the greatest means of our trade unions against apartheid, against dictatorships and reactionary regimes, against imperialist wars, for the benefit of the workers who fought for their fair rights. We are proud for the internationalism of WFTU.
Internationalism today, in conditions of capitalist globalization, continues to be the heart of the WFTU. Internationalism pours from our principled positions. We are on the side of the Palestinian people because we are with the truth. We are with the Syrian people because we are anti-imperialist. We are with the people of Venezuela because we want people to decide on their own for their present and future, we are with the Cuban Revolution because we are with socialism and social justice.
]We are with the working class of India who organized a strike of 180 million workers because they are our brothers, we support the migrants and the refugees because they are also our brothers.
We are on the side of the strikers in France because their victory is our own victory. In the five years that passed we made efforts to utilize the experience of the 71 years of struggle of the WFTU in order to be close to the workers who struggle for their rights. We don't think we have to be appraised for this.
We only did our duty.
We continued the internationalist history of the WFTU.And this is how we have to continue in the same manner. Not only because when we need internationalist solidarity but also when our fellow workers need it we have to provide it with determination. Είμαστε με την εργατική τάξη της Ινδίας που έκανε ανταπεργία με 180εκατομμύρια απεργούς γιατί είναι αδέρφια μας, στηρίζουμε τους μετανάστεςκαι τους πρόσφυγες γιατί είναι κι αυτοί αδέλφια μας. Είμαστε στο πλευρό τωναπεργών στη Γαλιά γιατί η νίκη τους είναι και δική μας νίκη..So that no one feels alone. So that the victory of one is a victory of all.This is how we will continue.
Unity, an element of our strategy
Friends and colleagues,
The issue of unity is and has always been a matter of great strategic importance for the International Trade Union Movement. The issue of unity is and has always been a fundamental principle of the class-oriented trade union movement from its inception up to today. The working class in order to achieve its objectives needs first of all to achieve its own unity as a class.
The unity of the working class, the unity between the various section of the same class are a precondition in order for the working class to manage to rally around it the poor farmers, the self-employed, the progressive intelligentsia and the young generation. The unity that the class-oriented trade union movement is fighting for has to have class-oriented characteristics. It has to unite the class and its allies in the struggle against the class of the capitalists.
This is a class-oriented unity.
This is unity which is not ephemeral, it does not have greater importance on one given day and lesser importance on another day, it is not a unity of top leadership nor is it a unity that is self-serving, just unity for the sake of unity. We fight for unity that will serve the working people to solve their immediate and long-term problems. For the present and future. As in all main fronts the same with the issue of unity, there are two conflicting main lines, two main perceptions. In both sides there is unity. But the real question is unity with whom and for what purpose?
Let us examine the example of the Palestinian struggle. The Palestinian people seek unity of the whole humanity with its demand to obtain its own legitimate independent and democratic Palestinian State. At the same time, Israel seeks unity with as many states and governments as possible in order to block the creation of an independent Palestinian state. Israel unites all imperialists, all the war-friendly powers in order to maintain its occupation over the Arab territories. The unity that the heroic Palestinian people look for is opposed to the unity that Israel wants. In this example, we see that one time of unity is different from another type of unity. So unity with whom and for what purpose?
Therefore, we as WFTU, the militant current within the trade unions, we want unity in order to strengthen the struggle of the proletariat against the monopolies, against the multinationals and its political representatives. In order to accumulate forces, in such a quantity and such a quality, capable to confront imperialism, to connect the struggle of the workers for the direct problems with the radicalization of the struggle for the elimination of exploitation of human by human. On the contrary, the reformist current in the trade union movement seeks to unite the workers in its battle to modernize and invigorate the capitalist system. To unite the working class and its allies in the line of class collaboration and compromise with the imperialists and the managers of this system. They seek to unite the employees under the strategy of social democracy. Therefore, their unity is in fact acts of top administration, self-serving tactics, these are acts under the table and behind the backs of the workers.
Exposing the role of yellow trade union leaderships
Criticism against the yellow trade union leaderships was first established by Karl Marx in the Manifesto. Criticism for us has one and only purpose. To unite the workers based on their own interests.
To unite the people and the workers based on imperialism and social inequality. Our criticism towards the yellow trade union leaderships aims to inform the workers so that they are not held captive in the muddy waters of yellow trade unionism.
We do not identify the ordinary workers and the ordinary trade unionists of the base with these yellow trade union leaderships. We try to bring them closer to our smaller and bigger struggles.
This is our strategy. With this perspective we criticize ITUC today.
The criticism we make aims to help the trade unionists in the base of the trade unions to realize the truth. We aim to help them realize that the interest of the international working class and the interest of the trade union movement itself is to rally on the side of the WFTU, on the side of the militant trade union movement. To stand up against the yellow trade unionism.- The leadership of ITUC has a deep antidemocratic operation. Antidemocratic and authoritarian. See for example its tactic in the ILO,in the Head Office in Geneva and the Regional Offices in all continents. They are an enemy of proportional representation. They cultivate the perception that they are monopolizing the trade union movement.
They do not stand the democracy of pluralism. The democracy of the different opinion.
The tactic of ITUC is severely undemocratic.
The leadership of ITUC under the table has allied itself with all the objectives of the imperialists of USA, of NATO and their allies. Remember the positions of the leadership of ITUC in all the imperialist wars. Which was their position in the war against Yugoslavia? Which was their position in the war against Iraq? Which was their position in the war of Israel against Lebanon? Which is their position for Syria?
Always on the arms of the imperialists. Is it accidental?
The leadership of ITUC is partially guilty for the millions of refugees, of victims, of migrants.- The leadership of ITUC divides trade unions, interferes in the internal function of the trade unions who do not surrender in the yellow trade unionism!
See the interventions in ICATU, the interventions in the
internal affairs of the trade unions in India. The leadership of ITUC fosters corruption in the leadership of the trade unions with various seminars and the use of different Institutes. They buy out trade unionists who bend their neck, they buy out their consciousness.-
The leadership of ITUC promotes reformism and class-collaboration inside the working class. They deny the basic Marxist principle that the history of societies is a history of class struggles and at the same time they try to put make up on the capitalist system and present exploitation as good. Ultimately who benefits from such trade union practices and corrupt of consciousness?
Those who benefit are the capitalists, the multinationals, the antilabour governments who want a trade union movement imprisoned in class collaboration and surrendered to the God of capitalist profit.
We criticize the leadership of ITUC because it is our responsibility to help the workers to build their own independent, militant, class-oriented and internationalist trade unions fighting against imperialism and capitalist barbarity.
Our Criticism to the NGO'sOver the last years, this new "fruit" called NGO's has mushroomed everywhere. Only in the USA there are 85,000 NGO's according to media reports. In each country they appear as a new form of organizing. They are hundreds and thousands of them. The leaderships of such NGO's project the theory that they could replace the role of the trade unions. The real NGO's are, however, very few. It is a minor majority of them which is clean. The vast majority of the NGO's are dirty, mechanisms of corruption of money and consciousness. Many NGO's are puppets of Governments and secret services. For us as WFTU no NGO, even real one, can replace the crucial role and mission of the workers trade union Organizations
Our position is a correct ideological approach and it is not right for the unions to allow space for corrupted mechanisms to wander within them and trap workers in classless pseudo-theories.
D. Our presence in the International Organizations
As you know, the WFTU has permanent representation in:- The United Nations, with headquarters in New York- The UNESCO, with headquarters in Paris- The FAO, with headquarters in Rome- The ILO, with headquarters in Geneva
In the past, the international correlation of forces was different. The class-oriented trade union movement was able to use the space it had to intervene in the Conventions, the Norms, the Agreements and the Recommendations. Today things are different.
The correlation of forces in negative for the people and the workers. For example, the United Nations have taken over the last years 25 decisions ruling in favour of the right of the Palestinians to have their own state but none of them has been implemented. On the contrary, one resolution was needed and was immediate applied in favour of the imperialist intervention against Libya.
There are millions who lose their lives in occupational accidents and ILO does not do anything about it. - In Turkey there were 301 mine workers who were buried alive. What did the ILO do?- In Bangladesh, in the Rana Plaza Crime, 1,300 workers lost their lives when the building collapsed while in 2012 the fire in the factory of Tazrine Fashion killed more than 100 workers. These facts reaffirm that in earthquakes it's the poor who get killed, in floods it is the poor who get drowned, in fire it is the poor who get burned alive, in snowstorms it is the poor who freeze. What did the ILO do for all this problems?
We are not at all satisfied by the situation existing today in the ILO.
We do not agree with the discrimination, with the lack of representativeness, with the captivity of the ILO in the hands of the yellow trade unions. If this picture does not change we estimate that the ILO will have no future for the workers.
We, as WFTU, in any case make use of all our means participating in the ILO, holding massive independent activities during the framework of the ILC, so that the different voice can be heard, so that we deposit in front of the workers our proposals always with respect to proportional representation and democratic functioning without discrimination and exclusions
E. We move forward! All united!
Yesterday was the 71st anniversary from the foundation of the WFTU. ?he fact that today we are starting here, in the country of Moses Mabhida and Nelson Mandela, the World Trade Union Congress, is a nice coincidence.
Our gathering here, the gathering of workers and trade union leaders, with the COSATU, the ANC, the heroic SACP, expresses a very important symbolism. Dear comrades from the African Continent
We wish to commit ourselves here in front of you that WFTU will continues table to be with you, with the people of Africa. Together with the poor popular layers in every African country. Until the final victory of the working class. The African continent, is the Continent with the richest wealth producing resources. The WFTU will strengthen its struggles with you so that the diamonds of Africa the oil and gas of Africa, the cocoa, coffee, kaoutchouc, to belong to the Africans who produce it. To the workers and the peoples of the continent. To those who produce the wealth and not to the cartels and the monopolies.
We are committed, comrades from Africa, that we will be with you in this struggle.
This will be a rough fight but a fair struggle and a necessary one. Remember that since 1945 the WFTU was your trade union organisation. And will be stable to you with you. We move forward. We learn and utilize the 71-year history of the WFTU,which is the history of all of us.
A history with great successes, important victories, not without weaknesses, mistakes, delays.
" We are proud of our history
" We are proud of the martyrs heroes who came from our trade unions over these 71 years.
" We are proud of the Internationalist, anti-imperialistic, anti- capitalist character of the WFTU.
" We are proud of the young generation of trade unionists who more and more massively join the ranks of the class trade union organizations.
These reasons make us optimist
We will hand over to the young generation a more powerful, ideologically solid and organizationally mature trade union movement. We suggest to give the commitment altogether, form the 17th Trade Union Congress, that we aim to celebrating the 80th anniversary of the WFTU with 100 million members. Having a quantitative and qualitative stronger WFTU.
Let me conclude with an appeal to the next generation of our trade unionists, telling them that: The struggle is worth it. Have belief in the working class.
Belief in our goals. Belief in our fair struggle.
Belief will make you brave, courageous in the struggles.
Belief will give youth power to overcome the difficulties that will arise.
LONG LIVE WORKING CLASSLONG LIVE S. AFRICAN WORKING CLASS
Issued by WFTU
Sizwe Pamla (National Spokesperson)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
110 Jorissen Cnr Simmonds Street
Tel: +27 11 339-4911 Direct 010 219-1339
Mobile: 060 975 6794