VI Presidential Council: Speech of C.H. VENKATACHALAM, President of Finance Control Committee and G.Secretary of TUI – BIFU10 February 2012
Comrades of the Presidium, Com. General Secretary and Dear comrades,
My warm greetings to all of you on behalf of TUI-Banking Insurance And Finance Unions (TUI BIFU) as well as on behalf of the Finance Control Committee.
My special greetings and thanks to our Unions and militant comrades of South Africa for successfully hosting this Council meeting of WFTU here at a very important juncture. Their hospitality is truly warm and highly appreciable. I wish them all success in their struggles and endeavours.
Comrades, I fully agree with the Report presented by the General Secretary Com. Mavrikos and entirely endorse the same. The report is pointed, precise and sharp. It is a carry over of what we had discussed, deliberated and resolved in our WFTU Congress in Athens last year.
Especially, his explaining the present problems and situation into three major aspects is very apt and appropriate.
Firstly, all of us know that there is crisis. We also know who are responsible for this crisis. In fact, our enemies, the capitalists also concede that there is crisis. They are not able to hide it. They even concede that their wrong policies were responsible for the crisis. But the point is that they are the authors and perpetrators of the crisis and hence they must pay for the same. They must take the consequent suffering. But what is happening is that they are conveniently passing on the burden of the crisis on the shoulders of the innocent workers and common people who are already suffering. The Governments in various countries are also supporting this crime. It is a combined offensive on the working class. Workers are made to suffer for no fault of them. This must be highlighted more and more.
Secondly, it is not merely shifting the burden of the crisis on the heads of the workers. It is not merely a capitalist offensive that we experience. Increasingly we observe arbitrary interventions of the imperialists forces in order to expand their control over the wealth of the various nations. What we see in Syria, Libya, Iran, etc. are the recent crude examples of the direct interventions of USA and other imperialist forces. Hence it is not merely fighting against capitalism or fighting for more wages and trade union rights. The challenge is much more larger and deeper. We must bear this mind in our struggles.
Thirdly, we also find that more and more people are getting realised about these attacks. Struggles, resistance, opposition are increasing in one form or the other. People are fighting with whatever strength they have. People are fight against injustice and exploitation. People are fighting for democracy. Workers are fighting everywhere. There are struggles in various countries and in various sectors. Struggles are on the increase. There is a mood everywhere to fight back. For example, what we have seen in the Occupy Wall Street agitation. The protest was spontaneous because people have experienced the suffering and feel cheated. Some of the slogans and posters used in this agitation like “Why bail out for the Corporates and Sell out for the workers ?”, “We are the 99 % but why that 1% should be protected”, “Why punish us for their mistakes”, etc. have very important connotations though spontaneous.
The important point is – there is crisis – the burden of the crisis is sought to be forced on the workers – workers condition have deteriorated – it is intolerable – people are no longer willing to tolerate it – they are fighting back. Hence, as identified in the Athens Pact, there are immense possibilities to organise workers into struggles. There is huge scope to initiate struggles. Situation is very favourable for more actions. But it would be wrong to expect things to happen on their own. As our great leader Com. Lenin said that revolution is not like apple to fall from the tree, we must work hard and organise the struggles. We must take initiatives everywhere. Struggles alone will inspire the workers and the common masses. Trade Unions have to give the leadership to the struggles for the aspirations of the workers. We cannot be mere spectators. Workers are being hit. People are being hit. We must hit back. And hit as hard as possible.
This is the task for all of us today. WFTU is on the right path. We must now move forward further.
Then, Com. Mavrikos rightly talked of poverty and unemployment. These are the most serious challenges before us everywhere. It is universal. We must focus on these issues and rope in more sections in the fight. We must heighten our campaign on these basic issues.
Coming to TUI Banking and Finance, we made a vey good start last year. It was highly encouraging. But we are yet to consolidate our organisation under this new TUI. During the current year, we should take adequate steps to improve this TUI as a more effective functional unit of WFTU. For this, we need the active support and co-operation of our WFTU Regional Offices to contact and mobilise the unions in this vital sector under our TUI.
In India, currently, an unprecedentedly massive, united struggle is going on against the anti-labour and anti-people policies of the Indian Government. For the first time after independence in 1947, all the central trade unions have come together and there will be General Strike on 28th February, 2012 in which it is expected that nearly 100 million workers will join the strike. This meeting should adopt a resolution extending the support and solidarity of the WFTU to this strike action. WFTU can also address a letter to the Prime Minister of India. It will be helpful to us.
I also salute our militant comrades of PAME in Greece. Their struggles are a matter of inspiration for everyone who are confronted by the capitalist attacks. Let me wish their two days strike a glorious success.
It is very evident that after our Athens Congress, WFTU has come to inspire more unions. More applications have come for affiliation. Particularly three unions from Malaysia including the Bank employees Union are joining WFTU. For the first time, the flag of WFTU will fly in Malaysia. These are important achievements of WFTU. It shows the growing confidence of workers and unions on WFTU.
Let me now make a mention about the financial resources of our WFTU. Dr. Elsadiq Ali has already spoken about it. Recently we did the finance control for the year 2011. I must tell you that the expenses are much more than the income. While we want the activities of WFTU to expand, how is it possible to be achieved without adequate financial resources? The Annual Fees to WFTU are not regularly paid by our unions. Thanks to the helpful understanding of some of our important unions, thanks to the wonderful support from PAME, things are somehow being managed. But this should not be the way. It is very notable that 60 % of the expenses were on account of actions, campaigns, struggles. This means that if we can improve our financial condition, WFTU can undertake much more activities. With much more activities, WFTU can become much more stronger which is the need of the hour. Hence all our unions must come forward to strengthen the financials of WFTU.
I once again thank our South African unions and comrades for hosting this meeting successfully.