Intervention of WFTU representative, Yacine Ben Chikha, in the TUI Agrolimentary European Meeting Belgrade, Serbia, March 26-30:
Dear Friends and Comrades,
On behalf of the WFTU Secretariat, I would like to convey militant greetings to the hosting organization CATUS, to the executive committee of the TUI Agrolimentary and to all the participants in this meetings taking place in Belgrade City.
We feel great joy and satisfaction that this initiative has been taken up with such enthusiasm by all the Agroalimetary militant unions in Europe.
With its 69 years of rich history of struggles and victories, the WFTU has always been the organization playing a leading role against the imperialists and their dirty attacks against the peoples of the world. There is no corner of the world where the WFTU has not been present, standing always on the side of the weak, always on the side of the people, always with the working class, in the struggles against capitalist exploitation.
Currently, with 86 million members in 126 countries, WFTU, is uniting the class-oriented trade union movement all over the world, and holds high the flag against imperialism and capitalism, for a society without exploitation of man by man.
It is clear to all of us, that the majority of the working people are struggling to survive and cover their basic needs. Millions of workers in Africa, in Asia and in Latin America are living today with less than $1 per day. For WFTU, this is modern slavery.
Under capitalism, food, water, medicine, books and housing are commodities. World food prices have been increasing dramatically and are now at their highest levels. This has created a global alimentary crisis showing that the capitalist system cannot solve the nutritional problem.
Simultaneously with the rise of food prices, the super-profits of monopolies and multinational groups that dominate the global market and control the production, transport and trading of food, have increased as well.
In the same time, small producers, workers on the land and in food industries are being exploited, giving away their production almost for free. And by the end of the day, consumers are also being exploited by being forced to pay high prices for food.
The WFTU think that the power of the monopolies and multinationals leads to the increased exploitation of the working class, robbery from households and poor farmers, and the formation of cartels. A small number of companies control the greatest share of sales and profits globally.
Governments and multinationals both claim that the so called “nutritional crisis” is due to the reduction of global production resulting from climate change and to the increase in food consumption by people in developing countries. This argument is unacceptable.
The FAO’s itself estimates that, with conventional agriculture and existing climate and weather conditions, food production is sufficient for twice as many people as the current world population.
In fact, the reduction of global food production is due to the conscious, anti-labour policies that multinationals and governments implemented to benefit their own interests in higher profits.
This shows that the nutritional problem is purely a class-political problem and not a technocratic issue. It will not be solved by growing genetically modified food, just as it was not solved with the “green revolution”.
As Agrolimentary Unions, we should prepare our counterattack in our sector.
We hope that we leave Belgrade with a clear message to take back to our countries and unions, with a common axis for the future activities.
Finally, on behalf of the WFTU we wish good success to the works of the Meeting and we express our thanks to the comrades of Serbia who host this important European Meeting.