Yesterday, October 2, PAME held a play in a theater in central Athens. The play represented was The Chalk Circle by Bertolt Brecht and it was dedicated to the 66th Anniversary of the founding of the WFTU. Before the start of the play, the WFTU General Secretary addressed the public. Below you can read some extracts from his speech entitled “What is the WFTU”.
“… The World Federation of Trade Unions was founded in Paris on October 3, 1945. It is the oldest international trade union organization and founder of the International Labour Organization (ILO). It follows the line of the class-oriented trade union movement and it struggles against capitalism and imperialism for a society without exploitation of man by man. Currently it has 80 million members in 120 countries. Its structure, its organization, its leadership consists of: Ö World Trade Union Congress ÖPresidential Council ÖSecretariat. From 1945 until 1953 it was based in Paris, France. In 1953-1956 the headquarters were in Vienna, Austria. In 1956-2005 the headquarters were in Prague, Czechoslovakia. From January 2006 until today it is headquartered in Athens, Greece. It has a regional office in each continent and also a Trade Unions International (TUI) in all major sectors. Throughout its course so far, the WFTU played a main role in the struggles against apartheid, against racism, the struggle against colonialism, against the policy of the governments of U.S., NATO, Israel and its allies; against the barbarism of capitalism. It was at the forefront in the conquest of all labor and union rights.
The WFTU since 1945 until now always had a clear position on the developments. It was always in favor of condemning the Nazis in World War II, it was in favor of the Chinese Revolution, against dictatorships and military regimes, it supported the movement of nonaligned countries, the struggle of the Vietnamese people in the great victory against the Yankees, the struggles of South Africa and the Third World against colonialism and apartheid. Along with the Arabs, with the people of Egypt in the struggle for the Suez Canal, along with the Cuban Revolution, with the Bolivarian Process. It paved the way for the rights of workers, women, young workers, free public education, health, social rights. We fight against illiteracy, against the plundering of natural resources in the Third World at the hands of transnational corporations and monopolies. Always on the side of the Palestinian people, the people of Lebanon, Syria, Swaziland, Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan that suffer the imperialist interventions of the U.S., EU, NATO and its allies. We are proud of the history of the WFTU. We are proud of its 66 years of life and action.
The basic principles of the WFTU are: Democratic functioning – elections for all bodies at all levels. Internationalist orientation – International solidarity, internationalism. Struggle for peace and friendship between peoples – against imperialist wars. To defense the right of every people, every working class to decide for themselves about their present and future. The country’s natural resources belong to the people and workers in the country. The WFTU is opposed to privatization. Unity of the working class – Partnership with the poor peasants, the landless, the intellectuals. Involve young people, women and migrant workers in life, action and administration of trade unions. Priority to health and safety issues for workers, quality of life and the environment in general. Top priority inside transnational corporations and the organization of international coordination and working-class solidarity. To hit careerism, elitism, bureaucracy, the purchase of consciences – corruption. The right of all workers to public and free healthcare, education and social security. Continuous improvement of living standards, wages and pensions. The WFTU as a class-oriented trade union organization reinforces criticism, self-criticism and comradely emulation among leaders and members. It struggles for trade union and democratic freedoms. It is against state violence, authoritarianism and persecution of trade unionists. It is against the neo-fascism and racism. It organizes trade union seminars and training.The WFTU has permanent representatives at the international organizations: United Nations: New York, UNESCO: Paris, FAO: Rome, International Labour Organization: Geneva. It struggles through these bodies, always defending the interests of workers and it highlights the monopoly that exists within these organizations.v
Recently, the WFTU held the 16th World Trade Union Congress in Athens, attended by 828 delegates from 101 countries. 105 delegates took the floor and major decisions were voted on all current demands of workers. The Conference elected the new 40-member Presidential Council by secret ballot.
You can also join forces with the big fighting family of the World Federation of Trade Unions.
In 1949 trade unionists from the U.S. and the United Kingdom tried to dissolve the WFTU without success. Led by the CIA, they left the WFTU and formed the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU). This organization was an organ of the imperialist monopolies. They supported, for example, dictatorships in Cuba, Chile, Guatemala, Nicaragua, Greece, Spain, Portugal; they supported apartheid, supported Israel against the Arabs, the U.S. war against Vietnam, supported the NATO war in Yugoslavia, Iraq, etc. In 2006 it was renamed as International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the renamed organization supported Israel’s war against Lebanon, it supported the war in Afghanistan, it supports the imperialist intervention against the people of Libya, it is an ally of the G8, the IMF, of transnational corporations and the World Bank. It slanders Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivia and its strategy is aligned to the U.S. and the United Kingdom. They fight for the longevity of capitalism … ”