Dear Comrades, friends and colleagues,
I am extremely happy to be here in Lima in Peru to participate in this first Conference of Bank Trade Unions of Latin America – Conferencia Latinoamerica de Sindicatos Bancarios. Firstly I greet you and bring warm greetings from the World Federation of Trade Unions/ Federacion Syndical Mundial and Trade Union International of banks insurance and Finance Unions (TUIBIFU) and wish this first congress a great success.
I feel greatly honoured with your invitation and feel privileged to attend your Congress today which is the result of lot of efforts by all of you. I must thank Com Valentine Pacho for the continuous initiatives taken by him in making this Congress possible. I also wish to congratulate SUTBAN – Syndicato Unitario de Trabajadores del Banco de la Nacion – for hosting this very important congress in Peru. I am happy that leaders and delegates from various countries of Latin America like Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Argentina, Panama and others are participating in this Congress besides delegates from Peru.
As all of you know that our FSM – WFTU – World Federation of Trade Unions is the first international trade union for the working people in the world founded on 3rd October, 1945. It is the only international trade union that can claim to be truly militant, united, democratic, modern and class oriented organisation for the workers of the world. Today, WFTU/FSM represents more than ninety million workers belonging to all continents and representing 126 countries. Ideologically, WFTU is a trade union committed to fight against exploitation of man by man. Politically, WFTU stands out against capitalism which is the root cause for all types of exploitation of workers. Organisationally, WFTU believes in the unity of workers of the world, in all countries, in all sectors, and to stand by the workers at all times. WFTU is an uncompromising champion and crusader for workers’ dignity and rights. That is why WFTU is special and unique.
Dear fighting brothers and sisters, the trade unions and workers the world over are passing through a tough period at this juncture. Because capitalism is in deep crisis, there is attempt everywhere to pass on the burden of the crises on the shoulders of the countries, their people and particularly on the workers. Because trade unions are fighting against these attacks, trade union movement has become a special target of the capitalists. That is why we observe attacks on trade unions everywhere.
As you know the main objective of capitalists is to maintain and maximize profits. In order to earn more profits, they are denying eligible wages to workers, increasing working hours, preventing decent job conditions and job security, outsourcing and contractualising permanent and perennial jobs with lesser emoluments, refusing basic trade union rights and right to collective bargaining.
Dear comrades, unless we are united, we cannot fight these attacks. That is why WFTU/FSM is organizing workers of all countries, to mobilise them and to enable unions and workers to fight against these capitalist exploitations.
In this, brothers and sisters, banking and financial sector is very crucial. Banking is the main sector of the economy. Banks deal with public money. They deal with people’s money. Banks may belong to the capitalist but money in the Banks belongs to the people. Because of capitalist crisis, there is economic crisis. Because of economic crisis, there is banking and financial sector crisis. We have witnessed in many countries that capitalists are responsible for this crisis in the banks and workers in the banks have paid the price. They have lost their jobs. They have lost their wages and wages have been reduced. Social security, pension benefits are affected. Hence it is very important to save the banks and bank workers from the crisis.
Latin America is a very important continent where imperialists and capitalists have played with the nations and the people for a long time. But the people and workers in Latin America have played a great role in resisting these attacks. In the last decade, Latin America has shown the world that it is possible to fight and achieve success. Impressive gains have been achieved in various countries in Latin America. Your struggles and success have been a great inspiration to the people and workers the world over. From World Federation of Trade Unions we convey our greetings to you and express our solidarity with all of you and promise full support in all your struggles,
WFTU/FSM has organized banking and finance sector employees under a separate International Union that is TUI BIFU. Under our BIFU we have unions from Asia, Africa, Middle East, Europe and Latin America. We have to further strengthen our BIFU. We have to be more strong, more united, more militant in the period ahead.
I am happy that our Bank and Finance sector unions in Latin America have taken the lead today. I hope this Congress today will help us to go forward. I greet all of you once again and wish your Congress all success. I thank Com Pacho, Com Pena and all the comrades who have organized this Congress.
Let us fight together. Capitalism is our main enemy. Capitalists are responsible for all our problems. They are challenging our ability to fight. Let us fight together and show them that we shall fight back all challenges. We want a better society. We want a better world. We believe that socialism is the alternative. Let us fight my dear comrades and ensure that future belongs to workers.
We find that our problems are the same and common. We also find that the enemy is also common. So our struggles have to be common. Only then face the challenges successfully. This conference should be a beginning but this unity and co-ordination has to continue in the coming years. That is very important.
Back in India, at the moment we are engaged in a big fight against the attacks on labour rights, attacks on jobs and job security, against privatization, against outsourcing and we are fighting for collective bargaining rights for all. We are fighting for more jobs. There will be a strike in India by 200 million workers. In India also we face similar problems like you. I will carry your support and solidarity for the Indian workers.
Strengthen WFTU, Strengthen TUI BIFU, Strengthen your Unions, strengthen yourselves. All glory to your unity and struggles. There is no alternative to unity and struggle. There is no shortcut to achieve success. Fight and you will succeed. The great hero Che Guevara said that revolution is not an apple to fall from the tree on its own. For changes, we have to fight and struggle. Fight against capitalism is unavoidable and inevitable, whether you like it or not. But when you fight, you can succeed.
Long live our unity Long live our struggles
Long live Federacion Syndical Mundial
Thanks very much