The WFTU is participating in the 16th National NUM Congress with a delegation composed by Emil Olsen, construction worker from Denmark and Coordinator of WFTU Youth Secretariat, Lulamile Sotaka Presidential Council member and Head of the WFTU Regional Office South Africa, Anda Anastasaki WFTU Head-office General Coordinator and George Bazionis WFTU Head office.
Today on June 22nd Emil Olsen took the floor and addressed the delegates. Below you can read his speech:
“Dear comrades, brothers and sisters.
We salute the whole leadership of the heroic NUM. Please also allow us to congratulate the General Secretary, David Sipunzi, who was elected as Vice President and member of the World Federation of Trade Unions’ Presidential Council, during the 17th World Trade Union Congress.
For us, the young trade unionists of the class-oriented family of the WFTU, the speeches of comrade David Sipunzi in Zimbabwe, Iran, Vietnam and Cuba are ideological lessons. We study his speeches, we read their analysis which help us become better militants against imperialism and capitalist barbarity.
Comrade David Sipunzi,
As Coordinator of the WFTU Working Youth Committee and as a construction worker from Denmark, we thank you for your internationalism and action. Leaders like him, who have prestige and respect in their country, in Africa as a continent but also in the international trade union arena, are examples to be followed by all of us.
Be strong and healthy for NUM’s members, strong for all Africans and internationalist for all continents!
In addition, dear friends and colleagues, please allow us to underline that, for the WFTU, the relations with the heroic COSATU are deep and solid. We are going to move on together, with mutual respect and fraternal spirit, for the final victory of the working class, for socialism, international peace and friendship between all peoples.
It is with our greatest attention and respect for the South African people’s heroic struggle that on behalf of WFTU, representing millions of workers from all over the world, we greet you at your congress.
From Tokyo to Los Angeles and from Sydney to Copenhagen, WFTU is the only international trade union organization who is on the side of the working class.
Therefore, it is a great honour to be with you here as a representative of WYC at your important congress. You, the South African miners enjoy respect throughout the world for your strong position in this country’s proud story.
Comrades, meeting with our brothers and sisters face to face throughout the world is our DNA in WFTU. That’s because our principles of unity, internationalism, democracy and being a militant and fighting organization are so crucial to the role of unions in this era. Only by discussing with our brothers and sisters worldwide will our principles become even stronger and our strengths more crucial.
In this era, there is a particularly great need for us, as a class, to come closer to each other. Even though our working terms and conditions may look different in many ways, the exploitation is greater and worldwide trend is a general decline. And most importantly, we do not enjoy the wealth we create every day with our hands. Therefore, it is important that we in WFTU strengthen the young, women and migrant workers. Especially because these groups will be put on hard tests in the future class struggle. Great efforts are already made by WFTU to strengthen and coordinate our struggles since our congress here in South Africa. (Youth congress in Rome, Women’s congress in Panama)
Dear comrades, brothers and sisters of the NUM,
The World Federation of Trade Unions since its foundation until today has been moving on and advancing based upon the following principles and values:
– The Unity of the working class
– The internationalism and the international solidarity
– We fight for democracy and socialism
– We are against imperialist wars
– We are against the plundering of Africa by multinationals
We have good reason to be optimistic that, united in the base and in a militant way, we can all together live in a better world. Africa is the continent with the richest natural resources.
– But who are the ones who get rich from African diamonds?
– Who make themselves rich from the African gold? From Africa’s coffee, natural gas, its seas and earth?
It is the multinationals, monopolies and capitalists.
So, there is only one solution. We have to unite in the base and to claim all the wealth which belong to us.
Unity for struggle – Unity for a better life.
Unity for better salaries – for better pensions.
This way, the WFTU, whose trade unions exist in every corner of the world, stands on your side in this militant unity.
And we shout out loud with you to all employers and multinationals:
– Satisfy now NUM’s demands!
– Resolve now all problems! Now, not tomorrow!
In order to achieve a class and militant unity like this, it is necessary to improve every day both our ideological and theoretical level. We have a big weapon in our hands: the Marxist theory which is the theory of the world working class.
We need trade union training which is going to teach workers how to fight and not how to bend the knee before capitalists.
We need trade union training which is going to strengthen the class consciousness of workers and not to push them to the muddy waters of reformism.
The WFTU is ready to provide this kind of lessons, seminars and workshops, this kind of trade union training to the NUM.
We have already organized this kind of seminars with NEHAWU and POPCRU and we are ready to organize a common program with the NUM.
A basic principle of the WFTU is proletarian internationalism and internationalist solidarity. Today, on this very day that we are discussing, Israeli army assassinates and murders Palestinians. They trespass the heroic land of Palestine. On this very day that we are discussing, in Libya, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and Iraq, US imperialists along with their allies and the European Union attack and murder in order to steal the countries’ natural resources, to build new spheres of influence and trace new borders.
We must all together unite our voice with every people who resists and demand the immediate stop of imperialist interventions; to be put an end to imperialist wars so that all refugees return to their homes.
From this platform, we want to say to the people of Cuba and Palestine that they are not alone. We all stand on their side until the final victory. We are all Palestinians. We are all Cubans.
Long live internationalist solidarity!
Long live the world working class!
NUM Brothers and sisters,
At the end of this brief greeting, please allow us to express once more the WFTU’s respect to the thousands of apartheid victims. We express our respect towards the heroic struggle of the SACP, we bow our heads before our unforgettable comrade Vice president of the WFTU, Moses Mabhida, honoring our long and common path, our common and hard struggles.
We are hereby committed, in front of every one of you by saying:
We have always been and will continue to be on your side.
Long live the NUM!
Long live the WFTU!
Long live Internationalism!”