Last year the same meeting was held for the first time and we had all agreed to meet us again to exchange views, thoughts, reviews, and to coordinate our actions on the current issues faced by the working class in key industries.This year is the second time we meet this way and this period has two characteristics that must be borne in mind. The first is the crisis of the capitalist system and the second is the preparation of the 16th World Trade Union Conference to be held April 6 to 10, 2011 in Athens.
A. The financial crisis – the branch organizations of the WFTUThe economic crisis did not occur randomly or is the result of bad handling of some governments. The economic crisis is a crisis of the capitalist system, it is deep, will last and will bring negative effects on the working class in total. The exit from this crisis, whenever this might happen, will be sluggish, weak and temporary. The crisis will come back.
In circumstances of crisis, governments neo-conservative or social- democrats are trying to load the burden on workers: unemployment, poverty, layoffs, black employment, privatization, commercialization of public services such as health, education, transport, social security etc.
All sectors of strategic importance are facing problems because of this policy of the capital. The capital tries to exploit the crisis to concentrate all production in the hands of few, to achieve the centralization of capital, while it gains from the crisis.
So in such a landscape, the role of TUI’s is major. Their role is multiple. The key tasks should be:
– To analyze the crisis in their sector based on Marxist theory. To show workers in their sector the ideological, political and social characteristics of the crisis. To give an ideological weapon to employees. To insist on the motto “WE WILL NOT PAY THEIR CRISIS”.
– To coordinate the forces and friends of the WFTU. To organize the sectoral struggles. To organize internationalist solidarity in practice. To help those in struggles in moral and material way. To embrace all workers, all specialties in their sector.
– To promote positions with perspective of exit from the crisis, in favor of workers at the expense of capital. To cultivate the perception that capitalism is rotten, cannot provide solutions to benefit the working class. To submit proposals for immediate solutions, immediate action, while stressing that the real solution is a world without capitalist exploitation.
In the sectors of strategic importance in the last 10 years serious internal upheavals have been made. Acquisitions are made, mergers, alliances, conflicts, intra-capitalist rivalries, regional rivalries, etc. The TUI’s of the WFTU as class oriented tools and cadres should be familiar with their sector, to analyze the reality, to promptly inform their members.
There is a big and immediate need for a better action within multinationals. To coordinate our forces, to be present, to not let workers in multinationals isolated and alone to face the aggressiveness of large multinational employers.
– To promote, raise the industry to the positions of the WFTU. To reveal the role and nature of the ITUC. Not to hide their face. To highlight the history of the class oriented trade union movement and the history of WFTU. To use arguments and concrete examples of who we are and why we fight.
– To bring new members to the family of WFTU. This is a core task of TUI’s and too often this task is forgotten.
Some of our TUI’s are working well under these specific objectives. Some others are still far behind their potential. We need all of us to move forward and have even better results. Without doubt we have made steps of progress over the past 5 years. But we need to move with quicker steps and to be bolder. We need to set up new TUI’s in critical sectors of the manufacturing process.
B. In front of the 16th World Trade Union Congress
The Presidential Council of the WFTU has decided the 16th Congress to be open, democratic, class-based Congress of the international working class. So now we get all the necessary steps to achieve our goals. Thousands of suggestions have arrived at headquarters, hundreds of pages of proposals, of texts, of thoughts, etc. The success of the 16th Congress is a collective responsibility of us all.
The struggles that currently are being developed in France, Portugal, India, Germany, Brazil, South Africa, Greece, England, Pakistan, Palestine, and the struggles of the last five years should send their air and spirit in our Congress.
It is important for the class-oriented trade union movement, for us, for its cadres to have always clear in our heads what kind of Congresses we should do. For example last June the ITUC held its Congress in Vancouver, Canada. But it wasn’t a labor Congress, it was a Congress of mechanisms, of bureaucrats, without democratic elections, with no parity, with decisions which were taken by 4-5 people long before the Congress.
We, the current leadership of the WFTU along with all our members and friends we will organize a Labor Congress. A militant Congress. In our Congress the hearts of workers, of poor people, of homeless, landless, immigrants, young people and women will beat.
In the last five years the entire WFTU family has organized major international, thematic, sectoral and regional conferences. We ask all our sectoral organizations to continue and persist their Congresses in the sectors to be useful ideological, organizational and trade union big events. To be open to discuss all the issues:
1) The TUI’s of the WFTU needs open, democratic and class-oriented Congresses that will discuss with critical spirit the action of the past five years and the current problems under conditions of capitalist globalization. Their Congresses needs to adopt resolutions that will reflect the current priorities for the millions of members of the sector.
2) Their leadership needs to be elected under objective criteria such as:
– To be members of the sector and militant ones, men and women, of all ages, no matter of their color, race, etc.
– To represent big and alive trade union organizations, that is, unions with action.
– To be able to organize activities, to be class-oriented and experienced.
– To be democratic, uniting, with collective spirit, resistance and strength to criticism and auto-criticism, to believe and to openly support the WFTU.
-All regions and continents to be taken in consideration.
These criteria will keep us away from subjectivity, from mistakes and bureaucracy. These criteria are a basic crucial tool for our work.
All the above are to be applied to 100% for the Regional Office Congresses and the World Trade Union Congress. We can do everything at practice because there is accumulated rich experience and militant disposition.
Immediate issues for the 16th Congress:
– The TUI’s to register their representatives on time.
– The TUI’s to send their financial support, EUR 5,000 on time (so far financial support is given by the TUI Metal and TUI Hotel-Tourism).
– To send a list of all members with full addresses (email etc) to send them directly from the headquarters all materials and publications of the WFTU.
– To organize debates in their sector for the 16th Congress, to send their Reports to be included in the materials of the Congress. To provide correct and many reports in the Media about the Congress in Athens.
– To participate in the preparation of the documents and make suggestions for their branches.
– To send their proposals for the new leadership of the WFTU in time and make fearless and with comradely spirit criticism for the delays, the failures and mistakes.
– Those who have decided to take the floor in the Congress to be register as speakers in time. (135 speakers are estimated to speak).
WFTU General Secretary