On the occasion of the 9th National Congress of NEHAWU held in Johannesburg last September 27-29, 2010, the WFTU General Secretary visited South Africa and addressed the Congress. The speech of comrade General Secretary was received with great interest and enthusiasm by all delegates.
On September 27th an international seminar was held in the framework of the Congress with the participation of many international delegates from different countries. The main objectives for the seminar were:
1. To give an opportunity to delegates to interact with and understand the WFTU as well as the Trade Union International of Public and Allied Employees
2. To exchange experiences on the issues of global capital and the imperialist agenda and how this affects the working class
3. To discuss issues of the Cuban revolution and Cuban solidarity
4. To give delegates an opportunity to do an analysis of the impacts of the global economic crisis on jobs, poverty, human rights and trade union rights.
5. Enable a platform to look into problems of human rights, and democracy on the African Continent,
6. The recommendations of the seminar will feed into the congress resolutions.
This seminar was also an occasion to celebrate the WFTU 65th Anniversary.
Below you can read the speech delivered by the WFTU General Secretary comrade George Mavrikos in NEHAWU 9th National Congress:
Speech of the WFTU General Secretary in NEHAWU 9th National Congress
South Africa, September 27, 2010
Dear comrades. Dear colleagues.
Dear General Secretary of the South Africa Communist Party.
Dear comrade Fikile General Secretary of NEHAWU and comrade Lulamile 1st Deputy President of NEHAWU
President of COSATU.
Dear friends from the COSATU leadership.
We bring you here the militant, class oriented greetings of the big family of WFTU. Of our eighty million members from one hundred twenty countries of the world.
We wish your Congress a big success for the benefit of your sector. For the benefit of all your colleagues who took part in your big strike. In this hard and very important strike. In your continuous class oriented struggle.
The 9th NEHAWU Congress takes place in a period crucial for the world’s working class. We live in a period of deep crisis of capitalism. In the USA, in Japan, in the European Union, the economic crisis is deep. The imperialist centers are in the center of the crisis.
-the total public debt of the USA is twelve trillion Dollars
-the total public debt of Japan is 10 trillion Dollars
-many smaller capitalist countries such as Greece, Lithuania, Hungary, Bulgaria, Portugal, have a public debt that overcomes the hundred percent of their GDP.
-In the USA, seven million job positions have been lost since the beginning of the crisis.
– In Spain the unemployment is 23%. In Greece last year it was eight point seven percent, this year is 13 percent and the official unemployment will reach 20%.
The capital, the capitalists, in this period of crisis are becoming more aggressive. More cruel.
Their Governments, both the neo-conservatives and the social-democratic ones hit the rights of workers.
In Greece and Hungary they cut the salaries by fifteen percent.
In France, in Italy, in Britain the privatizations are generalized.
Everywhere the retirement ages are raised.
They privatize health, education, social security.
In addition, the economic crisis of capitalist system is giving birth to strong intra-capitalist and intra-imperialist competitions. The aggression of imperialism is dangerously increased.
This is capitalism.
Unemployment and poverty.
Barbarity and exploitation.
But can this social system give solutions in favor of people? No.
Can capitalism acquire a more human face? No.
Can this exploitation system become the future for us and for our children? No. It can’t be. It is impossible.
The future of humanity , the future of working class is socialism. Only socialism.
The big struggles of class oriented trade unions, the big strikes in Europe, in Greece, in France, in Portugal, in Turkey, in Asia, in India, in Pakistan, in Bangladesh, prove that the working class has its own proposals. It has its aims.
The WFTU celebrates this year 65 years since its foundation, in October 3, 1945.
We are proud of the history of WFTU. 65 years of class oriented struggles. Always on the side of people who fight for their national independence, for freedom and social progress. Struggles against racism, against Apartheid.
You know that in the International Trade Union arena there are two trade union centers. One is the WFTU which was founded in 1945 as I told you already, and the other is the ITUC which was called ICFTU when founded in 1949 and five years ago in its Congress in Vienna changed its name into ITUC.
These two international organizations are expressing two different worlds inside the trade unions. They express two different views.
On the one side, the WFTU believes in the principles of class struggles and on the other the ITUC that believes in class cooperation and in the policies of the IMF.
On the one side is the WFTU, that supports the Cuban Revolution, Venezuela and Palestine and on the other, the ITUC that supports Israel, that slanders Cuba, that slanders Hugo Chavez.
On the one side is the WFTU, that struggles for the reversal of capitalism and on the other is the ITUC, that aims to modernize capitalism.
The basic tool of ITUC is money and the buying of trade unionists.
The basic tool of WFTU is our ideology, our policy, our history and the proletarian internationalism.
Today the WFTU resides in 120 countries. And we move ahead.
We are now preparing our 16th World Trade Union Congress to take place in Athens in Greece on April 6-10, 2011.
We invite all the class oriented trade unions.
We address an open invitation to all.
In the 16th World Trade Union Congress we wish that NEHAWU, NUMSA, CEPPHAWU, the Miners, all the federations of the heroic COSATU to play the first role.
Because the WFTU is our family. Until 2011, the WFTU together with our members and friends in South Africa, is willing to found a WFTU Regional Office. We ask for your help.
And until April 2011 we wish together with our brothers in South Africa and other trade unions to organize a World Trade Union Conference of Solidarity with the Palestinian People. Because today the USA imperialists are pressing the Palestinian people to accept the terms of Israel.
We have the internationalist duty to stand again stable on the side of the fair struggle of the Palestinian people.
Dear friends, to finish, I wish you a big success in your congress.
Long live the Proletarian Internationalism.
Long live NEHAWU.
Long live the Working Class.