Pescara Italy, June 7-8, 2013
I convey to you fraternal Greetings from the 86 million members of the World Federation of Trade Unions who live, work and struggle in 120 countries around the world.
We wish you every success in your resolutions for the benefit of the Italian working class, the workers of Europe and the world.
I am especially honored and glad to participate in the first Congress of your Organization. USB is already a significant and respected affiliate amongst the class-oriented members of the WFTU.
Allow me from here, from Italy, to express our solidarity to the Working class and the people of Turkey who is fighting for democracy and trade union freedoms, who is asking for satisfaction of its just demands.
We condemn the barbarity of Turkish police and Turkish Government and we call for the immediate satisfaction of the workers demands.
Your Congress brings a wind of hope for the workers of Italy, for the workers of Europe, for the workers of the world.
Your Congress marks a new period in the class-oriented movement in Europe. A period where the workers will give new life to the trade unions and will regain them again by eliminating the reformist, sold-out bureaucratic leadership that has been weakening the trade union movement in Europe for decades.
The foundation of USB is a strike against the Italian trade union bureaucracy, against the Italian trade union careerism.
The successful and hard efforts you are doing over the last years in Italy, together with the efforts in various other countries particularly from the Northern part of Europe prove that the working people are in need for unions that are controlled by worker and denounce the policy of the European Union, the IMF and the European governments (conservative and social-democratic), unions that have democratic functioning and class-orientation.
The workers in Europe need unions that will unite the working class and the popular strata to struggle for the contemporary needs against imperialism and capitalist exploitation.
This is the message that you send today to all the workers in Italy and the world: “Workers of Europe rise up. Organize and struggle for your own interests!”
The way you have chosen is a difficult one; it demands many sacrifices and struggles. But for the working people this is the only way. We must move faster ahead with more determination and persistence.
Each one of you has big responsibility. Collectively we must analyze the situation, to arrive to the correct conclusions, to understand our strengths and weaknesses and to underline the main directions for the national and international class oriented trade union movement.
With these conclusions we must go out at the industries, at the strategic sectors of the economy, at the work-places were the most hard working people are, at the work-places were the youth, the women, the migrant workers are working. We must do the best we can to organize them, to give them strength, hope and class-conscience.
It is our duty with our militant example, with our spirit against the employers in the workplaces, with our initiatives to move forward.
In this difficult struggle you have brothers around the world who are on your side, who are supporting you, who will express their solidarity to your struggles by every mean possible. Your brothers in the WFTU class-oriented family! Those trade unions who also face the same difficulties with you and are organizing similar struggles with you in their respective countries.
WFTU has a long experience. It is now 68 years since the establishment of the WFTU on October 3, 1945 in Paris as a child of the anti-fascist victory. The WFTU has always been the organization playing a leading role against the imperialists and their dirty attacks against the peoples of the world. There is no corner of the world where the WFTU has not been present, standing always on the side of the weak, always on the side of the people, always with the working class, in the struggles against capitalist exploitation.
Today the coordination of the trade union movement in international level and the strengthening of the class-oriented line within the trade union movement is very crucial, realistic and necessary.
Today, it is impossible not to understand that in one side there are markets full of goods, enormous wealth produced by the workers, wealth in the hands of the few, fast development in science and technology that could provide solutions to the people’s problems; on the other side there is destruction of the productive forces: factories are closing down, extreme unemployment is going up, there is poverty, misery, hunger, labour and social problems that increase.
Today, it is impossible not to see that there is possibility for prosperity in our societies but at the same time misery is growing. What are the causes?
The fact that capitalism is dead and it is trying to survive in the expense of the popular masses. This is the reason for the increase of imperialist aggression and wars for the natural resources and the control of their roads of transport. The capitalists are trying to recover from the crisis and get back the previous rates of profitability at the expense of the workers and the poor people.
In these catastrophic conditions for the working people, the trade union movement especially in Europe should built a wall of resistance and should organize the militant response of the people against this policy.
For years before the new round of capitalist financial crisis, the reformist-yellow trade unions played a role of undermining and weakening the massiveness of the working class trade union movement calling for involvement and “cooperation” of the trade unions with the employers, the governments, the International Monetary Fund. They did not participate in militant initiatives (strikes, demonstrations etc), they transformed the trade unions into bureaucratic structures, by taking the side of the employers against of any militant voice at the primary level-factories, enterprises, working places. They signed plenty of agreements/contracts, not only below the actual needs of the working class, but also below the level of inflation, and as a result they contributed to intensify more the exploitation of the workers.
They created fatalism to accept for example the reduction of payments or of working hours in order to avoid losing the job. So, when the capitalist financial crisis started an important part of the workers who followed such trade unionist leaderships were unable to react to the attack of the capital against their rights. These yellow trade unions continued to follow the line of class-collaboration.
The workers will say: “yes we agree, but what do you propose?”
The international capitalist crisis is a great opportunity for the workers to understand their strength, to organize their own struggle, to bring forward their own priorities and their own needs, for their social and economic development.
We must realize and be certain today, that for the workers benefit we need to project an alternative mode of production. To organize struggles for a different development that will satisfy the peoples’ needs. It is an opportunity for the socialization of the means of production, for the central planning in the production and for the workers social control to be realized.
This can only be achieved by a popular front lead by the working class that will unite the workers, the poor farmers and the self-employed to clash with the monopolies, the imperialists and their mechanisms in every country and region;
To organize coordinated struggles on regional level, sectoral level and international level. To dissolve the illusions and at the same time to be ideologically, politically and organizationally prepared for hard class struggles.
This is our way forward. This is necessary. This is realistic!
This is our task. And we will be victorious!
I wish full of success to your founding Congress. And we thank the USB Italy leadership who has been committed to host beginning of 2014 the Annual Meeting of the WFTU Presidential Council; important trade union leaders from 40 countries of the world will have the chance to meet with USB from close and with your struggles.