The Secretary of the FSM George Mavrikos participated in the XVII Ordinary Congress of the National Union of Workers of Panama (CNTP), affiliated to the WFTU, which took place on 11-13 November 2011.
Among other issues, the WFTU General Secretary said in his speech:
“Many workers here in Panama and around the world, are following the economic crisis which is strengthened continuously in Europe and throughout the capitalist world. What we must understand is that the crisis is deep and is a crisis of the capitalist system. It covers all countries. It’s not just a debt crisis. It is a systemic crisis.
Started in the U.S., spread t to Europe and is expanding worldwide. In Europe today the crisis deepens in Greece, Portugal and Ireland. Now the phenomenon has expanded in Italy, Spain and France. The crisis creates poverty and unemployment for the people and greater profits for the capital. Today the euro zone countries have 24 million of unemployed. 25% of the unemployed are young and another 25% are women. The situation is getting worse. There isn’t any administrative policy that can resolve the problem. All measures adopted by governments and the EU are in anti-labor line.
In Greece, the last two years have wages been reduced by 45%, pensions have been reduced by 40%, taxes have been increased by 23%, the retirement age has increased for women to 5 years and for men to 2 years. Collective agreements have been abolished and now until the end of the year 30,000 public officials will be laid off and another 75,000 next year. The official unemployment rate in Greece has risen from 8.5% to 17.6% today.
Two days ago, a new prime minister was named, a Greek banker who lived in the U.S until 1985 and for the last five years, is vice president of the European Central Bank. The Prime Minister has the support of all political parties, social democrats and liberal.
The choice of this banker as prime minister shows that the Greek capital, together with the European Union and the U.S. still work on measures against Greek workers. Greek workers react, resist and carry out massive class struggles. They have staged several strikes and keep fighting. In Europe today, we believe that the antagonism between the euro and the dollar, the antagonism between Germany and France, the rivalry with the U.S. have dangerously worsen and lead to conflicts. The attack on Libya, the Middle East situation, the threat of war show that capitalists are many and dangerous, and it is our duty to reveal the imperialist plans.”