The year that is coming to its end has been another year of important struggles in the long history of the WFTU. The 18th World Trade Union Congress that took place in Rome, Italy on 6-8 May 2022 under the slogan “United we continue for the satisfaction of our contemporary needs – Against Imperialist-Capitalist barbarity”, undoubtedly constitutes a great milestone for the international class-oriented trade union movement. This historic 18th congress has reiterated the aneti-imperialist and antifascist character of the WFTU and its commitment to the struggle for the liberation of the working class from the capitalist shackles.
The year 2022 marked by the sharpening of imperialists’ competition to control global resources and markets. The Russia invasion and the war in Ukraine undermines the inalienable right of the peoples to live in peace, triggering at the same time serious repercussions and affecting the working-class living conditions globally.
The USA, the EU and NATO, attempt to present the situation as a war between liberalism and authoritarianism, hopping that this way, their own criminal role can be hushed up. But this dirty role is clearly visible in so many imperialist wars and interventions: Palestine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yugoslavia, Cyprus, and so many other places as well as in the embargos in Cuba and Venezuela and so many sanctions and economic wars. Peace is not being protected by even more militarism or patronage of all kinds of far-right nationalists and fascists. Peace cannot be based on blockades, sanctions, and economic wars.
The WFTU fights for permanent and stable peace, for the dissolution of NATO and all military coalitions and for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
As the imperialist wars continue, workers all over the globe, exhausted after the Covid-19 pandemic, are facing once again the consequences of a new capitalist crisis. The uncontrollable increase of the prices; especially the prices rise of the necessary goods for daily life, as well the “energy poverty”, is another way to cut salaries and to protect and increase profits. In this way, not only the bill of the pandemic and the economic crisis but also the war of NATO with Russia in Ukraine, they want to be paid by the working class, the pensioners, the farmers, and the poorer part of the self-employed people.
The working class all over the world with its relentless struggles refuses to pay for the capitalist crisis and the imperialist wars. The WFTU affiliates are at the forefront of these struggles demanding the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the workers at all levels: salary, employment, social security, culture.
During the last months, it was the struggles and mobilizations of trade unions that stood in the way of anti-people policies that wanted workers voiceless, and submissive. On uncounted occasions, thousands of workers took to the streets giving strength and optimism to all to break that climate of fear, intimidation, and repression. Fighting for free and inclusive healthcare for all, respect and implementation of the democratic and trade union freedoms, an immediate increase of wages and pensions, protection of workers’ purchasing power and living standards, and for the satisfaction of the popular strata interests.
The arrest of the recently elected Secretary General of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Luca Visentini, for scandal linked with the cover-up of terrible crimes committed against thousands of workers, brings to the surface one more time the necessity to intensify the struggles to protect the autonomy and the class orientation of the Trade Unions, away from bureaucracy, corruption, and manipulation by the capital and employers. The incorporation to the neoliberal, anti-labour policies, the absence of a substantial reaction, clearly coexists with the corruption.
The World Federation of Trade Unions and its hundred affiliates from 133 countries of the 5 continents, representing more than 105 million workers, will remain the pioneers of the working-class, at the forefront of struggles, armed with the decisions of its 18th World Trade Union Congress and with its militant history as a beacon.
It will intensify the coordination and struggle for:
– The continuation of massification and the upward course recorded by the class-oriented trade union movement in recent years.
– The coordination of the action and struggles of the organized class-oriented Trade Union movement throughout the world and supplying it with the necessary information and tools that will make the struggles even more prepared and effective.
– The further development of internationalist solidarity, cooperation and joint coordinated action of the peoples and the workers with the class unions in each country as a front.
– The deepening of the intervention in the International Organizations in which the WFTU participates with the aim of more effectively projecting the demands and interests of the working class.
– In the struggle against discrimination of all forms and the highlighting of the particular issues concerning working women and young workers.
– In the preparation of the health and safety of workers and the working environment, as well as sustainable human development with climate change at the forefront.
As we get ready to welcome the year 2023, we are confident that the international class-oriented trade union movement is ready and well-prepared to pave the way for future struggles, for the defense of workers’ interests and the satisfaction of their contemporary needs. For a world without imperialistic wars and interventions, without any kind of discrimination and man-by-man exploitation.
Happy and militant New Year,
United We Continue.