With this letter, we want to express the need for the contribution of the labor movement in the coordination and joint action with the movement of pensioners and retirees in each country.
We believe that this process is a prerequisite for the unity and strengthening of the popular workers’ movement at both national and international level, regarding the common problems faced by workers and pensioners who even if they no longer work, they do not lose their class characteristics but also their spirit of struggle as has been proven and confirmed where there is a movement of retirees.
Life experience confirms this observation where the workers-popular-pensioners movement has developed this common action.
The course of both the capitalist crisis and capitalist development, as well as the problems created by the pandemic and the efforts of the governments at the request of the capitalists to overcome their problems to the detriment of the working class, the pensioners and all the popular strata without discrimination, show us the path that the class movement is already following, but which there is still the need and the duty to strengthen today.
After all, the pensioners who may be on the margins of work but not on the margins of struggle can speak out in a militant way through their organization in pensioners unions. The pensioners’ movement (where it exists) has a wealth of experience which can mobilize pensioners and shed light on a number of issues that will strengthen the struggle of the working class movement.
It is necessary that all the forces of the movement act immediately because the problems that we have before us because of the anti-worker – anti-popular – anti-pension policies demanded by the exploitative system, will continue. And they will continue because this system has no choice but to implement its destructive policies to the detriment of all popular strata and also the retirees to line the pockets of the big capitalist business groups during the periods of both capitalist crises and capitalist growth.
Appreciating the action of the pensioners’ movement where there are organized unions, we call on the workers’ unions to give the necessary attention and assistance within their countries, to the organization of the pensioners, taking into account the difficulties and problems of each country.
On this basis we should appreciate and deal with the following problems as they appear:
- There are countries which effectively prohibit the organization and functioning of the pensioners’ movement.
- Countries where its action is authorized but where the necessary measures have not been taken by our unions as well as the corresponding initiatives to this effect. Indeed, the formation of unions for pensioners is not at the heart of our trade unions.
- Countries where the movement of pensioners is organized and has an action, but does not have contact and joint action with the popular workers’ movement.
- Countries where the movement of pensioners is an integral part of the action and organization of the popular workers’ movement with great reciprocal results in action.
Taking these aspects into account (perhaps there are others), we believe that the participation and joint action of pensioners with the working class movement is necessary. Labor veterans cannot be considered veterans of the struggle by the class trade union movement.
On this basis, we recognize that the trade union movement must give weight to the organization and effective cooperation with the movement of pensioners.
This is the reason why we formally ask each of the 330 member unions of the WFTU to designate and have direct contact with the TUI of pensioners, either through the pensioners’ organization of their union, or at least through an individual who will act as contact if a structure affiliated with the TUI of pensioners does not exist.
Firstly, where there is a movement of pensioners, we must ensure the good cooperation and joint action with the workers movement with joint initiatives of struggle, gatherings, coordination and exchange of experiences. We must formulate common demands on questions and problems of wider social and economic importance, such as questions of economy, social security, health, rest, housing, nursing homes, culture, as well as other actions which are not to be dictated by us through this letter.
What we especially want to underline is the need to organize this action through a general work plan. In each country in question, this plan can be enriched according to the experience of the class movement but also the possibilities that exist there.
Where there is no cooperation and common action, the trade union movement could help create pensioners’ unions starting with pioneer unionists when they retire.
All over the world, the class unions of the WFTU must give special importance to the participation of women in the trade unionist action, as well as their election to the leadership and organs of the unions, the promotion and assertion of demands on the particular problems that women face.
As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the WFTU this year and in honor of the history of our struggles, let us further strengthen the TUI of Pensioners and Retirees with our participation in all daily struggles big and small.
We honor 75 years of FSM by strengthening our TUI.
The President of the TUI of Pensioners and Retirees
The General Secretary of the TUI of Pensioners and Retirees
The WFTU General Secretary