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DECLARATION OF THE WFTU TRADE UNION INTERNATIONAL PS&A MID-TERM MEETING
The World Federation of Trade unions (WFTU) Trade Union International Public Services & Allied (TUI-PS&A) convened its mid-term meeting through zoom, on the 30-31 March 2022 to assess progress on the implementation of the TUI XIII Congress Plan of Action and to incorporate new and urgent priorities. We pay tribute to all workers who lost their lives due to the COVID-19 pandemic, those in the frontlines of healthcare provision, who lacked adequate personal protective equipment, working long hours to save lives.
We are building on the continental meetings that took place, in Africa on the 19 February, Latin America on the 17 February, Europe in 16 February, and Asia-Pacific on the 22 February. In all continents, where there are many similarities in trade union activity, common problems prevail in the sector within the concrete peculiarities of each.
The attacks on collective bargaining, the diminution of the right to strike, austerity measures resulting in deep cuts, eroding public sector employment and the privatisation of public entities, corresponds to latest round of the capitalist crisis that broke out in the first decade of the 21st century, affecting millions of workers in every country.
This crisis persisted into the second decade, the crisis of over-accumulation, of over-concentrated wealth in the hands of a few, intensifying through new contradictions, the Covid-19 breakout, leading to the needless loss of over 5 million lives, the geopolitical competition for natural resources and conflicts of imperialist aggression, that in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria killed millions and now a fratricidal war between Russia and Ukraine, a war amongst peoples who for centuries, lived side by side as brothers and sisters.
These are inevitable in the era of the development of capitalism at its imperialist stage, that production within the fundamental law of value, commodity production, leads to increase in military expenditure, the increase in stockpiles of dangerous nuclear armaments, weapons with hypersonic attributes, that kills women and children, deployed in imperialist conflicts, creating immigration and refugees, leading to poverty and unemployment and destroying the productive forces.
The capitalist system of private accumulation, cannot by definition satisfy the peoples most basic material and cultural, needs as the breakout of COVID-19 shows, that bereft of a system of production on the basis of fair" exchange of commodities, humanity is unable to tackle pandemics, to produce life-saving vaccines, to produce medical equipment such as ventilators and personal protective equipment.
When the big pharmaceutical corporations who are in pursuit of profits, at the behest of International finance capital, deny the necessity to eliminate intellectual property protections, death and destruction follows. The capitalists that deny countries to generate local manufacturing capacity, to rapidly produce safe, effective and affordable medical products and vaccines, affects the quality of life of workers and families. The capitalist profit motive aggravates the plight of women, children, youth, workers, immigrants, refugees, the unemployed and the poor.
WFTU 18th World Trade Union Congress
In the framework of the 18th World Trade union Congress of the WFTU, the WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos greeted the mid-term meeting, with militancy, applauding sectoral work, inspiring the affiliates, highlighting the modern characteristics of class-orientation, the demands of our members, that capitalism impedes. In the roadmap to the 18th Congress of the class-oriented trade union movement, the WFTU underlines the Unity of the class-oriented decisions, the importance of the future and struggles to challenge the anti-labour policies of multinational companies and of governments.
The mid-term meeting commends the USB of Italy, the host of the 18th World Trade union congress, to be held in Rome, Italy on the 6-8 May 2022, with the theme, “For the satisfaction of contemporary needs. Against imperialist-capitalist-barbarity”.
In this regard, the TUI PS&A will study the main thesis and priorities of the congress, to enrich it, with valuable contributions in the line of class-orientation.
It is clear that the Four Year Plan of Action adopted at the first Directive Committee meeting held on the 11th to the 12th of March 2020 in South Africa, Johannesburg, is a campaigning platform that has relevance to our campaigns, towards advancing our struggles around the following:
- Anti-imperialist Action
- Fight for Trade Union rights
- Intensify anti-privatisation campaigns
- Defending collective bargaining and social security of the people
- Strengthening Trade Union education
- Building workers’ unity and solidarity
- Advancing the rights of Youth, Women and Immigrants
- Strengthening the organisational capacity of the WFTU TUI-PS&A
The midterm meeting confirms the crucial role of the state in the provision of social services, to improve the lives of workers and the working class. We affirm our opposition to the privatisation of public services, the outsourcing of such services, retrenchments that lead to staff shortages, the poor public distribution of services that results from austerity and the general erosion of the role of the state in the delivery of public services in favour of business. The TUI is committed to intensify the struggle against these neoliberal anti worker policies.
As the militant affiliates of the TUI-PS&A, we are based in different countries. We organise at different levels and sections of the public sector workers, with diverse challenges that are peculiar to our own situations. But the underlying causes of the challenges our unions and members face, all emanate from capitalism and its neoliberal interventions. Internationalism and solidarity amongst us is critical, if we are to build the strength of the international class-oriented trade union movement to effectively resist capitalism and imperialism.
The affiliates, in regions, within the sector underline the following difficulties:
- The reduction of incomes and cuts in real wages;
- The deregulation and increase in work time;
- The deregulation of labour relations;
- The spreading of precarious labour;
- The lack of health and safety in the workplace;
- The appropriation of public funds and investments by private economic groups;
- The increase of the retirement age;
- The cut in retirement and pension benefits;
- The destruction of public sector jobs;
- The regression of social and labour rights;
- The denial of the right to negotiation and collective bargaining and other collective rights of the workers.
The meaningful resolution of the many problems confronting workers, will not come about as a result of government policy interventions or the generosity of capital. Securing our right to a minimum wage, to salaries and pensions which cover the contemporary needs of popular families; to an 8-hour work per day; social security for all workers suffering capitalist exploitation; to health and safety measures in the workplace; for collective bargaining; the universal right to publicly delivered health care and medicine for working people and their families; free public health and education and the prohibition of child labour, requires the destruction of the capitalist state and reconstitution of society as a whole and its replacement with a dispensation that serve workers interests. This endeavour involves class struggle which transcends narrow trade unionism. As class oriented unions, we believe that Marxism-Leninism is the only proven weapon of class struggle at the disposal of the working class.
In this regard, within the framework of the TUI Plan of Action, we undertake the following tasks:
- Actions in our countries, to build and support the WFTU, to spread its role, inside our unions, in our sectors, to deepen the meaning of our plan of action
- Increase the profile of the 18th World Trade Union Congress; educating workers, the union members, through campaigns and study the main thesis and priorities to strengthen our line.
- Recruitment of new affiliates into the TUI; mobilising for their demands; with regular contact; drawing them into campaigns against anti-labour policies, supporting their struggles
- Anti-privatisation actions; defending the state and its social functions; against outsourcing; rejecting neoliberal policies.
- Struggle to improve workers conditions; dignified employment; better pay; social security; against precariousness;
- International campaign on defending collective bargaining; the right to strike and to organise; across sectors; regions; countries; unions and affiliates.
- Consolidate TUI work in each region; with continental meetings; conferences; seminars on major labour issues.
- Broaden workers unity; protests for social services; with sectoral focus; drawing in all workers.
- To struggle for Peace, sovereignty and disarmament, with internationalist solidarity against war, militarism, aggression, interference and imperialist blockades against Cuba, Venezuela, Iran with sanctions that undermine the interests of the workers.
31 March 2022