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TUI-PSA Statement on May Day 2022

Thursday, 28 April 2022

“Workers of the world unite you have nothing to lose but your chains”

The Trade Union International Public Services and Allied [TUI-PS&A] sends its revolutionary and fraternal greetings to the millions of workers around the world on behalf of its more than 30 million members in the public services spread across 60 countries across the globe.

Workers of the world are commemorating May Day for the third time under the conditions of COVID19 pandemic that came on the back of an already pre-existing capitalist crisis of a global economic slowdown. This confluence of negative factors have now been confounded by the unfolding imperialist war in Ukraine which is a contest between the US led NATO military alliance and Russia for geopolitical influence and control of European energy markets. All these negative developments and their consequences are borne and paid for through the deteriorating quality and standards of life of the working class. This year’s May Day commemoration is also happening in a very important year for our mother body, the WFTU, as it prepares for its 18th world congress taking place as from the 6th to 8th May 2022 in Rome, Italy.

As we commemorate May Day for 2022, we remember the millions of workers who belong to the many generations of militants that came before us. The struggles and sacrifices of these generations of workers preserved the working class organizations and advanced the struggle which led to many concessions that workers have extracted from capital over time.

The historical mission of our generation derives from the reality of deteriorating living and working conditions of the working class, capital is transferring the costs of the economic crisis of capitalism, the COVID19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine onto the working class through higher living costs in the midst of decreasing incomes and the destruction of viable full time jobs.

  1. This assault on the working class also finds expression through the increasing hostility shown by many governments in the world towards labour, their efforts to undermine collective bargaining as an effective bargaining tool of workers and the intensified tendency to undermine trade union rights in an attempt to blunt their effectiveness.
    The significance of the above mentioned challenges and many others, mean that our immediate priorities should be:
    The building and strengthening of our organisations to ready them for their historical tasks as defenders of the working class against class exploitation.
  2. The defence of our hard won rights from erosion by reformism and counter revolutionary policy interventions and actions.
  3.  The intensification of our struggle to extend our gains and win more concessions from capitalism as we advance the struggle to ultimately overthrow it.

It was Lenin who reminded us that without working class organisation there can be no talk of working class struggle, while without a unified working class struggle there can be no talk of defending or advancing the working class struggle. The first step toward an effective class struggle for the working class thus lies in the cohesiveness of its unity, the strength of its organisations and the correct reading of situations to arrive at the correct solutions.

It is important that we use the commemoration of the 2022 May Day to remind ourselves of these basic revolutionary tenets of our struggle, as solutions to the current problems faced by workers which will not come from the benevolence of capital or through voluntary government action but only through hard fought struggles in workplaces, communities and society broadly.

As a class oriented trade union movement, we commemorate May Day not just to celebrate the day for its own sake, but we do so in order to recall and remember the roots of the class struggle, its history and the interconnection between that history and the present. By so doing, we honour the previous generations of revolutionaries who preserved and passed on the instruments of class struggle at our disposal today.

May Day to us, is a reminder that the struggle we are waging against the pauperisation of the working class through long working hours, exploitative wages, increased pensionable age, attacks on collective bargaining, retrenchments, informalisation of work, unsafe working conditions and the general attacks on class oriented unions is not a new development, but is a centuries old class struggle between the working class and the bourgeoisie. This is ultimately a struggle between the exploiter and the exploited, a revolutionary struggle against the status quo embodied by the reactionary elements. For that reason, we do not commemorate May Day in the same way as other reactionary forces who seek to water down its historical significance.

For a red trade union movement, the significance of May Day is not confined to the workplace or trade union struggles. May Day represents a broader working class struggle against the alliance of the bourgeoisie and the political elites – it represents the revolutionary tradition of struggle against all forms of exploitation and oppression of men by men. The struggle to liberate the workplace and free workers is inseparable from the broader struggle against the inhuman system of capitalism and imperialism. For that reason we oppose the:

  • Imperialist wars of plunder and regime change which lead to the suffering of ordinary people.
  • The illegal and unilateral economic blockades and sanctions by the US and its allies against countries such as Cuba and Venezuela that have chosen an alternative route of Development.
  • The illegal occupation of the lands of the suppressed peoples of Palestine and Western Sahara by Israel and Morocco respectively.
  • Profit driven patents placed on the product of collective human knowledge and endeavour as is the case with vital COVID19 vaccines and other medicines.
  • The privatisation of essential public services that are vital to human survival by neoliberal governments for profit generation for the wealthy oligarchs of their countries.

These broad struggles have one thing in common with the struggles of workers in the workplace; they are in defence of the lives and livelihoods of workers and the working class broadly. All the wars, occupations and diplomacy waged under capitalism is done in the service of global and national capital – the economic elite – it is not to improve the lives of the working people. For that reason, it is necessary to oppose capitalism both in the workplace and outside the workplace in one unified class struggle.
For that reason as TUI-PS&A, we commemorate this May Day under the WFTU 2022 congress theme: “United, we continue! For the satisfaction of our contemporary needs, against imperialist-capitalist barbarity!” People do not struggle for ideas and concepts, fight for tangible results that make a material difference in their working conditions and the quality of their lives.

Long Live Worker Solidarity!!!
Satisfaction of Workers Contemporary Needs Now!!!
Forward With Working Class Struggle!!!

Issued by Zola Saphetha General Secretary TUI-PS&A

For media enquiries: Clever Banganayi (Information & Publicity officer +27721426625), clever@nehawu.org.za

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