The 4th International Trade Union Conference, attended by 300 trade unionists and progressive workers from 15 different countries (Italy, Spain, Greece, France, Germany, Britain, Netherlands, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, Tunisia, Iraq, India, Russia and Ecuador) gathered in Gonen, Turkey from May 23-25.
During the two days, our conference, as well as analysing and evaluating the problems, demands and experiences of the working class and trade union struggle, also provided the opportunity to assess certain lines of struggle and mobilisation against existing problems.
In nearly all countries similar attacks are taking place in order to enable international capital to extract the maximum possible profit. This particular reality was demonstrated via the explanations trade unions from different countries made in their presentations vis-a-vis the liquidation of public services, examples of casualisation, the fall in real wages, attacks on the right to social security, privatisation and many other attacks.
Thus the character of such attacks makes the need to develop international solidarity and a common struggle, when compared to previous periods, more of a dire need.
A collaborationist and pro-“social dialogue” line of trade unionism is a dead end. As a result of the presentations made in the conference, it has become evident that the policies that lead to the breakdown of public services, foster casualisation, fall in the level of real wage, attacks on social security, privatisation and many other attacks directed at labourers has been practiced on a worldwide scale.
The discussions in the conference brought to light the possibility of making trade unions the centre of struggle for the working class. As a result of what has been experienced in certain countries and shared in the conference, we have seen that there are concrete grounds for this. Hence when we think about the duties of fighting trade unions, there is a consensus that one of its duties is to practice this belief.
In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the concept of `war against terror`, which was constructed and pursued first by the USA, EU, NATO and other politico-military institutions that were in favour of such a concept, has opened the door, firstly in Europe and many other countries, to the spread of nationalist and racist ideas and practices. International capital has used this period in order to: hide the real causes of unemployment and poverty; implement anti-democratic policies; and injure the right of each state to sovereignty. We would like to note that our conference is against all forms of racist ideas and implementations, divisive politics that target the working class and enslave the people.
Imperialist forces in Asia to the Middle East from East Europe to Latin America use all necessary means, including military means, to strengthen or shore up their hegemony. Such a development leads to: the rise in the amount that is spared for Defence in the budget of each country; and the minimisation of political freedoms and democratic rights.
During the conference a special reference and note was made of the following:
The freedom to organise, removal of all stumbling blocks to trade union rights and freedoms, removal of all forms of oppression directed at trade unionists and release of detained trade unionists,
Betterment of the working conditions for workers and, by implementing all necessary measures regarding health and safety at work, get in the way of incidents that occur at the workplaces,
In all countries, against the pressures on wage levels, starting with wages and social rights, the struggle for the enlargement of trade union and political rights should be developed,
Policies that promote: the privatisation of social security and raising the pension age, as well as the privatisation of health and education and other forms privatisation should be frozen. A struggle to put an end to such privatisation policies should be developed. The right to free education and health should be consistently emphasised.
The need to spread and strengthen the struggles against the EU and the demand of a referendum on the EU Convention,
Trade unions should pay special attention to organising unprotected and unregistered young women workers,
Against the divisive and competitive policies fostered by the notion of differential pay and status, raise the demand of “equal pay for equal work”,
A special importance should be paid to the fight against unemployment and poverty, and organising the unemployed masses,
Resolution of all problems experienced by female workers and an end to gender discrimination,
In order to illegalise all forms of flexible work and casualisation; a struggle should be put forward in all countries for a normal work day,
A struggle should be put forward for the spread and protection of a normal work day; and stable, guaranteed and insured relations of and at work,
As part of the struggle against unemployment, the hours of work could be limited in return for stable amount of wages and individuals,
Against all forms of divisive policies that have been implemented in certain countries (based on ethnic differences and raising the feeling of animosity felt by the indigenous workers against the migrant workers etc) the trade unions should strengthen the fraternity and solidarity amongst the working class,
Raising awareness regarding the destruction caused to the environment by capitalist production, which is wholly based on profit. And, firstly on water resources, the initiatives by big monopolies to gain control of the natural resources should be opposed.
As a result of the conference, it has been stipulated that the trade unionists that have attended the conference share a common sense of struggle.
Our conference has put before itself the following aims: organising the next conference, strengthening the ties that have been built during this conference and developing the necessary means of communication and practices in order for these targets to materialise.
Workers, labourers and oppressed nations are continuing to struggle and resist imperialist occupation. Our conference notes that it is in support of all anti-imperialist struggles and independence movements, to begin with in Latin America, Middle East and Asia. And further it demands the appreciation of the right to self-determination: give an immediate end to the imperialist occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan; independence to the Palestinians and the democratic resolution of the Kurdish question based on equal rights.
Our conference is in solidarity with all workers on strike all over the world, to begin with the Haft Tappeh Cane Sugar workers in Iran, Tuzla, Yorsan, Desa and TEGA workers in Turkey, Fiat and Alfa Romeo workers in Italy. Also it demands the immediate release of the workers detained as a result of Mahalla struggle in Egypt and Mansour Osanlou in Iran.
Long live the unity and international solidarity of the
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