Declaration of the International Trade Union Conference

Annecy, France, 29 September – 1 October 2000

The Second International Conference for Trade Union Solidarity against Capital was held successfully in Annecy, France, from 29 September to 1 October 2000. Over 200 delegates from 14 different countries attended the conference. They following is the declaration agreed by the participants.

· We, the combative trade unionists on the side of the working class, who participated in the Second International Conference for Trade Union Solidarity, held in Annecy, France, call upon all those who are subject to the exploitation of monopolies and imperialism to struggle and show international solidarity.

· ‘Globalisation’ and the New World Order is an expression of an ever intensifying capitalist exploitation and imperialist aggression. Interventions of NATO and other imperialist institutions in sovereign countries constitute a grave threat to world peace.

· Capitalist Union in Europe and imperialist globalisation in general are designed to promote free movement of capital, commodities and services, and to consolidate the capitalist front, bringing with it growing unemployment, poverty and social injustices. In fact, scientific and technological advances and the wealth produced by the workers create the grounds for the solution of peoples’ problems and for the improvement of working peoples’ conditions of living internationally.

· However, this wealth and development is used as an instrument to increase capitalist profits. Working people’s aspiration for them being used for the well being of humanity faces the barriers of hegemony of the monopolies which accumulate capital from the extreme exploitation of working people. Capitalists increase their profits while millions of people are faced with starvation and millions are deprived of even minimum living conditions.

· The future of the working class and humanity as a whole does not lie in capitalism. Demands and aspirations for defending the existing rights and gaining new ones, for radical social and political transformations, and for the elimination of exploitation of man by man are becoming more and more vital.

· The working class of the world is faced with an intense campaign of attacks by capital and its political representatives, designed to take away their gained rights. Behind this wave of neoliberal attacks what becomes clear is the crisis of capitalism and the fierce competition among monopolies for more profit.

· We see more clearly today the negative consequences imposed on the working class after the collapse of the Eastern Bloc. First of all, the right to work is under threat. Unemployment, an inherent characteristic of capitalism, is on the rise and it has been a social phenomenon for a long time. Real wages have been dropping dramatically. Social rights are being taken away, and social security system is being left to the mercy of capital. Public enterprises are being privatised. Public services like health and education are becoming commodities. Environment is under threat. Conditions of work are deteriorating and becoming more and more against the working class and working people in general. New forms of work to intensify exploitation are emerging; casual work is becoming an inseparable part of working conditions; daily working hours are being increased. An orderly working day, job security and collective agreements are all under threat. Democratic rights and freedoms are being restricted.

· All these developments are, on the one hand, taking away workers’ rights, but on the other, expanding the grounds for the workers to unite and fight against the system, nationally and internationally. Furthermore, there are greater possibilities today for the workers in every country to unite with various sections of working people such as peasants, public employees, tradesman and craftsman in the fight against capital and monopolies. The grounds for the national and international unity of the working class and its alliance with other labouring classes have become an unprecedentedly concrete and actual phenomenon. Our Conference is a small but important step in this direction.

· Collaborating trade unionism has played a big part in the negative developments taken place in the trade union movement. Such trade unionism and its representatives are the supporters of the measures for capitalist re-structuring and the anti-popular policies of social democrat and conservative governments.

Having abandoned the class struggle and the defence of working people’s democratic, economic and social rights, the collaborationist line has become bankrupt. This line aims to integrate the working people to the system of exploitation.

Those who have a class combative line refuse and reveal this conciliation with the class enemy. They defend the combative unity of the working class and organise the working people for the fight against imperialism and monopolies. With this perspective, combative trade unionism must co-ordinate its forces Europe-wide and world-wide to put into practice international solidarity and common actions in order to achieve the following demands and tasks:

1. In defending the existing rights and gaining new ones, we must base on the rights related with wages, working conditions, social security, etc. gained as a result of workers’ struggles throughout the 20th century.

2. We demand recognition of trade union rights and freedoms in every country and an end to all anti-worker and anti-democratic legislation which ban or restrict the right to strike, the right to collective bargaining and trade union activity.

3. One of our main objectives is to reinforce our unions, and it is our urgent task to support and organise initiatives to increase trade union membership.

4. We draw attention to the need for a more advanced co-ordination of the actions of working people at the national and international levels.

5. It is one of our tasks to oppose unemployment and to make trade unions more sensitive to the fact that, irrespective of their gender, language, religion, etc. the unemployed are part of the working class. Our Conference also draws attention to the importance of the struggle against the anti-worker and anti-popular imperialist policies of institutions such as the IMF, WB, WTO and G7.

6. Defence of peace in Europe and in the world, abolition of the Atlantic alliance and Nato, the struggle for the withdrawal of imperialist forces from every country of the world, mainly from the Balkans, Iraq, the Middle East and Europe, are among the demands that the trade union movement cannot overlook.

7. It is the international demands of the workers to fight for social, democratic and environmental rights, to oppose privatisation and heavy tax burdens, and to reject the commoditisation of health and education through privatisation.

8. We demand a 35-hour and 5-day working week and 7-hour working day without any reduction in the wages (the question of hours may vary from country to country).

9. We denounce the kneeling down of the trade union movement to big capital, and fight against the conciliatory line and the impositions on our unions to collaborate with capital.

10. We have set up a committee consisting of trade unionists from different countries to co-ordinate the decisions of the conference internationally and to do the preparatory work for the third conference.

11. We will oppose the employers, the governments in the service of capital, and the decisions of the Brussels Commission; and we will fulfil the requirements of the task to support the understanding of combative trade unionism.

12. Our first common action will be practised during the ILO meeting in Geneva in June 2001. This should be seen as a continuation of the activities in individual countries. Our common slogan will be "Let’s internationalise our struggle against imperialist New World Order!"

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