Written by International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggle
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 14:43
Statement from the International Meeting on June 8 and 9, 2015
The International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggle, constituted on March 2013 after our meeting in Saint-Denis (France), is the product of years of exchanges and common work between several of the founding organisations. In this way and on the basis of common trade union policies and practice, we have been able to bring together; trade unions, trade union trends and tendencies from numerous countries of the Americas, Africa and Asia.
Two years later, in June 2015, we organised a new international meeting at Campinas (Brazil). This time we have collectively assessed the positive evolution of our network, notably its increase in size but also the distance that we still have to go to create a common international weapon for all the trade union forces who demand and practice a trade unionism of struggle which anti-capitalist, autonomous, democratic, Green, independent of bosses and governments, internationalist, and which struggles against all forms of oppression (sexism, racism, homophobia and xenophobia). Workers democracy and self-organisation are also included in our reference points in common.
The crisis of the capitalist system has consequences for the whole world
The economic, financial, environmental and social crises are linked together and feed on each other. This global crisis of capitalism shows the dead end of a development based on an increasingly unequal division of the riches produced by the exploitation of the workers, the deregulation of the financial system, the widespread extension of the free market and the contempt for ecological constraints. In order to ensure the profits of shareholders and employers, to ensure the future of the banks, the global organisations (World Bank, International Monetary Fund, global organisation of trade etc.), governments and employers attack more and more strongly workers’ rights.
The economic and political system today is plundering numerous countries, obliging millions of people to leave their countries to survive and then deny them all their rights under the pretext that they are immigrants!
Destruction of public services, suspension of all their social rights, attacks on workers’ rights, trade union freedoms scorned, the development of insecurity and unemployment in order to put pressure on the population. These same methods are used in all countries!
To achieve their goal, they use all means: criminalisation, the law, arrests, police interventions, military occupations; restrictions of every sort of collective and individual rights. Repression is one of their weapons against those who resist, oppose and develop alternatives. Our solidarity, irrespective of borders, is one of our responses.
The trade unionism we stand for doesn’t support agreements with the existing powers to validate anti-social measures. Our trade unionism has the responsibility to organise resistance internationally and to construct, through struggle, the necessary social transformation. We wish to create a system based on common needs, on the redistribution of wealth between all those who create it; in other words the workers, the rights of workers and a development which is ecologically sustainable.
We demand the end of privatisation/marketization. On the contrary, we demand the extension, democratisation and the nationalisation of public services (education, health, transport, energy, water housing, retirement etc.). The free movement of people and equal social and political rights of all, whatever their nationality, origin, gender are part of our common gaol.
Understanding the development of capitalism in order to better oppose it
Attacks against employees, working conditions, social insurance, public services and democratic freedoms are part of a strategic project by capitalism designed to permanently change the balance of forces between the ruling classes on the one hand and the employees and people on the other. This project is part of a globalised capitalism, an economy which challenges social regulations, legislation and the conditions and rhythm of work. This is producing increased insecurity in the world of work.
The question of health and security in work, the general conditions of the quality of life for employees amongst the people, will become of decisive importance in struggles and demands.
In countries kept in a situation of under-development, notably through a colonialism and imperialism which are still active, are conditions which condemn en masse people to die of hunger or to emigrate, frequently putting their lives at risk, to countries where they then face high levels of discrimination. Colonialism and imperialism still oppress numerous people throughout the world; trade unionism must fight against these forms of domination.
The economic conjuncture is not the key element which determines this strategy of the ruling classes. Capitalism always attacks the conditions of life, pay and the status of workers. They use this “crisis of capitalism” to strengthen their attacks.
The financialised direction of capitalism, its accelerating globalisation, the dominant politics of austerity, the politics of “debt repayment”, indicates the pre-eminence of an orientation towards the world market, with the key a new re-division of wealth and power more unfavourable to the people. The debt mechanism suffocates countries and impoverishes us. Their debt is not our debt; we don’t have to pay it! The economic and financial policies presented as leading to an increase in demand do not seem likely to lead to a strong and lengthy revival of the economy.
In any case, these suggestions of an economic upsurge do not question at all the politics of austerity, the attacks on employees and the deterioration and privatisation of public services. In other words they do not contain any strategic compromise such as, for example, to instituting Fordism during part of the 20th century in a part of the world (notably in the price of costs in the Third-World).
The proposals for a new social compromise, such as formulated by a part of the trade union movement, is first of all characterised by deliberately ignoring the necessity in terms of struggle and balance of forces needed in order to achieve a new “reformism”. The key question is not simply the injection of public money in order to reactivate the economy but rather for a radical proposal to change the division of wealth as much as determining the model of development.
Furthermore the political theories of government assume that the capture of institutional positions at the level of the state would allow, despite the classical instruments of public power and the institutional framework in place to serve capitalism, the imposition of a new political direction that would include a new social compromise involving all social classes seem to us illusory.
Brazil, where this meeting of the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggle is held, is a good example of this. The political economy now being followed is that of previous bourgeois governments. It consists of guaranteeing enormous profits to big business whilst making small concessions to the poorest sections of the population. This approach is no longer possible. In addition the government is now trying to satisfy the demands of international capitalism and the Brazilian bourgeoisie in making the workers bear the burden by, for example, its fiscal policies or sub-contracting.
The general frailty of the international system, the development of the balance of forces between the economic- political blocs includes a radicalisation of social and environmental struggles in general and the struggle between wage-earners and the system of domination in particular.
Strengthen trade unionism in order to break with capitalism
The independence of the trade union movement which mobilises and fights effectively is key for this period. In effect, the issue is to break the strategy the system of domination of capitalism which is trying to impose an historic defeat on the workers, with the ruin simply of their ability to organise, act and position themselves independently to the benefit of a managerial trade unionism. Indeed it would see the disappearance of the workers movement at the same time that a larger proportion of the world population is being proletarianised, often under social conditions that are more and more difficult.
We affirm our opposition to state trade unionism and our support of one that is pluralistic and democratic. It is in no way contradictory to the fight for united trade union action, for workers unity and unity of all those who are exploited and/or repressed. On the contrary we have nothing in common with those who claim to be trade unions while they manage pension funds and are corrupted by the ruling class. This same ruling class which in addition has made corruption the normal practice of a whole group of political leaders.
The question of the right to land is particularly important in a number of countries, notably the victims of colonialism and imperialism. We must act on this and struggle for real agrarian reforms together with those social movements who are already doing so.
Our trade unionism is allied to the defence of all workers, and the support of profound social changes. It is not limited to the issue economic demands, it encompasses issues such as; the right to housing, to land, to equality between men and women, to anti-racism, to the struggle against homophobia and xenophobia, to the environment and anti-colonialism etc.
The interests that we defend are those of the working class (active workers or retired, the unemployed and young people in education and training). These interests link up with those of peoples from all parts of the world. We face head on the employers, the governments and institutions which are at their service and we insist on our independence from all political organisations.
International trade unions exist; as trade union networks which have been created based on the type of work or geography. From one part of the world to another, our trade union histories, our trade union structures and our trade union affiliations are different. However, what is most important is what we share. We are determined to go forward with a plan of international coordination of trade union struggle.
We wish to share our experiences, to enrich the resistances and knowledge of all, to build unity across borders, to put in place international workers’ solidarity. Faced with a crisis which strikes people in all countries, and for which capitalism is responsible, it is necessary to coordinate and unify our struggles.
We call trade unions groups to join us in order to construct this trade union unity of action, necessary to fight the social reverses, gain new rights and create a different society. We don’t fight to go backwards. Certainly the attacks on the working class are very strong and sometimes take new forms. But the exploitation of capital is not new and it is that we need to break from in order to create a society based on the needs of the people.
For this we need to take one step at a time, with all the trade unions of struggle, for whom the capitalist system is not normal for our societies and for whom change will be brought about through daily collective struggles and our thoughts about the society we want tomorrow.
We have decided to strengthen, enlarge and make more effective an offensive trade union network: of struggle, democratic, autonomous and independent of employers and governments, green and internationalist. We will fight against all forms of oppression (sexism, racism, homophobia, and xenophobia).
After the meeting on June 2015, we have concrete objectives and common commitments. Together we will decide what they are and how to bring them to a successful conclusion.
- We will always act in support of international solidarity and notably against all anti-trade union repression.
- Our fight is against all forms of oppression, notably that against women, black people, immigrants and LGBT.
- We will take action unit and coordinated manner to support the struggles and international campaigns, reaffirming the right to self-determination of all peoples.
- We will strengthen and widen international work in the sectors of; transport, education, call centres, industry, commerce, health etc.) and on inter-professional issues (rights of women, black people, LGBT, migration, housing, environment, health and work …).
- We will pursue research to deepen our understanding on the crisis of capitalism and the alternatives.
- We will assemble together the means necessary for the success of our common project: websites, email lists, coordination of related sectors, etc. For greater effectiveness, we will coordinate our member organisations and organise our network by region; South America, Europe, Africa…
- We will organise a week of mobilisations and international struggle during the second week of October 2015 with the common theme “against austerity and budget cuts, for the defence of the rights of workers. We will not pay for the crisis!” The form this action takes will depend on the concrete situation in each country.
Membership of the International Trade Union Network of Solidarity and Struggles
National Trade Union Federations and Centers
– Central Sindical e Popular Conlutas (CSP-Conlutas) – Brasil.
– Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) – Spanish state.
– Union syndicale Solidaires (Solidaires) – France.
– Confédération Générale du Travail du Burkina (CGT-B) – Burkina.
– Confederation of Indonesia People’s Movement (KPRI) – Indonesia.
– Confederación Intersindical (Intersindical) – Spanish state.
– Syndicat National Autonome des Personnels de l’Administration Publique (SNAPAP) – Algeria.
– Batay Ouvriye – Haiti.
– Unione Sindacale Italiana (USI) – Italy.
– Confédération Nationale des Travailleurs – Solidarité Ouvrière (CNT SO) – France.
– Sindicato de Comisiones de Base (CO.BAS) – Spanish state.
– Organisation Générale Indépendante des Travailleurs et Travailleuses d’Haïti (OGTHI) – Haiti.
– Sindacato Intercategoriale Cobas (SI COBAS) – Italy.
– Confédération Nationale du Travail (CNT-f) – France.
– Intersindical Alternativa de Catalunya (IAC) – Catalonia.
– Union Générale des Travailleurs Sahraouis (UGTSARIO) – Western Sahara.
– Ezker Sindikalaren Konbergentzia (ESK) – Pays Basque.
– Confédération Nationale de Travailleurs du Sénégal Forces du Changement (CNTS/FC) – Senegal.
– Independent Trade Unions for Egyptian Federation (EFITU) – Egypt.
– Sindicato Autorganizzato Lavorator COBAS (SIAL-COBAS) – Italy.
– General Federation of Independent Unions (GFIU) – Palestine.
– Confederación de la Clase Trabajadora (CCT) – Paraguay.
– Red Solidaria de Trabajadores – Peru
National trade unions
– National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT/TUC) – UK.
– Centrale Nationale des Employés – Confédération Syndicale Chrétienne (CNE/CSC) -Belgium.
– Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores del Sistema Agroalimentario (SINALTRAINAL/CUT) – Colombia.
– Fédération Générale des Postes, Telecom et Centres d’appel – Union Générale Tunisienne du Travail (FGPTT/UGTT) – Tunisia.
– Trade Union in Ethnodata – Trade Union of Empoyees in the Outsourcing Companies in the financial sector – Greece.
– Syndicat national des travailleurs des services de la santé humaine (SYNTRASEH) – Benin
– Sindicato dos Trabalhadores da Fiocruz (ASFOC-SN) – Brazil.
– Organizzazione Sindicati Autonomi e di Base Ferrovie (ORSA Ferrovie) – Italy.
– Union Nationale des Normaliens d’Haïti (UNNOH) – Haiti.
– Confederazione Unitaria di Base Scuola Università Ricerca (CUB SUR) – Italy.
– Confederazione Unitaria di Base Immigrazione (CUB Immigrazione) – Italy.
– Coordinamento Autorganizzato Trasporti (CAT) – Italy.
– Confederazione Unitaria di Base Credito e Assicurazioni (CUB SALLCA) – Italy.
– Syndicat des travailleurs du rail – Union Nationale des Travailleurs du Mali SYTRAIL/UNTM) – Mali.
– Gıda Sanayii İşçileri Sendikası – Devrimci İşçi Sendikaları Konfederasyonu (GIDA-IŞ/DISK) – Turkey.
– Syndicat National des Travailleurs du Petit Train Bleu/SA (SNTPTB) – Senegal.
– Asociación Nacional de Funcionarios Administrativos de la Caja de Seguro Social (ANFACSS) – Panama.
– Conseil des Lycées d’Algérie (CLA) – Algeria.
– Confederazione Unitaria di Base Trasporti (CUB Trasporti) – Italy.
– Syndicat de l’Enseignement Supérieur Solidaire (SESS) – Algeria.
– Palestinian Postal Service Workers Union (PPSWU) – Palestine.
– Union Syndicale Etudiante (USE) – Belgium.
– Sindicato dos Trabalhadores de Call Center (STCC) – Portugal.
– Sindicato Unitario de Trabajadores Petroleros (Sinutapetrolgas) – Venezuela.
– Alianza de Trabajadores de la Salud y Empleados Publicos – Mexico.
– Canadian Union of Postal Workers / Syndicat des travailleurs et travailleuses des postes (CUPW-STTP) – Canada.
Local trade unions
– Trades Union Congress, Liverpool (TUC Liverpool) – England.
– Sindacato Territoriale Autorganizzato, Brescia (ORMA Brescia) – Italy.
– Fédération syndicale SUD Service public, canton de Vaud (SUD Vaud) – Swiss
– Sindicato Unitario de Catalunya (SU Metro) – Catalonia.
– Türkiye DERİ-İŞ Sendikasi, Tuzla et Izmir (DERİ-İŞ Tuzla et Izmir) – Turkey.
– L’autre syndicat, canton de Vaud (L’autre syndicat) – Swiss
– Centrale Générale des Services Publics FGTB, Ville de Bruxelles (CGSP/FGTB Bruxelles) – Belgium
– Arbeitskreis Internationalismus IG Metall, Berlin (IG Metall Berlin) – Germany
– Sindicato Unificado de Trabajadores de la Educación de Buenos Aires, Bahia Blanca –(SUTEBA/CTA de los trabajadores Bahia Blanca) – Argentina
– Sindicato del Petróleo y Gas Privado del Chubut/CGT – Argentina.
International trade unions organisations
– Industrial Workers of the World – International Solidarity Commission (IWW)
Trade unions currents, trends or networks
– Transnationals Information Exchange Germany (TIE Germany) – Germany.
– Emancipation tendance intersyndicale (Emancipation) – France.
– Globalization Monitor (Gmo) – Hong Kong.
– Courant Syndicaliste Révolutionnaire (CSR) – France.
– No Austerity – Coordinamento delle lotte – Italy.
– Solidarité Socialiste avec les Travailleurs en Iran (SSTI) – France.
– Basis Initiative Solidarität (BASO) – Germany.
– LabourNet Germany – Germany.
– Resistenza Operaia – operai Fiat-Irisbus – Italy.