CONFEDERATION OF CENTRAL GOVT. EMPLOYEES & WORKERS.
A-2/95,Manishinath Bhawan,Rajouri Garden, New Delhi-110 027
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16TH CONGRESS OF WORLD FEDERATIONOF TRADE UNIONS AT ATHENS-GREECE. 6TH
April, 2011 to 10th April, 2010:
A report from Com. K.K.N. Kutty,
Secretary General, Confederation of CGE & Workers
The XVI Conference of the World Trade Union Congress was held at Athens, National Capital of Greece from 6th to 10th April, 2011. On behalf of the Confederation of Central Government Employees and workers, Com. K.K.N. Kutty, Secretary General and Com. M. Krishnan, Secretary General, National Federation of Postal Employees participated at the Conference as delegates. Confederation is affiliated to the Trade Union International, Public and Allied Employees, an arm of the WFTU.
The inaugural session of the Conference was held to a packed house on 6th evening at the Tae Kwon Do Stadium, Athens The session presented a beautiful spectacle by the participation of young workers of various organizations of PAME the militant trade union movement of Greece. While the delegates for the conference were seated in the middle of the stadium, the side galleries were filled up with enthusiastic comrades waving flags to welcome the delegates, observers and guests for the conference. 881 delegates representing 106 countries from five continents attended the conference. Besides the President and General Secretary of WFTU, the inaugural session was addressed by the First Vice President of Greek Parliament, Mayor of the City of Athens and the General Secretary of PAME.
In his address at the inaugural session, Com. George Mavarikos, General Secretary spoke on the plight of the working class impacted by the global financial crisis, the burden shifted by almost all Nations on its working population, the imperialist aggression for acquisition of natural resources in various parts of the world, the agony of the people of Afghanistan, Palestine, Cuba, Venezuela, Bolivi a, Iraq, North Korea, many other Latin American countries, Libya etc.
PAME, the host organisation had made excellent arrangements for the comfortable stay and conduct of the conference. The delegate session commenced the next day at 9.30 AM at the Stadium of Peace and Friendship and continued the deliberations till 10th April, 8.30 PM. On 7th the Communist Party of Greece hosted a dinner to the participating delegates at the Party Head Quarters. The theme of discussion for the conference was the report submitted by the General Secretary titled “Athens Pact” containing various activities of the WFTU during the last five year period and improvement it registered in uniting the working class of the world under one platform to bring about an open democratic and class oriented movement. Referring to the activities of the ICFTU, Com. General Secretary asserted that the ICFTU had been collaborating with the IMF, WTO and Word Bank throughout the period and along with its affiliates it had been striving to bring about compromise with the capitalist class on the mistaken notion of co-existence. He particularly referred to the fact that the last Conference of the ICFTU which has now become the ICTU was addressed and inaugurated by the Managing Director of the IMF. The session commenced with the presentation of video images of the struggles undertaken by different organizations affiliated to WFTU throughout the world and the repression unleashed by the respective Governments in support of the capitalist class.
Detailing the class struggles undertaken, the report emphasized the necessity of increasing the role of working women, the participation of young comrades in the movement and building up a class oriented movement. The delegates who participated in the discussions which spanned for the next two days detailed the struggles undertaken by them in the last five years against the capitalist onslaught. The business of the house was conducted by a presidium elected every day and Com. A.K. Padmanabhan, President, CITU was a member of the Presidium on the first day. The delegates were provided with a book written by Com. Sukomal Sen, Vice President of CITU and Sr. Vice President, All India State Government Employees Federation on the history of the WFTU.
During the business session, the meetings of the Regional Councils and various TUIs were held simultaneously in the adjacent halls. The TUI PAE whose functions had almost become defunct after the last conference at Brasilia, Brazil also met on 8th. Most of the Directive Committee members and others who participated in the discussion pointed out the deterioration in the functioning of the TUI which was once the best organized TUI under WFTU. The need for the revival of the TUI was emphasized by all the participants. Com.K.K.N. Kutty, one of the Vice Presidents, pointed out that quite a number of amendments had been brought in at the last Conference to the Constitution of TUI and the amended version of the Constitution had not been circulated. After about 3 hour discussion, it was decided that the General Secretary will circulate the amended version of the Constitution immediately and the names of the directive committee members would be placed on the TUI website. It was also decided that the next Directive Committee meeting of the TUI will be held at Katmandu, Nepal in August, 2011. The main agenda for discussion at the Directive Committee meeting would be the expansion of TUI and elicit the participation of public Services Unions from countries which have presently no representation in the TUI PAE.
The Conference adopted the report of the General Secretary and the document titled Athens Pact unanimously. The document had inter alia outlined:
(i) the global financial crisis and its disastrous impact on the working class;
(ii) the growing unemployment in ll developing and developed countries which has led to increased crimes, social tension and anti-social activities;
(iii) the fruits of advanced technologies being garnered by the entrepreneurs;
(iv) the increasing population of poverty stricken people and malnourished children;
(v) the alarming decline in the age of life expectancy especially in African countries and in those National which are victims of imperialist aggression;
(vi) the necessity to demand the waiver of debt of the third world countries by the IMF and World Bank in the context that every of them have repaid the principal loan amount with substantial interest;
(vii) the unbridled exploitation of the natural resources of third world countries by the rich nations.
The report has detailed the spontaneous struggles that have sprung up in many countries against the exploitation and despotic rules, some of which have taken the shape of national upsurgence and has emphasised the need to harmonise all of them into class oriented struggles led by the working class to bring about lasting changes for the benefit of the common people in those countries. It has rightly cautioned that these struggles which are manifestation of the desire of the common people for a fundamental change might by hijacked by the capitalist class with the active involvement of the imperialist nations.
The Congress noted with satisfaction that since the last conference at Havana, the WFTU could improve its functioning tremendously and has succeeded in uniting workers of the world in struggles. It could organise a world wide action on 7th September, 2010.
Amongst the delegates who participated in the congress, about 33% were reported to be women. The Congress has resolved to enlist more and more women in active trade union work. In the coming years.
The Congress elected Com.Mohammed Shabban Azzouz of Syria as the President and Com George Mavarikos from Greece as the General Secretary. The Presidential Council has 40 elected members from different countries. Com. A.K. Padmanabhan, President, CITU has been elected as one of the Vice Presidents. Com. Mahadevan,( Secretary AITUC) presently Deputy General Secretary, in charge of Asia Pacific Region has been re-elected. Com. Swadesh Deve Roye , National Secretary of CITU (incharge of International affairs) has also been elected as one of the Secretaries of the WFTU.
The 16th Congress of WFTU was a resounding success both in its conduct and deliberations and conclusions. The Congress has resolved to develop WFTU into a mighty militant world body of working class to lead the workers to an uncompromising and sustained struggle against capitalism.