WFTU–TUIs Meeting in Kolkata
The annual consultative meeting of the TUIs (Trade Union Internationals) of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) was held in Kolkata on 9-10 October 2017. This annual meetings, which are being held in WFTU headquarters in Athens, was held outside for the first time. George Mavrikos, general secretary of WFTU, Swadesh Dev Roye, deputy general secretary of WFTU and international general coordinator of TUIs, and also national secretary of CITU, H Mahadevan, deputy general secretary of WFTU and its in-charge of Asia Pacific region attended this meeting. Leaders of 9 out of the total 10 TUIs from all over the world participated. The leadership of the central trade unions of India affiliated to WFTU also participated in the meeting and greeted the delegates.
Hemalata, president of CITU welcomed the gathering. The key note address was delivered by George Mavrikos. Swadesh Dev Roye presented the background paper explaining the role of the TUIs in strengthening class oriented trade union movement at the global level and the need to develop effective functioning and better coordination among the different national unions affiliated to the various TUIs. Mahadevan made an intervention explaining the status and functioning of the TUIs as per the WFTU constitution.
48 delegates participated in the discussion that followed. While supporting the formulations made in the speeches by the WFTU general secretary and the TUI in charge, they spoke on the conditions of workers in their sectors. They welcomed the CITU’s initiative to organise the two day meeting which enabled detailed discussions on the issues.
Mavrikos concluded the discussion and emphasised the need for ideological development of the workers exposing the barbaric nature of imperialism and capitalism. He reiterated the need to pay attention to organise the migrants and address the issues of the refugees.
The meeting unanimously adopted the ‘KOLKATA (INDIA) CONCLUSIONS’, introduced by Dev Roye, which outlined the tasks to be undertaken in the next year.
The meeting was jointly hosted by different federations in India which constitute part of the TUIs – All India Coal Workers’ Federation, All India Road Transport Workers’ Federation, Water Transport Workers’ Federation of India, Steel Workers’ Federation of India, Construction Workers’ Federation of India, Electricity Employees’ Federation of India, Petroleum and Gas Workers’ Federation of India, All India Insurance Employees’ Association, Bank Employees’ Federation of India, Confederation of Central Government Employees and Workers, All India State Government Employees’ Federation and BSNL Employees’ Union.
A well attended trade union activists meeting was held in the University Institute Hall in the evening of 10 October which was addressed by George Mavrikos and Tapan Sen, general secretary of CITU. Swadesh Dev Roye presided over the meeting and Pradip Biswas, general secretary of BEFI presented the vote of thanks.
KOLKATA (INDIA) CONCLUSION
This WFTU – TUI annual consultation meeting is being held around one year after the 17th World Trade Union Congress in Durban, South Africa and around five months after the meeting of the Presidential Council of WFTU in Havana, Cuba. It is being held in a situation when the systemic capitalist crisis is deepening and the capitalist class continues its attempt to protect and increase their profits by shifting the burdens of the crisis on to the working class and other sections of the toiling people. All the hard won rights and benefits of the working class are under attack.
This onslaught has to be fought nationally and internationally. TUIs have a big responsibility in leading this fight. They have to develop and strengthen sectoral and coordinated movements in their respective sectors throughout the world under the guidance and with the support of the WFTU.
The ideology of the WFTU, the understanding of the 17th Congress of the WFTU about the world situation and the role of the class oriented trade unions have to be taken to the grass root level workers in our respective sectors.
TUIs are major bodies of class oriented trade union movement. They have the fundamental responsibility of defending the rights of the workers in their respective sectors including the trade union rights, of linking the workplace with the WFTU.
The basic principle of functioning enunciated by WFTU, of ‘open and democratic functioning’ should be duly reflected in the functioning of all our TUIs. Hence, whatever shortcomings in the functioning of the TUIs exist today have to be overcome with a sense of urgency.
To ensure this, we have to take up the following tasks:
· All TUIs to meet regularly, discuss the developments in their industries, the conditions of the workers in their industries and their struggles in various countries at the global level. Mechanism for regular sharing of information among all affiliated unions across the globe to be evolved and effectively implemented.
· Support the struggles of workers in their industries across the world, plan solidarity actions and implement them; inform WFTU Secretariat about these struggles for broader support and solidarity
· Plan activities that would help ideological development of the working class in their respective sectors
· Review implementation of decisions and progress in all meetings and formulate activities accordingly
· Strengthen coordination among the various affiliated unions of the TUIs and between the TUIs and the WFTU to develop effective global resistance to the global onslaught of the capitalists
· The 150th year of publication of ‘Das Capital’ to be observed to spread awareness about the inherent exploitative nature of the capitalist system and raise the consciousness of the workers on the need to change the system and the role of the working class in ending exploitation.
· TUI affiliates are to take up the day to day problems of workers, analyse objectively from working class angle the cause of problems and organise struggle to fulfil the demands of the workers.
· TUIs to work for developing unity with the farmers, students and self employed people.
· TUIs have the task of promoting international solidarity with workers from other sectors and countries.
· TUIs must pay attention to the diabolical developments of political refugees and economic migrants facing inhuman atrocities internationally which is directly linked to barbarity of imperialism and capitalist crisis.
· TUIs must act as powerful lever of struggle against capitalist barbarism pursued by monstrous multi-national corporations (MNCs).
· To take precise efforts to improve the functional position of the TUIs, with specific attention to strengthen the fund position of the TUIs in order to expand their function and activities.
· To undertake study at regular intervals to trace down the development in industries with facts and figures with a view to educate the cadres and masses internationally and send the reports to WFTU Secretariat.
· To establish co-ordination between the Regional Offices and TUIs in each Regions, so as to help each other and the implementation of collective programmes.
· TUIs must continuously promote the WFTU amongst the grass root level workers and unions and bring them into the WFTU family. This should be an important parameter to judge the organizational success of all the TUIs.
· TUIs must participate in the activities of the different forums of WFTU and implement the campaign and action programmes time to time decided by the WFTU including observation of the Action Day on 3rd October every year
· TUIs must democratically elect leaders in their Congress ensuring that the new cadres and leaders are active and effective in discharging the responsibility of the office they hold in the respective TUI.
This meeting held at Kolkata, India on 9-10 October 2017 with representatives from the Nine TUIs requests the WFTU Secretariat to concretise the various proposals and action programmes planned by the TUIs. The Secretariat of WFTU may ensure communication to the TUIs regularly and extend class oriented ideological and organisational support to all the TUIs.
Com. K. K. N. Kutty, President, Confederation & Secretary General NCCPA (On behalf of Pensioner’s Federations) and Com. M. Krishnan, Secretary General, Confederation attended and addressed the delegates of WFTU – TUI meet held at Kolkata on 9th & 10th October 2017.