Open World Conference of Workers
In Defense of Trade Union Independence & Democratic Rights
A dossier of weekly information published by the
India: You will find a Press review concerning a commando that seized several buildings in Mumbai. After three days of clashes with the police, the toll stands at one hundred and eighty four dead and hundreds wounded.
Pakistan: The APTUF (All Pakistan Trade Union Federation) convenes its national congress on December 29 and 30, 2008 in Lahore.
At a time when the very unity of Pakistan is under threat, delegates from all regions of the country, representing all the unions in the federation, by their presence will manifest the unity of the working class, essential for maintaining the unity of country. The APTUF launches a vibrant call to action for peace in the country and the subcontinent.
South Africa: The Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA) recently held its biannual Congress, which brought together 1,000 delegates. We publish the resolution that was adopted.
Chile: On November 17, some 400,000 Chilean public sector workers responded to the call of their trade union organizations and participated in demonstrations and meetings across the country. After six days of strikes, the workers in the public won a large part of their demands, including an increase of 10% of their wages.
Moldova: A General strike of workers in the education and science sectors took place, with 61% of schools affected by the strike.
Poland: You will find a report on the mobilization of workers for the defense of pensions.
France: We are publishing a contribution by Sandri Roger: "What global governance?"
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Table of Contents
p. 1: Introduction
(The New York Times)
At the time of this writing, many questions arise. Starting with that
contained in the New York Times (December 1): "This is a troubling
issue for the Indian authorities as to how, if the official assessment
is correct, a commando of only ten persons could cause such devastation
and stand up to law enforcement. "
Certainly, one cannot rule out the idea of involving Pakistani secret service or part of them, because the ISI has always lived as a state within a state and its links with the CIA are well established since together they brought their aid the Taliban against the Soviet occupation after 1979. It is also worth noting that the attacks in Mumbai occur shortly after the new government of Pakistan has proposed joint negotiations.
(1) In 1947, when the British Government was forced to end its domination over India, it organized partition according to religious criteria. Pakistan then administered East Bengal, whose population left in 1971, forming Bangladesh.
ALL PAKISTAN TRADE UNION FEDERATION
The APTUF is a trade union center that exists and is organized in all parts of Pakistan. We the members of APTUF come from Punjab, from Sind, from Baluchistan, from North West Frontiers Province, They may speak different languages, different culture and differences But we all are members of the same trade union They all share in common and same main demands
* They want to keep their own job and not be unemployed * They want wages, which allow them to live and to raise their families that means a legal minimum wage of RS. 10,000 * They want respect of their rights as workers which means first of all their right to organize in trade unions whatever their trade, the right to strike and to collective bargaining *They want the right to assemble, demonstrate and freely express their views * They want the abolition of anti-workers laws such as Industrial Relation Act (IRA) 2008, Essential Services Ordinance (Compulsory retirement) They want safety of life
Whatever province or region they come from, whatever the language, the religion or culture, they are all united in APTUF around those essential demands. Are those demands not the demands of all the people of Pakistan, of the workers, the farmers the women, youth, the professionals? APTUF (All Pakistan Trade Union Federation) has convened its national congress on December 29th and 30th, 2008 in Lahore. At a time when the very unity of Pakistan as a country is under threat, delegates from all regions of the country, representing all the unions of our federation, will assert together that they are representing a single united working class, which is the main asset for maintaining the country's unity.
APTUF solemnly calls for action for peace in our country and in our sub-continent. It calls for international solidarity to support the development of this campaign.
Workers of Pakistan Need Peace, peace needs the action of the working class.
But what do we see happening today in our country? All the people of Pakistan are faced with violence, disruption and war. In year 2008, 57 blasts in which 843 civilians and army personal have been killed and 309 injured in the country as a result of military operations and bomb blasts. 800000 people have been left their residence in NWFP province and 3,50,000 in Baluchistan, living in camps where they lack proper food, water and shelter, living in miserable condition. War against terror in Pakistan cost rises to RS. 678 billion In fact, Pakistan is facing war conditions. Officially, there is no war. Pakistan is not at war with any other country. The war is inside Pakistan and that violence threatens the country with dislocation
We, the APTUF meeting in this national congress of our union which is going to be held on December 30th , 2008 in Lahore, we state solemnly: Page 2 No Pakistani worker, peasant, youth, women can accept that state of affairs. All those who live and toil in Pakistan, whatever the problems they are facing, and whatever the differences, are able to solve them together and by themselves, in a peaceful way. It is not the people of Pakistan, of Punjab, of SIND, of Baluchistan and of the NWFP that want war. The violence is today rampant all over the country does have its roots in Pakistan. It comes from outside. With great concern we take note of the fact that the war waged in Afghanistan by NATO forces under American command has now entered into Pakistan Daily, the integrity of the Pakistan territory is violated. In the name of the never-ending war against terrorism, Pakistan men, women, children are killed by NATO bombs and rockets. The Pakistani people wants peace in Pakistan, they want peace on their borders.
The APTUF calls for an immediate end to all military operations in Pakistan. We repeat, the people of all over Pakistan are able to peacefully overcome the problems they confront but a prerequisite is the end of all foreign intervention in the affairs of Pakistan, and of all military aggression. Violence and war are spreading, the daily situation of the great majority of the people becomes intolerable: Hundreds and hundreds of factories have closed down and tens of thou- sands of workers have lost their jobs. Inflation is running at 300%.
It becomes impossible for more and more families to buy the most basic goods. Electricity is now shut down most of the days all over the country including the main towns It is no longer safe to go work, to go for walk, to go the market Instead of stepping up armament expenditures, and building up military operations, it is those problems that should be faced. To overcome the problems, the people of Pakistan need peace That is why the APTUF congress, convinced that it is acting as a responsible trade union for the good of its members, of the working class, launch this solemn appeal addressed to all:
I wish to endorse the appeal of APTUF Pakistani Workers Need Peace, peace needs the action of working class:
For all correspondence and information concerning financial donations to the APTUF Congress: APTUF, 14 N, Industrial Area, Gulberg II, Lahore, Pakistan - email : email@example.com or International Liaison Committee, 87, rue du Fg St Denis Paris 75010 France- email : firstname.lastname@example.org
General Resolution of the Biennial Congress of the Socialist Party of Azania (SOPA)
We believe that the labor movement should strengthen itself so that it should be able to engage both big business and government in collective bargaining. The gains won most particularly by the workers have become the very foundation of civilization as we know it. Under the present conditions, SOPA has no choice but to make the following call:
1. Constituent Assembly
3. The Apartheid debt
It is not our people's debt, yet it continues to bedevil and undermine the sovereignty of our nation, while sapping resources that are desperately needed for education, healthcare, housing, water, transportation, electricity and other vital services.
As far back as the time of Former President Nelson Mandela, in his interview with Fred Khumalo in the first issue of the now-defunct This Day newspaper, explained that the Apartheid debt was the single major impediment to the ability of the government to deliver on its promises. He said that the government was forced to pay R50 billion to service this heinous debt.
The UN Convention of 1973 declared Apartheid a "crime against humanity." But still the guns of the Apartheid debt are aimed at the heads of workers and people of South Africa.
In 1985, along with many organizations that had condemned Apartheid, the World Council of Churches (WCC) declared the "sin of Apartheid" a heresy, meaning that those practicing Apartheid were beyond any redemption. The Apartheid system could not be reformed in any manner -- It had to be utterly destroyed together with all its tentacles. The question today is why do the people of our country carry the burden of Apartheid? The Apartheid debt is like as albatross around the "neck" of our country and its people.
Any initiative by the South African people and progressive institutions to cancel this unjust and immoral debt will be a first step needed to fight against poverty. This will be heralded around the world by all those peace-loving people who helped us bring down the Apartheid regime.
4. The Land Question
At various forums, the government had to acknowledge that the "willing seller, willing buyer" framework is unworkable in the face of such disparities. We agree.
We don't believe it is possible to wage an effective war on poverty without giving the land to the millions of landless peasants and farmers who are demanding the land.
One of the primary goals of the liberation struggle was the reconquest
of land from the white minority. There must be a thorough agrarian reform.
The land must be returned to its rightful owners: the Black majority!
A nation must be able to benefit fully from its natural resources and public services. This is only possible when they belong to the people, that is, when they are nationalised.
The more privatisation increases, the more poverty becomes generalised. This can be seen clearly by the state of our hospitals and all our public utilities. Even those public entities that were an envy of all peoples and nations -- eg. Baragwanath Hospital -- have been underfunded to such an extent that they are being placed on the chopping block of the privatisers.
Azania has the wealth to provide a good and decent livelihood for all its people. If there is poverty, it's only because of a few people who are making a killing at our expense.
The Black majority in Azania have a legitimate right to reclaim their resources and key industries that were stolen from them so that all can benefit from this great wealth.
SOPA takes a strong stand against the privatisation of our public services and natural resources. No doubt, privatisation leads to poverty. It must be halted outright. There is no such thing as a "good" privatisation.
6. Anti-imperialist front
Many people around the world argue that we have no choice but to partner with these institutions of international financial capital in our quest to stamp out poverty. But what has been the record across our continent and around the world in relation to the efforts to implement the plans and programs of these institutions?
Africa is littered with countries that are victims of these "partnerships." The interests of workers and the oppressed have not been safeguarded in any way, shape or form by this subordination to the institutions of global capitalism - nor has poverty decreased one iota.
We call for a reclaim of what is rightfully the property of the people and to build a powerful united front campaign against poverty, working people need their own independent organizations, their own independent unions.
National civil servants strike
On November 17, some 400 000 Chilean public sector workers responded to the call of their organizations and participated in the demonstrations and rallies across the country.
For 17 years, the Pinochet dictatorship tried by all means to eliminate class struggle, through a policy of overexploitation and ransacking of the nation's worker.
The Government of the Concertation (coalition of the Left of Chile without the PC - and the center, formed at the end of the Pinochet era), maintaining most of the economic structures and policies of the dictatorship and has sought to pursue this policy.
Its weapons are the use of measures of the "plan to work" imposed by the dictatorship and the integration of the various unions into dialogue commissions, whose function is the approval and implementation of the privatizations, cuts budget, lower wages and the restriction of social rights.
Before the outbreak of the global crisis, the unemployment rate was about 7.8%. Price increases were 9.9%. The Central Bank increased interest rates to 8.5%. 80% of the working population is in debt for consumer goods. Chile is the eighth highest country in the world for debt for current consumption and almost 5 million credit cards circulating in the country. To the effects of inflation must be added the weight of the IVA tax on the value added for consumption -- the government consultation has increased by 3% to 19% currently.
When the crisis erupted, Finance Minister Andres Velasco said that
"the Chilean economy was shielded." Then the price of copper
on the London Stock Exchange fell straight down and pension funds for
workers lost more than 32 billion dollars,
The ruin of small industries, generating employment, deepens. The sector statistics show a historical drama. This sector in 1990 reached 32% of sales in the country, today it declined to 17%. Loss of markets on the one hand, debt high interest rates on the other. The indices of the Chamber of Construction indicate a decline in sales of 14% compared to December 2007.
It is in this context of profound crisis that the national strike organized
by ANEF, which includes 23 associations of public sector workers, began
on November 11, as an action of two days of fighting around the requirement
to pay a recovery of 14.5%. The 15 union presidents of the public sector
have come together to negotiate with a delegation from the ministries
of Finance and Labor delegation headed by Andres Velasco and Osvaldo
Andrade. After two meetings where government officials presented their
proposals, which ranged between a rise of 5.5 to 6.5%, the public sector
decided to call an indefinite national strike which began on Monday
In turn, the president of the ANEF, Raul de la Puente, said: "Ultimately
what was proposed to Velasco is a phased reduction of salaries, a position
unacceptable to the workers."
The government responded with repressive measures, sending force against the officials who worked at the Mint, threatening their workers with a deduction in strike days.
"The positions of workers will radicalize, as the readjustment that the government is not considered acceptable," said the president of the ANEF, Raul de la Puente.
The discussion of this project began Tuesday in Congress, which led the leaders of ANEF to move the mobilization to the port of Valparaiso, concentrating their efforts on the desire to convince parliamentarians to reject the government proposal. 20,000 public servants have surrounded the Congress, supported by workers from Valparaiso.
"The scene is in Congress, and we play on the port, and we will
see who is who, because next year there are elections, and we'll see
what MPs, what senators will be on the side of workers" said De
* The first, the refusal of having to pay the price of a crisis in
which workers are not responsible.
As the mobilization of more than 20 000 workers around the Congress
took place, 15 000 child care workers marched on Hero's Square to demand
wage increases, supporting the ANEF's wage demands for a 14, 5% raise.
General strike of workers in the education and science sectors in Moldova (Republic of the former USSR)
61% of schools affected by the strike.
The strikers feel that the proposal of a 17% increase is inadequate.
But the executive body of Trade Unions (3) had claimed an increase
of 17% of salary for 118 000 employees in the state sector. The teachers
had expressed their dissatisfaction, considering the demand insufficient.
After three days of strike, the union's executive board of Education
and Science has decided on a suspension "for the period of negotiations
with the government."
Mobilization of workers in defense of pensions
What global governance?
By Roger Sandri
The global financial, economic and social crisis has led world leaders
in international forums to advocate certain remedies intended to mitigate
the effects generated by this "new crisis of capitalism."
The organizations, with Global Unions, took advantage of the meeting of Heads of State to consult in Washington, at the headquarters of the AFL-CIO.
The Global Unions group advocates a plan to stabilize the global capital
markets in order to quickly get the economies out of recession and avoid
the risk of a world recession and laying the foundations for a return
to the creation of decent jobs.
Indeed, Global Unions favors a "labor-capital association"
of global integration through organizations working in this structure.
It is these multinational corporations that are behind the Washington
Consensus, a charter of liberalism proclaimed in 1990 by the United
States and Britain, imposing a policy change to the ILO while incorporating
it into the structures of globalized capitalism.