United and Organised, the Exploitative System Can be Defeated
[Full text of the Address by The WFTU General Secretary, Pambis Kyritsis in the 111th International Labour Conference on 12th June 2023 hosted by ILO at Geneva.]
First of all, from this global podium, I’d like to salute the outburst of militant struggles by millions of workers all over the world who refuse to foot the bill for the capitalist crisis.
The crisis is increasingly generalized and deeper. World peace is dangerously threatened; Not for the human rights, as some would have us to believe, but because of imperialist geopolitical and economic interests.
That’s why struggle for peace, means struggle against imperialist interventions, for the dismantling of NATO and all military coalitions.
The high inflation brutally undermining workers’ living standards. Social inequalities are widening dramatically.
The right to organize and collective bargaining is under attack. The pandemic has been used to launch new attacks on democratic and trade union freedoms.
Individual contracts, privatizations, outsourcing, teleworking and “service leasing” are just some of the forms taken by this harsh neoliberal attack.
We have carefully read the Director General’s report. Unfortunately, we see once again that as the attack on social and workers’ rights intensifies, instead of measures, proclamations and slogans multiply.
For work to be dignified, it must be accompanied by rights; it must guarantee the satisfaction of workers’ contemporary needs.
The same applies to the Director General’s report on the occupied Arab territories. The findings: violation of Palestinians’ national, political, social and workers’ rights, black labor, colonization - But what is the reaction of the international community? What is the intervention, and, above all, what are the measures?
WFTU denounces the imperialist policy of double standards, selective sanctions and economic wars, the blockade of Cuba which continue despite the decisions of the UN itself.
For some countries, violations are deliberately uncovered in order to impose draconian sanctions. For others, like Israel, international organizations remain silent or limit themselves to reports and findings.
More than any other institution ILO should become pluralistic and representative. It is not and never will be acceptable for some to monopolize workers’ representation without being entitled to it.
I speak on behalf of over 105 million members from 133 countries on every continent. 105 million whose voice is limited and marginalized by the undemocratic way of functioning of the ILO and the policy of arbitrary exclusions that many states apply without actually having any consequences.
In Chile, for example, for the second year in a row. In Mexico, in India and so many other states the complaints are numerous and as a rule, the exclusions concern WFTU affiliates.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As General Secretary of the oldest and most historic World Trade Unions Federation, to end my speech allow me an appeal to the workers. The system that generates crisis and reproduces exploitation can be defeated. United and organized in our own class-oriented unions, let us intensify our struggles for a world free of wars and imperialist interventions, free of exploitation and discrimination; where work will be permanent and stable, regulated and safe.