Monday, January 30, 2006

ICFTU Wants to Play With Us Morons

Strengthened trade union movement ready to face challenges in the Americas

“We have to look ahead, to look for new alternatives for the Americas. We have to make alliances, to fight with our brothers and sisters in the Americas for another continent - one where our people are no longer the servants of the economy but the economy the servant of the people,” said Víctor Baéz, General Secretary of the ICFTU’s regional organisation for the Americas, ORIT, when he initiated the second Trade Union Forum of the Americas in Caracas, 25 January 2006. He continued: “Free trade alone will not do any good for our people. Decent work will not be delivered by the present, reigning neo-liberal system. Children and women are the most vulnerable under the present form of globalisation, constantly left exploited by it. How can we overcome these curses? By being a strong, united trade union movement sharing strategies and dreams from Canada to Argentina.”

With these words he captured the ambitions of the trade union forum, which had attracted more than 500 people mostly from Latin America and the Caribbean. There were so many participants that the chairs ran out, and many had to stand to hear the passionate speeches. For the next two days the forum – a central part of the World Social Forum in Caracas – covered issues such as how to curb the negative aspects of globalisation and free trade, how gender parity and decent work can be advanced in the global economy, what kind of regional integration in the Americas would benefit workers and what the continent’s labour movement could do to strengthen its position.

Over the two days of the forum, one problem and one solution was repeated again and again: social injustice is plaguing the American continent, with workers as the constant losers. Only a united trade union movement, respecting differences and diversities within it, will empower workers to change this.


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