Dear comrades, brothers and sisters
It is a great and distinguished honor, to have today the opportunity to convey the warm, militant class greetings of the more than 105 million members of the World Trade Union Federation from 133 countries from all corners of the world, to the delegates of the 14th National Congress of the heroic COSATU, and through you, to the militant and pioneering working class of South Africa.
We are always in awe when we recall the hard, long, bloody, and heroic struggles of the working class of your country, with COSATU and its predecessors at the forefront, against racism and Apartheid, against political, economic, and social inequality, against exploitation and injustice.
We at the WFTU, we are particularly proud, insomuch our Federation, firmly stood beside the people of South Africa, since the first day of its foundation. It organized internationalist solidarity of workers worldwide. It defended Nelson Mandela and all the other leaders of the struggle, not only with announcements and resolutions but also by organizing global campaigns and militant mobilizations all over the globe.
Nowadays the world is going through a phase of extreme intensification of political, economic, and military antagonisms, aiming at controlling and exploiting the economic resources of our planet. The peoples pay the price of the imperialist wars and interventions with death, refugees, and also with the deterioration of their living and working conditions.
To the hawks try to appear as pigeons, we tell that the world peace is not being protected by even more militarism, or patronage of all kinds of far-right nationalists and fascists. It cannot be based on blockades, sanctions and economic wars.
Once again, the WFTU is raising its voice, the voice of the working class for peace, for an end to imperialist interventions, for the dissolution of NATO and all military coalitions, and for the abolition of nuclear weapons.
The economic crises of capitalism follow one another. The pandemic has not only dramatically widened social inequalities but has also been used for new attacks against democratic rights and trade union freedoms.
October 3rd, the WFTU founding day, has been establish by our Federation as an international Action Day.
This year, under the general slogan:
- We will not pay for the capitalist crisis and the imperialist wars.
- Wage and pension increase Now.
We call on workers in all countries, together to strengthen and massify the unions. To resist and mobilize. The struggles taking place in several countries are our hope and our future. Solidarity is our weapon. Today’s dominant issue on the agenda of trade unions is the dramatic deterioration of workers’ living standards.
The sharp and uncontrollable increase in prices of all basic necessities, essentially dissipates the wages and purchasing power of workers, which not only are not increased, but in many cases, have been reduced under the pretext of the crisis and the pandemic.
It is clear that only through the struggles, the goals of the labor movement are realized and social progress achieved. Struggles for the satisfaction of the contemporary needs of the workers at all levels: salary, employment, security, culture, and mental. To defend the democratic and trade union freedoms, collective bargaining and stable, permanent, and agreements-regulated labor; to protect the autonomy of the Trade Unions and their class orientation, away from bureaucracy, corruption, and manipulation by the capital and employers. Against the action of the yellow unions that undermine the unity of workers and the strength and the effectiveness of the labor struggles.
We know that COSATU stands on the front line of the ongoing struggles not only for the protection and the improvement of the rights and the working conditions of the South Africa Working Class, but also to defend the social achievements and the democratic and trade union freedoms of the working class, in whole Africa and all over the world.
We, at the WFTU, consider COSATU as a strong, militant, internationalist, and class-oriented force that has had a leading and pioneer role in the development of the struggles of the World Trade Union movement and we are proud that COSATU is one of our affiliated members.
We were and remain, fellow travellers with COSATU, marching shoulder to shoulder and supporting each other on the road of internationalism and class solidarity. On the road of building working class unity for economic liberation towards socialism.
I have no doubt that COSATU will continue on this path with solidarity and internationalism, in the militant spirit of its glorious history, for a better world, free of imperialistic wars and interventions, without any kind of discrimination and without man-by-man exploitation.
I wish every success to your congress and I assure you that in the face of WFTU you will always have a militant and selfless companion on which you can always rely.
- Long live the working class solidarity
- Long live the working class unity to the social liberation and to eliminate man by man exploitation
- Long live COSATU