The Intervention of PAME in the 18th Congress of WFTU
(Video with English translation after 0:45)
Dear comrades, brothers and sisters
On behalf of the class unions of Greece, on behalf of PAME, we welcome the 18th WFTU Congress and thank USB for hosting it in these difficult conditions.
We express our solidarity with the peoples who are fighting against imperialism, firmly on the side of the peoples of Palestine, Cuba, Syria etc.
We thank all of you and especially the Secretariat and the Council of WFTU for your support in the struggles of the workers of Greece. Your help and solidarity were important and crucial for our struggles and our actions.
Before we move on to our intervention, I would like to inform you of one last development. The Federation of Construction Workers of Greece signed a Collective Bargaining Agreement with an average increase in wages of over 25%!
It is a very important success that concerns almost 100,000 employees in Greece and comes as a continuation of great successes in struggles of dock workers of COSCO, EFOOD delivery workers, shipbuilders and other smaller or larger battles that we fought.
Of course, the situation for the workers of Greece, as in most capitalist countries of the world, remains extremely difficult and negative. Wages in Greece are at a lower level than they were 15 years ago, while the cost of living, energy, etc. have skyrocketed. A series of conquests and rights, such as working time, social insurance but also rights in trade union organization, the right to go on strike, are under huge attack.
But you will allow us not to speak on the situation in Greece, but on the function, the possibilities of the WFTU.
PAME has supported WFTU since our foundation. 17 years ago, PAME took over the hosting of the headquarters of WFTU, we allocated resources, cadres and staff for its operation. In 2011 we hosted the 16th World Trade Union Congress in Athens, but also a number of TUI meetings, committees, EUROF meetings, international thematic meetings and events.
In 2005 the WFTU had about 40 million members. Today it numbers 105. At that time, WFTU had a few sectoral and regional organizations that operated in very difficult conditions, while today it has TUIs and Regional Offices, in all key sectors and in all continents and regions. Of course, this was the result of the collective effort and contribution of the WFTU member organizations that for years supported and kept WFTU on its feet against the attacks of the imperialists and their mechanisms.
The main contribution that we consider that PAME has made during these 17 years was that we steadily, despite the difficulties and obstacles, transferred the experience and the conclusions from the struggles of the workers of Greece and Europe. We have clashed with the logic of class cooperation, the logic of a more “humane system of exploitation” or that Workers and Bosses must share the consequences of capitalist crises. We clashed with the logic that wanted the workers to choose which bourgeois government, that is, which part of the capitalists will take advantage of them.
In the period of the pandemic, we broke the silence and the prohibitions against the workers’ struggles, the logic of inaction and waiting, confirming in practice that the class unions have a duty in all conditions, against all obstacles and difficulties to be in the workplaces, next to the worker, to be a pole of mobilization, struggle and hope, because hope lies in the struggles of the peoples.
In this way, through difficulties, hard struggles, we supported the WFTU and its class characteristics. We supported the principle of the unrelented class struggle against capitalist exploitation, against imperialism and its organizations. Against NATO, the EU, the IMF, etc.
We struggled to reveal the puppets of imperialism and multinationals within the unions, the yellow ITUC and ETUC. Especially today, in the midst of a new imperialist war, the ITUC and ETUC want workers to mobilize behind the NATO-USA-EU imperialist alliance against the Russia imperialists. Workers must not be sacrificed for the wars of the imperialists, wars for the division of the world, for the control of energy resources, their transportation routes and spheres of influence.
The strengthening of the workers movement presupposes the weakening and isolation of the working-class aristocracy, the agents of imperialism within the unions, such as the ITUC and ETUC internationally and their mechanisms in each country.
With the WFTU congress today, with the documents and the decisions that we will reach democratically and collectively, we will give all our forces for the strengthening of the global workers movement. For the strengthening of the WFTU and the workers’ struggles in every corner of the earth, in every branch and region.
With massive unions, active, militant, with daily presence in the workplace, in industries. With faith in the principles of solidarity, internationalism, against racism and xenophobia. With daily guide the goal of every class union, the struggle for a society without exploitation, poverty and wars.
Long live the 18th World Trade Union Congress
Long live the International working class
Long live the WFTU
Rome, Italy, May 2022