President Jacob Zuma has applauded international unions for their in helping South Africa.
South African President Jacob Zuma delivered the key note address at the 17th congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions in Durban applauding the federation in assisting South Africa’s liberation.
The Federation became a shelter and home for many liberation fighters, especially from the South African Congress of Trade Unions, SACTU. South Africans were made to feel so much at home in WFTU, the President said, adding that ANC stalwart Moses Mabhida, even assumed the leadership position in the WFTU at some point. He was addressing more than 1500 delegates coming from 242 trade unions from 111 countries around the world.
The conference is organised under the theme, “Struggle, Internationalism and unity for the attainment of the contemporary workers’ needs, against poverty and wars generated by capitalist barbarism”.
This congress, delegates heard, took place during a difficult period in the global economy.
Zuma added: “The global economic environment remains sluggish. According to the International Monetary Fund global growth is estimated at 2.9 per cent in the first half of 2016, lower than in the second half of 2015. Advanced economies are growing at slower pace than previously anticipated.
Global industrial production and global trade remain subdued. Falling investment in many economies had reduced trade and had affected workers negatively throughout the world.
The federation’s general secretary, George Mavrikos, addressed a media briefing saying: “The class-orientated and revolutionary trade union movement under the banner of the [World Federation of Trade Unions] will use this opportunity to reflect and come out with responses to the challenges facing the working class all around the world and also to consolidate and strengthen the principles of working class internationalism and universalism.’’
Mavrikos said trade union rights, including the right to organise and to strike, were under attack all over the world, and the quality of life of working class people was deteriorating rapidly.
“Workers have to deal with the brutal reaction of authorities and the capitalists whose response against these legitimate and fair struggles is to arrest, imprison and even murder trade unionists. The working class needs stronger, more dynamic, more mass based, more class-oriented, trade union movements, trade unions with deep and stable roots within the industries, within the multinationals and within all sectors, to defend its rights and demand social justice,” he said.
The conference, at which a new federation leadership will be elected to serve a five-year term, is co-hosted by Cosatu and its affiliates the Police and Prisons Civil Rights Union, the National Union of Mineworkers and the Chemical, Engineering, Paper, Pulp, Wood and Allied Workers Union, all of which are affiliated to the federation.