Date: Sat, 9 Dec 1995 07:22:15 GMT
/** labr.global: 214.0 **/
New Year Message from the World Federation of Trade Unions
WFTU Press Release, no. 20, 5 December 1995
On the occasion of the New Year, 1996, the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) warmly greets working women and men in all countries, the trade unions and all those millions who are engaged in united action and solidarity in the struggle to build a better life and a better world.
The year 1996 is designated by the United Nations as the INTERNATIONAL YEAR FOR THE ERADICATION OF POVERTY. The declared aim is to carry forward the task of implementing the commitments the governments and the international community undertook in recent years, and, in particular, at Copenhagen and Beijing this year - at the World Summit for Social Development and the World Conference on Women.
The WFTU and the entire world trade union movement fully support these aims. But as the ongoing trade union actions in various countries show, the policies of Big Business, the TNCs and many governments are actually working to torpedo these aims. For example, even in the industrially-developed countries, there is a frontal attack on jobs and social security in the name of restructuring and deficit reduction. Thus the social dimension of economic policies is completely overlooked. The chief problem which emerges is, indeed, an extreme poverty of "political will" on the part of the dominant economic powers.
The trade union movement is convinced that if such anti-social policies are not reversed, the number of those below the poverty line will only increase significantly despite the observance of the International Year for the Elimination of Poverty. Therefore, the trade unions along with broad coalitions of NGOs insist on the formulation and implementation of a democratic alternative which can guarantee full employment, the eradication of poverty, decent wages, social security and health care, at the national level, and a New International Economic Order, eliminating all forms of economic domination and unequal relations. Only such an orientation can assure the realization of the objectives of social development, workers' rights and people's participation in development.
The trade unions demand that budget deficits be covered not by imposing greater unemployment and cutting social expenditures but by transferring resources which are at present either idle or are being wasted or misused. Despite the proclaimed end of the cold war, the arms race and especially the nuclear arms race continue to drain huge resources. At the U.N. Conference on Human Settlements - Habitat II - which will take place in June 1996, the trade unions will demand that more houses, schools and hospitals be built, transferring funds from the arms budgets to these urgent social needs and create more jobs. Clearly, if the unemployed millions can be brought back into the active labour force, the additional value generated can wipe out all the current deficits and bring extra resources for economic and social development. Therefore a policy of respecting human rights and in particular, the right to a job to all able-bodied women and men is an equally good economic and social policy.
The trade unions demand that the IMF and the World Bank amend their polices in order to respect the human rights of the overwhelming majority of the world population. And they ask those governments which control the majority of votes in these institutions to act in the spirit of the Ten Commitments they themselves undertook at the Copenhagen Summit.
The WFTU assures its complete solidarity with the trade union struggles in all countries in the New Year, to bring sanity, economic sense and social solidarity - the true social and human dimension - to economic policies. In this spirit of unity and international solidarity, the WFTU wishes all success to the working people and trade unions in all countries in their efforts to organise, unite and struggle together with all progressive forces, in the New Year, for an end to all military conflicts, to stop the offensive on workers' rights and trade union rights, and to build a better life, peace, security and social progress for all.
World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)