General Secretary, Report, nº 10
April, May, and June 2015
Comrades give an account of the work done since Communication No. 9:
A) WORK OF THE GENERAL SECRETARIAT (GS) .-
1. I sent the greetings, from the comrades of the DRC, Democratic Republic of Congo, to support the important meeting P&R they did there on April 17.
2. On 17 April I had an important meeting with George Mavrikos, to review the situation of trade union work of our TUI before the meeting of the Presidential Council of the WFTU 2015, held in June in Genève.
3. I was at Genève as General Secretary of our TUI, from 1 to 13th June. There I participated in important meetings convened by the WFTU (including the Presidential Council this year 2015 in which I contributed my views. See them in ANNEX 1). I took advantage of the presence of many trade unionists from all continents to report the activities of our TUI, especially the five Regional Conferences, asking collaboration for its successful realization. Moreover, for the first time a representative of the P&R addressed the Plenary Conference of the ILO (No. 104). See in ANNEX 2 the text of my speech to the ILO. Mistranslated by the official interpreters (the English version on the website of the ILO, runs several times the word “communist” which is not in the original text. Once again the ILO demonstrates its manipulation capacity at the service of capitalism).
4. I have, from Barcelona, Spain, continued making efforts to help the celebration of the 5 regional conferences: Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Middle East and Arab world.
5. To show our solidarity with the struggle of TUI PAME and 700 Greek organizations against the new Memorandum with the Troika, now signed by Syriza, Dimos Koumpouris (as president) and I (as Gral. Sec.) sent a text to support their fight last June, 11.
6. He agreed to represent our TUI October 3 in Sao Paolo, Brazil, for the commemoration of the 70th anniversary of the WFTU.
7. I have also agreed to travel to Athens to be the 20th and 21st October to celebrate the XXI Congress of PAME P&R.
8. I have proposed Comrade Koupouris Dimos, President of our TUI, to represent us in Syria next month of September in the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the WFTU.
B) WORK OF THE OTHER MEMBERS OF THE DIRECTION.-
1. The comrades of the Democratic Republic of Congo made a P&R first meeting on April, 17 and a second on 17th May. The information is on the web, in French, of our TUI (including photos).
2. Comrade Palmos Panagiotis signed a text addressed to all members of the Technical and Research Commission, which he chairs, with a proposed work plan, which should be the guideline for the work of this group of our e- TUI. See ANNEX 3 herein.
3. With the help of Comrade Jose Maria Lucas, Secretary of Finance of our TUI, we have drawn up a work plan to complete the necessary income from voluntary support of individuals and groups. If members of our TUI comply with this plan, we can run our TUI. See the text that we have sent Dimos Koupouris and I, in ANNEX 4
ANNEX Nº 1
Quim Boix´s intervention at the 2015 WFTU´s Presidential Council
As usual, our meetings are very important moments to the WFTU´s life.
I´m talking to you as a Spanish member in order to express my gratitude to comrade George Mavrikos´help during his April 2015 visit to Madrid, when he gave us his collaboration in various matters summarized in the WFTU´s web. Now, we are going to make a further effort to coordinate the eight Spanish trade unions affiliated to the WFTU, so we may be able to held a wide celebration of WFTU´s 70th anniversary and to contribute to the spread WFTU´s influence.
I also want to congratulate all WFTU leaders for the hard work performed during the last year to promote the views of a class conscious unionism.
As the Trade Unions International for Pensioners and Retirees adhered to the WFTU we have carried the banners and we have expressed the opinions of the WFTU. I myself represented this ideas during my recent visit to Pakistan as a guest of Pakistan´s trade union PLF, also a member of the WFTU.
In spite of several difficulties to be overcome in due time, the International of Trade Unions are preparing the five regional conferences, as decided during our foundational congress held in Barcelona in February 2014. At this time we just have a definite date for the American Regional Conference, that will be held in Quito, Ecuador, next September 30th thanks to the compromise of CTE, Confederación de Trabajadores de Ecuador (Ecuador´s Confederation of Workers). WFTU´s regional office in America will put every effort as to secure the conference´s success, while the first steps in this direction have been taken.
We are now preparing the other four Regional Conferences: one in Africa (where we will join together the struggles of French-speaking and English-speaking Pensioners and Retirees), another in Asia (this will probably be delayed bearing in mind the problems aroused to our comrades there after the recent earthquakes in Nepal), another one in the Middle East and in the Arab countries, and another to be held in Europe.
In recent days I have been talking about these Conferences with the WFTU´s leaders attending our present meeting in Geneve. I ask for all possible help from all of you. We shouldn´t forget that at our retirement´s age we, trade unionist, accumulate a great deal of experience, and we may be able to take advantage of this experience to extract new victories for the working class while at the same time we reinforce the WFTU.
To the WFTU´s reinforcement, and on behalf of the collective board of the International of Trade Unions for Pensioners and Retirees, I propose to assume, as the Presidential Council, the following claim; a claim that binds together the struggle of every worker in every country in the world for a retirement public pension that allows a decent living for all those from 60 years old onwards. This claim will be successful, inside the capitalist system, only if we fight for it and if we win. This is what I´m proposing to be defended by the WFTU: that all time that a worker spends searching for a job will be accounted to the Social Security records, for it is not a workers´fault not to find an adequate and paid job. This is always the fault of capitalism, as it is the only interested in the existence of unemployment.
I want to finish my intervention expressing, as a European, how worry I am concerning the actual situation at the WFTU´s European Office. We must bear in mind that is here, in Europe, where the biggest attacks on the historical workers conquests are taking place; historical conquests in which the unions adhered to the WFTU played a very important role during the 20th Century.
Actually, apart from Belarus, Greece and Cyprus, Europe shows the lowest adherence rate to the WFTU. To improve this reality, the WFTU´s European Office should issue, at least once in a three months period, a union statement as to mark the struggle against the EEC, the NATO and the Euro and showing its strong opposition to the reformist unionism practiced by the European Confederation of Trade Unions (a faithful ally of CSI as it helps the ruling class in the ideological struggle). The mere existence of this statements will allows us to spread the WFTU in all European countries.
I can tell you for sure that the Spanish trade unions members of the WFTU are going to help the WFTU´s European Office in these tasks.
Thanks for your attention to my words.
Geneve, June 2015.
ANNEX Nº 2
Trade Union International of Pensioners and Retirees, member of the WFTU at the 104º Conference of the ILO
Today is an historical date for Pensioners and Retirees from all over the world organized in class conscious trade unions and coordinated in the five continents, as for the first time here we are in front of the ILO claiming our rights. This has become possible due to the decision taken by the WFTU - an organization next to its 70ª anniversary - to create a Trade Union International of class unions that binds together Pensioners and Retirees from more than a hundred countries. I´m talking to you as General Secretary of this unique class union organization of Pensioners. As a whole, Pensioners and Retirees account to hundreds of millions, approximately 20% of the world population and 30% of the world´s citizens entitled to vote.
An important part of this fraction of the population still has not its right recognized by the capitalist’s governments for a pension after they reach 60 years old. Due to its age, these important masses of former workers have acquired an impressive amount of collective wideness’ (used through the centuries by all civilizations) and a long lasting experience in the struggle for their rights. Our generation of trade unionist has achieved, from the mid twentieth century, important levels of betterment connected to the labour rights; an outstanding achievement in the history of the class struggle.
We reached this point through great mass struggles with lots of assassinations, tortures, imprisonments and fired out workers on its path, but also with great advantages that right now are in danger of being taken away by the capitalism - especially when dealing with Pensioners and Retirees - under the fake pretext of the actual crisis. The, we are going to use our number strength and our experience as trade unionists and fighters to get new rights for the Pensioners and Retirees as well as to the whole of the working class.
We are not going to accept the fact that wage earners, after a long life of work, will become dependants from their families as was proposed in Senegal by the leader of the International Trade Union Confederation and ILO´s representative in Africa. We are going to fight, in close alliance with the rest of the working class and together with those exploited by the capitalists system that oppresses all of us as, Capitalism is today the new Slavery. In any case, and as our ancestors finally defeated slavery, we are going to advance in our aim to finally abolish capitalism.
Entrepreneurs and rulers of the capitalist countries, you may know that capitalism has its days or years of existence limited. Capitalism itself currently goes from structural to systemic crisis, and from there to its final crisis as rightly announced by Karl Marx. Our planet is a land of plenty, and we are going to fight to share it with fairness.
This will be impossible inside the framework of capitalism, as it steals basic and natural resources through genocides and imperialist wars following the old pattern of the colonialist whose main tool were its military interventions in the colonized countries.
With all this wealth fairly distributed, attached to the needs of each person, we are going to get a decent life for everyone in the planet. That is to say, Socialism.
We are especially fighting for a minimum and public pension equal to the minimum salary similar to what they have in Luxembourg (approx. 1.800€ per month), as the citizens of the whole world must have the same rights as the citizens of this country.
Didn´t they spend so much in weapons only useful to those transnational companies that make them in order to wage war and carry death and destruction (following NATO´s orders) to those countries whose resources they want to exploit, it would be money enough as to guarantee decent salaries and pensions for everyone.
We are going to achieve this aim by means of the struggle, as those recently waged by Greek Pensioners (thousands of them collapsing the streets of Athens to force the new government headed by Syriza to comply with its false electoral promises) or those that took place in Australia, in Africa, In France, in Pakistan, in Nepal, in India and in Cyprus, along with the historical struggle of the Argentinians pensioners who at this present stage accumulate 1.210 Wednesday stand-ups in front of the Parliament claiming for their rights.
We ask the Universal Declaration of Rights should be enhanced as to include Pensioners´ rights; those rights whose differences based upon sex discrimination, as is the case today, we are no to accept .
We, Pensioners, are no more under the influence of the entrepreneurs (with the exception of some countries), so we must claim our rights mainly from the governments, and we may change them, little by little, through our votes. In the meantime we can see that while the socialist countries have granted for decades a dignified pension to those who had worked during 25 years or more (along with the right to a decent house, health care, transportation and culture almost for free, as well as collective measures to resolve the problems of those disabled due to their old age), the governments that rule the capitalists countries are cutting and denying us those basic rights. Headed those governments are the ones of the wealthy EEC.
We clearly denounce the private funds for pensions interesting only for the bank system and for the leaders of collaborationist trade unions, those linked to the capitalists´ exploitation, those trade unions coordinated by the CSI, that as part of the ILO, and as a payment for its submissive attitude to capitalism, holds in a monopolistic and anti-democratic and unfair way all the places that should be occupied by trade unions.
As I told at the beginning, today is a historical date for Pensioners, as you have just listened, for the first time at this UN´s hall used by the ILO, the voice of veteran class conscious trade unionists that as anti-fascists, anti-imperialists and anti-capitalist have fought and will continue fighting for changing the world. Socialism is the future of human kind and you know it, although you try to delay its arrival, which therefore will be our definite victory.
General Secretary of the Trade Union International of Pensioners and Retirees, meber of the WFTU.
UN and ILO´s headquartes, Geneve.
On 4 of June 2015.
ANNEX Nº 3
WORKING PLAN PROPOSAL FOR THE TECHNICAL AND INVESTIGATION COMMISSION AT THE INTERNATIONAL OF THE WTUF´s INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNIONS OF PENSIONERS AND RETIREES
According to the collective talks concerning the first yearly report of our activities as FSM´s international of trade unions of pensioners and retirees – a debate that was held through virtual means during February and March 2015, without personal presences but with plenty of documents previously discussed – I have assumed the responsabilty as Head of the Technical and Investigation commission as were created during our successful foundational Congress (Barcelona, Feb., 2014).
For that reason I send you this Working Plan proposal so we may exchange our mutual opinions and comments prior to its approval. We are going to proced to this Exchange on a virtual basis, at least till we may have the chance of holding a personal meeting among the seven people attached to the commission (a difficult meeting for the time being due to the geographical distance between Greece, Spain, Senegal, India, Cuba, France and Argentina).
As it is written in our statutes:
Article 31: The Technical and Investigation Commission depends on the Presidence and the General Secretary. Its responsables will make their proposal on the personnel especially bearing in mind their qualifications and availabilities in order to collaborate. Ths Commission will be base don the same site as Intertanional of Trade Unions for Pensioners and Retirees´ headquarters.therefore, the Commission should be based also in the different regions, depending upon their respective Vice-Presidencies and Secretaries and reporting to the Presidency and the General Secretary.
Article 32: Functions and Responsabilities of the Commission are as follows:
Article 32-2- For the Technical and Investigation Commission: a) To iisue its opinions after listening those from the Secretary of Propaganda in every matter related to Press, Propaganda and Publications; b) To preserve the International of Trade Unions´ of pensioners and retirees Historical Archive and Documents; c) To Promote collaborations on an international level; d) To Propose items for study and divulgative purposes in tihght collaboration with the Secretary of Formation.
According the above mentioned matters the Working Plan proposal for the Commission goes as follows:
1) Each Regional Conference, actually underway, will appoint a trade union Readers team to be part of the Commission in their region. The proper work proccess will be coordinated by the persona in charge of the Regional Cofernece, counting with the help of the staff members appointed by each Conference.
2) this five teanms will proceed under the same criteria as the Central Commission. The criteria are detailed on the following points:
3) Each of the seven members of the Commission will search in his/her entourage (country and region) from one to four persons to be appointed as aides ans specialist in those ítems related to the Commission, as these are defined in our statutary rules.
4) In each Region or Continent a report will be written on the Pensioners and Retirees´ reality, adding, when available, details of the analizad countries. This report will allow us to write our claims lists that as class conscious trade unions we are going to demand in every country and in every Region.
5) To the above mentioned reports the surveys previously distributed during the process prior to our foundational Congress will be used. This surveys appera – in several lenguajes – in our International of Trade Unions´ website, and should be filled with the answers belonging to those countries from we still have no data.
6) Discussion and summary of the five reports above mentioned may be useful to write a document focused in our claims on a worldwide basis as class conscious trade unions of Pensioners and Retirees. This document will serve as a basis for collective discussion in the proccess that will lead us to our Second Congress as WTUF´s International of Trade Unions of Pensioners and Retirees.
7) The Commission will ask for help to the Secretary of Formation at our International of Trade Unions as to propose new ítems for study and divulgation, also gathering the sugerences and oponions from the 24 members (base don 19 countries) of the wolrd direction of the WTUF´s International of Trade Unions of Pensioners and Retirees.
8) The Commission will collaborate with our International of Trade Unions´ Secretary of Propaganda in order to analyze Publications and other materials to be distributed as International of Trade Unions (both on central – through our website – and regional leves), in order to give its opinions as Technical and Investigation Commission.
9) The Commission will gather the historiacl archive of our collective work, that will be base don the same town were the International of Trade Unions have its headquarters. For the time being, Barcelona, Spain.
With your comments and aditions we will be in a proper position as to lay the foundations of our definite Working Plan.
We are going to give ourselves a two month period in order to fullfill this task.
I look forward to know both your comments and adition during this period.
Also, I send you my internationalist and trade unionist regards.
Athens, June 2015
ANNEX Nº 4
LETTER TO ALL MEMBERS AND FRIENDS OF ORGANIZATIONS OF PENSIONERS AND RETIREES´ TRADE UNION INTERNATIONAL OF THE WFTU
We greet you on behalf of entire leadership team of our Trade Union International (TUI) Pensioners and Retired (P&R) of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). We wish you many successes in the struggle to defend the just rights of P&R in your countries.
Step by step, the TUI of P&R of the WFTU is consolidating his existence. We are the younger TUI of the WFTU although our affiliates are the most veteran unionist, most experienced and eager to continue fighting as we have done during decades for the improvement of the social conditions of the working class.
In the WFTU, our affiliated organizations and friends are those with lesser economic resources, as P&R receive lower monthly amounts, in case they are entitled to pensions, than most of the active workers that get a salary. This affects the fees they can afford.
We understand that this makes more difficult operations and finances of our collective, but we are convinced that we can overcome this situation. In our trade-unionist life and experience we have learned to cope with all sorts of challenges.
We attached (Appendix 1) the statement of the accounts of our TUI. As you can see, travel expenses that have been made (and which they are detailed in the various copies of the COMMUNICATION) to participate in activities of our TUI are not included; that’s because the people who took part in this activities personally assumed the expenses or because the groups that couldn’t be included in the economic balance.
This financial difficulty is what prevented us to make the first statutory and scheduled meeting for the 24 members of our management team as TUI. We were invited to Bahrain in early March, but could not afford the travel expenses.
Reviewing the financial situation of our TUI, it is necessary to remind that most of our affiliated organizations did not pay their share for 2014. We call on the unions which can pay to do it as soon as possible.
We also ask that organizations can afford the fees of 2014, to do so, as according to Statutes.
<<Article 48- The member organizations of P&R TUS will contribute by way of ordinary share , flexible and adapted to the reality of each union , an amount equivalent to two dollars per year for the economically strongest unions (in the countries of North America, Western Europe, Australia, Gulf, and Japan, an annual dollar for unions with less financial strength (in the countries of Eastern Europe, Middle East, East Asia and Pacific), and half dollar to other unions (the countries of Latin America, Caribbean, and Africa).>>
Apart of what is granted in the Statutes, we took the opportunity to claim to Secretary of Organization, Comrade D. Gopalakrishnan (All India BSNL (India) report, the mail is: [email protected]) and the Secretary of Finance, Comrade Jose Maria Lucas, of the TUI P&R (Spain) the mail is: [email protected]) of the data from each union affiliation.
If in any case you cannot pay the total amount marked on the Statutes, we asked you to pay the possible part of them, however small could be. At least, it will demonstrate solidarity with the general activity of the TUI and the willingness to seek financial resources.
Precisely to seek financial resources to complete the fee revenue, in the virtual meeting, held in early 2015, the entire management team of our TUI (which supplied internet exchanges we should do had we be able to be present in Bahrain), adopted the proposal of our Secretary of Finance, Comrade Jose Maria Lucas (see Annex 2 Communication No. June 4, 2014), in which, among other things, to complete the finances from membership, it says:
<<To help to create a permanent network of donors of all kinds to the TUI , understanding by "all types" to those persons, groups or organizations of proven honesty and class principles that could help in our organization. This Secretariat is open to any suggestions and information regarding this and other issues around the same concept and criteria. We will make a proposal for how to collect these aids. >>
To put this ongoing campaign we suggest heading to people or groups in your country who can understand the need to help (sporadically or regularly) to finance the TUI. We attach (ANNEX 2), a possible model for text that you can use in your country, the document we have drafted and which will be used in Spain to carry out this campaign.
We ask that this campaign is already operational in September 2015.
We remain at your disposal.
Receive internationalist greetings of
Dimos Koumpouris Quim Boix
President General Secretary
Pensioners opening balance TUI 2.856,47
TUI affiliated fees 3.432,39
Individual aid 265,00
Financial expenses 28,25
Gaza solidarity 300,00
Travel expenses 475,02
Total 1.023,27 6.553,86
Current balance 5.530,59
FINANCIAL SUPPORT CAMPAIGN
FOR SUCCESSFUL OPERATION OF THE TUI OF P&R OF THE WFTU
In February 2014 we held in Barcelona the First Congress of Trade Union of Pensioners and Retired class (P&R), committed to the anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist struggle of the unions coordinated by the WFTU.
It served to start the activities of the first World TUI of Pensioners and Retirees. We are therefore the only international trade union organization existing which assembles P&R, as the other international trade union confederation, the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), to which CCOO and UGT are affiliated has not established, or planned to establish a similar branch. You can follow an important part of our activities by visiting the website: http://www.pensionistas.info/web/es
While our competitor at international level, ITUC receives aid from various institutions (EU, IMF, governments and employers), the WFTU does not receive any official support, fairly logical in a society divided into classes, the class in power only helps those who favor it. All resources come from the WFTU affiliates. So we keep and maintain our independence as an organization. Dependence on grants from the employers and the bourgeois governments, in the Spanish state, has led to radical changes in trade unionism, as it has been the case of CCOO, which has gone from being a class conscious trade union, as we founded it ago 50 years, to be an important tool in the hands of the bourgeois system.
To follow the WTUF´s guidelines, in this our first year of existence as TUI P&R of the WFTU, we tried to implement the minimum structures that ensure the effectiveness of our struggle in defense of worthy public pension rights (enough to live decently) for all persons over 60 years, have they worked in the public or the private sector. The reality in many countries (especially in the former colonies) is that the right to public pension is only recognized for some of those who have worked, and sometimes only for part of the former employees of the government.
Therefore, our task is very difficult, as governments in capitalist countries do not want to invest in the welfare of its population, and therefore don´t put in place laws to ensure the right to adequate state pension to live on.
In the second place, the employers oppose any improvement of the public, since for them the whole economy should be private. For them everything should serve as a means to make business, including health and education. Also they see great business potential in the right to an old age minimum living with policyholders. They prefer and promote private pension funds. That’s another form of exploitation of wage earners driven by the big capitalists.
Unfortunately, the yellow unions (those with whose criteria deny the existence of the class struggle, and therefore only act in the direction imposed on them by capitalist leaders) are also promoters of private pension funds. The employer has been able to offer crumbs of the great benefits that these private funds given to financial firms, for unions of the ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) completed as part of the boards of the companies that manage these funds.
But we will gradually overcome these difficulties, first informing workers of all countries that it is possible to enjoy public pensions that allow retirees to live with dignity, as lived P&R of the former socialist countries and live still in countries without capitalist economy.
Second, we will organize the management team, global and from every continent, who operate this new global structure, our TUI of P&R adhered to the WFTU, which mainly aims to generalize the right to a public pension enough to live with dignity, as well to continue claiming the rights to housing, water, food, health, leisure and public means of transportation available to all P&R.
At the Barcelona Congress, we appointed a management team divided into 3 groups: 1) The Executive Council of 14 members, who live in 13 different countries across 5 continents ; 2) A Technical and Research Commission of 7 members residing in 7 countries; and 3) Financial Control Committee 3 members, 3 countries and different continents.
Now we are preparing the structures to direct the struggle of P&R in every continent. The 30th of September will be held in Quito, Ecuador, the First Conference of Class Trade Unions of P&R of America. That will be followed by conferences in other continents.
But to function, to go ahead with everything stated above, we need money to meet our ends and make our own decisions, to enable the search for information (country to country), to launch public awareness campaigns and to organize Pensioners and Retirees all over.
As you will understand the fees that can afford the unions are very small amount compared to the needs to be covered. The P&R , when people come to live each month on small averages worldwide are also union members (one part is derecognized mistakenly believing they no longer need the work of trade unions), so they pay a lower fee. Therefore the share of revenue from our TUI quotas is not enough to cover total expenses on the more essential items. Many of these costs (some adding hundreds or thousands of dollars each year) are been paid by the same persons in the management of the TUI (as they are paying travel, lodging and other common expenses when they have their meetings and activities related to the TUI out of their places of residence).
For instance, we couldn´t celebrate our first global meeting as scheduled during our Foundational Congress, which was convened last March in Bahrain (the unions of this country assumed living expenses of those invited). We had no money to pay for airline tickets of the 24 members who make up the leadership as the sum of the three aforementioned teams. We have overcome this difficulty by making a virtual meeting, with an exchange of documents and opinions on the Internet, but ultimately is not enough as a method of sharing and collective debate.
Therefore, as we did to finance the founding congress of our TUI, we decided to launch a fundraising campaign. As in the campaign to enable the Congress, which gathered more than 14,000 € from 193 inputs (4 of them collective), we will work to collect the money we need to run, completing the fees we receive with extraordinary contributions of individuals and groups that may understand the need for us to fight to defend the rights of P&R.
In summary, on behalf of the new WTUF´S TUI of P&R I want to ask your help in which you may consider your financial support could be. The maximum in each case and time you can. They can be exceptional contributions without commitment repeat or periodic payments (each contributor will decide the frequency and amount of its financial contribution).
I give you the TUC union (Trade Union Confederation) account number, which in turn is being the public account of the TUI, while it has its headquarters in Spain, where you can or can make the payment or transfer:
Holder: Central Sindical Unitaria
Entity: La Caixa
Nº: 2100 0856 98 0200529700
IBAN: ES20 2100 0856 9802 0052 9700
BIC/ SWIFT CODE: CAIXESBBXXX
Obviously we will give you a receipt, and publish the contribution to the sender that you indicate (anonymous is also possible).
I am greatly conscious of the kind of support we are asking for you, but, honestly, we all think our goal deserves our common commitment.
I remain at your disposal to give you further information (including all types of documents) and answer any questions.
See you soon.
General Secretary of the TUI(Trade Union International)
of Pensioners and Retired (P&R) of the WFTU (World Federation Trade Union).