January, February and March, 2015 Communication nº9
General Secretary, Report, nº 9
January, February and March , 2015
Dear comrades, by means of this report I want to render account of the activities developed since our last issue.
A) WORK PERFORMED FROM THE GENERAL SECRETARY:
1.- Information received at the General Secretary and considered of interest for the TUI have been sent to all directors board´s members on a regular basis.
2.- Works related to the preparations of our yearly meeting scheduled to be held at Bahrein were coordinated through the General Secretary, Due to the fact that only 4 out of 24 members of the TUI´s directors board confirmed their availability for coming to the yearly meeting at Bahrein, it was decided, with the approval of TUI´s President, to postpone the previously stated appointment.
3.- The report on the works developed by the TUI during 20014 was written and sent (in English, French and Spanish) to all members of the board of directors.
4.- All contributions from the members of the TUI´s board of directors were gathered prior to the definite document that may serve as a basis for 2015´s Working Plan. See this document on ANNEX 1º, also issued in English, French, Greek and Spanish.
5.- Paperwork and other bureaucratic hurdles were carried out in order to get the ILO´s official recognition of our TUI. Special efforts have been devoted to comply with ILO´s requirements concerning to information on finances and activities of our TUI. Finally, recognition from the ILO has arrived and consequently we must now prepare our presence at the 104º ILO´s Conference to be held on June 2015. After more than a century of existence, it will be the first time that Pensioners and Retirees will take part on this three-party body as an organized force. See ANNEX 2º to know about the general criteria for participation.
6.- General Secretary will prepare our TUI´s intervention at the Plenary to be celebrated during the ILO´s 104º Conference. A draft of this intervention will be sent to all the24 members of our board of directors as well as to the WFTU´s General Direction. Member´s contributions will be added to the final document - anyhow brief - to be read at the ONU´s offices in Geneve.
7.- Several documents expressing our solidarity with a various range of workers´ struggles has been issued and sent.
8.- Finally, and in spite of the numerous difficulties aroused, it was possible to travel to Lahore (Pakistan) answering the invitation extended by Pakistan´s trade union PLF - adhered to the WFTU. A summary of the trip and its activities can be found in ANNEX 3º.
9.- General Secretary will give its help to the WFTU´s TUI of Pensioners and Retirees as to enable our organization to assure its presence and make important contributions to the events scheduled as a wolrd-wide celebration of the WFTU´s 70º Anniversary. We will be present at the central meeting of October 3rd 2015 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Apart from that, we must realize other de-centralized events such as our Regional Conference for America: September 30th, 2015 in Quito, Ecuador, or the above mentioned meeting held in Lahore (Pakistan) last March 11th - See ANNEX 3.
B) WORKS PERFORMED BY OTHER MEMBERS OF THE BOARD OF DIRECTORS.-
1.- Major progress have been made in order to give specific contents to our TUI´s Regional Conferences. The First Regional Conference for America will be held in Quito, Ecuador, next September 30th under the patronage of local trade union CTE - member of the WFTU. Vice President for America of our TUI, comrade Martha Hervás, is actually working to establish the list of the delegates to be present at the Regional Conference. This task is being performed with the help and collaboration of the WFTU´s regional office for America.
2.- Preparations concerning our TUI´s Regional Conferences for Europe and the Middle East in progress, although at this present moment there´s still no decisions on dates and places have been taken. Also, no official documents on the matter have been issued yet.
3.- With the delay of this preparations in mind, our French comrades are currently taking the neccesary steps to be taken so the Regional Conference for Europe could be held in France.
4.- We must right now activate our Financial Plan approved during our virtual meeting held instead of that scheduled in March 1st, 20015 at Bahrein and finally cancelled.
5.- Also, the collective work to be developed by the Technical and Investigation Commission must start without further delay. We should be aware of the fact that some Commission´s members have issued theirs comments, ideas and opinions.
6.- Other TUI´ Secretaries still without an established Working Plan must write it so it can be collectively discussed and approved by the whole TUI´s board of directors.
7.- Comrade Costas Skarparis, leader of Cypriot trade union PEO and President of the Commission of Financial Control, must start the collective work of this organ elected more than a year ago in Barcelona.
ANNEX Nº 1
WORKING PLAN FOR 2015
A) SHORTCOMINGS TO BE OVERCOME:
We have to take on account the fact that our TUI has four directive Tams: Executive Council, Secretariat, Technical and Investigation Commission and Financial Control Commission. 24 comrades from 19 countries and five continents were elected to take part of this teams, that stands as a good assets to carry on our task to organize the struggle for the rights of Pensioners and Retirees from all over while at the same time bring us additional difficulties derived from our different languages and from the travels we must make.
The first problem we should resolve comes from the different languages used by unionist from very different countries. This matter has caused additional trouble when dealing with the much needed information exchange. That is why we may look for help from realible interpreters able to translate documents and communications to at least one of these languages: English, French and Spanish.
The second difficulty we must face has to do with the financial shortcomings of the new TUI of Pensioners and Retirees that is also part of the financial strain of the WFTU as a whole (in any case, both entrepreneurs and governments will continue creating economical difficulties to us as a means to fight against) and gives us something very important to think about. Solidarity from the stronger trade unions in terms of finance with those less fortunate is a must so the new TUI could continue with its activities.Additional financial support from other trade unions has been promised (at this time from three unions). In any case we must remind its financial commitment to those with dues still pending so we may overcome this problem as soon as possible. It will also be a key matter to resolve our financial problems to approve (along with the present document) and start a fund raising campaign proposed by our Finances Secretary through its Letter number 2 (see at the web: Annex 3 to communicate nº7). Further advances on this task from any organization adhered to the TUI should be communicated to the Finance´s Secretary, comrade José María Lucas from Spain´s CSU of Pensioners and Retirees.
Besides our works concerning the above mentioned ítems we should improve at:
1) Dates, places and documents should be scheduled soon in order to hold the Regional Conferences in Africa, America, Asia, Europe and the Middle East. These conferences must serve as a mean to organize the Pensioners and Retirees´ struggle in each continent bearing in mind the criteria and the documents approved in our foundational congress. The elected Vice Presidents of the TUI must enforce and being responsible of this Conferences.
2) We may try to get the biggest media covering for all our activities so each day more people, being Pensioners and Retirees or not, will get first hand knowledge of the fair struggle and the important demands of Pensioners and Retirees that the WFTU support and propels.
3) We must receive written plans from the different Secretaries, as only those from Finance and Propaganda have been forwarded with their specific working plans (see Communiqué nº 4) – both documents are to be collectively discussed and approved. TUI´s General Secretary will make a follow up of this works, proposing – when needed – working plans´drafts to those Secretaries that for any reason will have any difficulties in doing it by themselves.
4) TUI´ fees have been paid only by 5 organizations: PAME, from Greece; Jubiqué and CSU, from Spain, All India Postal,RMS Pensioners Association and AIBDPA trade union from India. Following comrade Quim Boix´s recent trip to Pakistan, we have the commitment of Pakistan´s trade union PLF concerning the paying of its fees. Apart from these, there are still many organizations and countries whose fees remain unpaid in spite of being able to meet them. Unpaid fees make much more difficult the works of the TUI. For instance, this lack of funds have made impossible our Bahrein´s March 1st yearly meeting.
5) With the exceptions of those from comrades Miguel Herrero, José María Lucas and Quim Boix, from Spain; Alain Rodríguez from France, D Gopalakrishnan y V.A.N. Namboodiri from India, RouaniDjamel from Algiers, Lázara Santiego from Cuba, and Haji Muhamamad Saeed Arian from Pakistan, the trade unionist´sCV of board members have not been received to be published. Please bear in mind that the mentioned CV must be sent as soon as possible.
6) Surveys made in any country and posted in our web must be fully completed in their respective languages: 11 in Spanish, 11 in English and 8 in French. This required data must be very useful for the works of Technical and Investigation Commission.
7) Technical and Investigation Commission has not started its works. However, comrade Palmos Panagiotis, from PAME , has been appointed as responsible (appointment to be confirmed during the discussion of the present document). We may also establish a collective working plan on this area. This is another task to be realized with the General Secretary´s support.
8) Finance control commission has no started its works. Its President, comrade Costas Scarparis from PEO (Cyprus) should get in contact with the other two commission´s members as to propose a working plan and guidelines to be forwarded to the collective directive of the TUI. While in Pakistan, comrade Quim Boix helped to re-establish contacts between comrade Costas Scarparisand other members of the commission. Avoid further delays concerning this collective task is greatly needed.
I. Proposals approved and enriched through collective debate:
3 GUIDE LINES AND MAIN OBJECTIVES
OF OUR TRADE UNION ACTIVITY AS PENSIONERS AND RETIREES
A) Internal organization.-
Our TUI must grow and be enhanced. Some organizations have been created in the very recent past as Pensioners and Retirees´ trade unions while others count with decades of existence. An internal exchange of previous experiences will be really helpful.
We should add and affiliate new organizations formed by Pensioners and Retirees, whether they are exclusively formed by pensioners or not.
Our real objective consists in organizing Pensioners and Retirees all over the world on a trade union basis. It would be better if organizations are formed by Pensioners and Retirees, although in any case we must show our respect for any kind of organizations as decided in any country.
Pensioners and Retirees in every country should have its own claims´list along with its trade unionist working plan. The same goes to every continent from the general guide lines to be approved at the Regional Conferences currently in preparation.
Data and documents on these realities should be forwarded to the Secretary of Organization of the TUI, which will make further requirements on those not yet received. This Secretary´s task is of the greatest importance.
B) External work for Pensioners and Retirees:
We must have clear proposals to allow our progress in order to fully satisfy the fair Pensioners and Retirees´ claims (as stated in our New Year´s greeting) being our main central objective a pension enough to guarantee a dignified life for every worker older than 60 (as we consider 60 as the age in which every worker has fully rights to stop working).
This claims´ list must be adapted to the reality of each country and territory by ordinary trade unions and by those unions formed by Pensioners and Retirees.
A claim to the UN (United Nations) so this international body will fully recognize as an Universal Human Right the access to public pensions enough to a dignified life which may include proper housing, water supply, medical care, free transportation for daily needs, culture and leisure. All this matters should be financed through public funds when this expenses couldn´t be afforded by Pensioners.
C) External work aimed at trade union activities.
We must place in all our claim´s platforms the right of every worker to be entitled to a pension, as this right is not fully recognized in many countries while in others is only granted to those working as public servants.
Acknowledge of the years worked (andof the due monies paid to Social Security) along with the time that the worker has been unemployed and looking for a full-time job. If proper jo bis not granted by capitalist´ society, this same society must be held responsible for paying the due monies that workers cannot afford just because they don´t get a salary. There´s plenty of wealth in society, but concentrated in very few hands that usually are the same in charge of the big multinational companies. (Just remind the fact that 85 people holds the same wealth as those of half of the world population).
This proposal, that serves as a general claim for all class conscious trade unions, will allow us to establish a link between the trade union struggle of those who perceive a pension – or not, but have stopped working – with that waged by active workers that too many often forget their need to fight for future pensions from the very first day of their working lives.
This proposal was fully adopted by the whole WFTU during the meeting held in Lisbon, October 2014, at the celebration of our organization´s 69th anniversary.
We must increase the collective conscience against the ideas spread by the IMF (International Monetary Fund) that considers Pensioners and Retirees a useless expense (Japanese Prime Minister even suggested suicide as a way out for Pensioners and Retirees lacking financial resources). On the contrary, Pensioners and Retirees can supply society with the wealth of their experience (a task historically performed by millions of us) as means to enhance and secure human progress.
Near the end of the year we must remark the specific claims of our TUI of Pensioners and Retirees to be part of our demand´s platform for the following year. New year´s greetings postcards is an efficient tool that may serve us on this purpose as has been the case in the early days of 2015 (at this point we want to acknowledge the WFTU´s help in widely spreading through its web the document designed by our Secretary of Propaganda). We commit ourselves to the sending of an appropriate greeting card useful to remind our existence and to encourage trade union´s work connected with Pensioners and Retirees.
In order to get a first approach to our 3 main objectives:
1) TUI for Pensioners and Retirees must be completely faithful to the class conscious struggle waged by the WFTU as a whole. For that reason we will go on denouncing the class collaboration trade unionism as those practiced by CSI (International Trade Union Confederation). Openly opposed to the latter, France´s Pensioners and Retirees are preparing their denounce on the CSI´s actions that reinforce capitalism – for this denounce, French comrades will take advantage on the fact that CES will celebrate its next congress at Paris from Sept. 29th till Oct. 2nd., 2015
2) TUI for Pensioners and Retirees must take part and play an active role, as we are compelled by our live and trade union experience, in the celebrations scheduled to celebrate the WFTU´s 70th Anniversary. WFTU´ Secretariat makes an appeal so every TUI performs its own activities. We propose the celebration in any country of a public act in which to explain to public opinion the long struggle´s experience of the class conscious trade unionism. Intervention by our´ s union veteran leaders in these events will be of great importance. Please inform to TUI´ General Secretary of every scheduled activity so he cans communicate it to the WFTU´Secretariat. The meeting held at Lahore, Pakistan, 11-13th March 2015, is an example to be reproduced as many tines as in many countries as we can.
3) We must summarize in every country the decisions approved in our foundational congress held in Barcelona: “organize Pensioners and Retirees of the five continents in order to get universal right to a fair pension as to ensure a dignified life which provides of fresh water, food, housing, medical care, culture, leisure and other commodities suited to the old age. All of these must be guaranteed by governments.”
4) In this sense we must enforce the approval by all class conscious organizations, whether formed by Pensioners and Retirees or not, of the proposal brought by our TUI to the WFTU meeting held in Lisbon last October 3rd, 2014: “the urgent need of every time that the worker is unemployed should be accounted in terms of future pension (the worker is not to be blamed of the fact of being unemployed as the responsibility lies on the capitalist system and its managers. Therefore, a decrease of pensions linked to unpaid contributions by the unemployed worker cannot be accepted anymore.”
5) General Secretary will send a draft proposal for future working plans to each person responsible of every area that have not fulfilled this compromise yet, as to make it easier the writing of a definitive proposal to be sent to the collective debate.
6) Each of these proposals should be enlarged with sugerences by the restof TUI´ board members. From this debate, a definitive Working Plan for each Secretary of the TUI of Pensioners and Retirees will arise.
7) Technical and Investigation Commissions should produce its own working plan. We confirm comrade Palmos, from PAME, as head of this Commission.
8) Financial Control Commission must inform by writing of its works to be developed.
9) TUI´ Vice Presidents, one from each region and/or continent except for America, should inform of documents and dates regarding 4 Regional Conferences.
10) All trade unions adhered to this TUI must give its membership data to the Secretary of Finance, as previously demanded in communicate number 1 of this Secretary, and must pay its yearly dues to this TUI – being this due adapted to its reality but fully effective no matter how small could be.
11) All organizations adhered to this TUI must start a fund raising campaign as stated in communiqué number 2 issued by Finance Secretary. Only through properly organized finance we will be able to perform our duties as TUI.
12) Those trade unions that have compromised make work the web in its languages must start this activity: Catalunya / Catalan; Greece / Greek; Galicia / Portuguese and Galician; Bahrein / Arabic; Croatia / Russian; Italy / Italian; AINDPA from India / English; FSC from France / French; and CSU of Pensioners and Retirees from Spain / Spanish.
13) As pointed out in Communique number 2: “we must place all web links related to the class conscious of Pensioners and Retirees from all over the world. PLEASE, SEND ALL THOSE LINKS to the General Secretary”.
14) We must give our help our Propaganda Secretary with graphics collaborators and with contacts among the media: web sites, alternative press, mass organizations and so on.
15) We must make good and extensive use of being recognized – it seems definitely - as TUI for Pensioners and Retirees in order to spread our struggle in the five continents for our fair demands.
16) We should continue our efforts to add new affiliates from all over the world to our TUI of Pensioners and Retirees, as happened with SYNAR trade union from the Democratic Republic of Congo, recently adhered. As TUI now at the end of its first year of activity, we must grow up binding together new trade unions from every country and organizing Pensioners and Retirees everywhere.
Comrades, your opinions and your critics to this document and the added documents previously mentioned have been a worthy contribution to the interchange so greatly needed by every body of collective Management, and to make possible a betterment to the working activities and capacities of this TUI adhered to the WFTU in the general context of the class struggle.
Certainly, it would have been better to celebrate this debate at a personal meeting of the 24 members of our TUI´s board. We will strive to find the way to make it possible in the near future.
The fact that we cannot personally meet at Bahrein will not prevent us from our work and efforts in order to enlarge the success deserved by Pensioners and Retirees that will also contribute to further advances of the working class.
A deep discussion through e.mail on this document has served as a substitute to our failed meeting of the TUI´ board members as scheduled during our Barcelona congress of February 2014.
Barcelona, Mars 2015.
General Secretary of TUI (International of Trade Unions) for Pensioners and Retirees (PyJ), adhered to the WFTU
Annex.- THE NEEDED AND PENDING MEETING OF TUI´ BOARD MEMBERS (Pensioners and Retirees) / WFTU.
Cancelation, in spite of the big efforts performed by our comrades from ALBA trade union, of the scheduled Bahrein meeting has been exclusevely motivated by our present lack of financial resources.
It is not surprise that the TUI of Pensioners and Retirees of the WFTU, as any other recently created structure, should have financial problems, as we can only rely on our own resources and those come from collaborations (something usual to any class conscious trade union. The whole WFTU fairly knows of these facts.
Besides, Pensioners and Retirees are the working class group provided with lesser incomes. A very important but still not qualified number of workers that may be considered Pensioners are finishing their labor lives without getting a public pension. Apart from that, many –too many– workers left their trade union activities when they stop to work.
For all this reasons the dues we can collect as Pensioners and Retirees trade union are very few and of very modest amount. We should try to improve this situation through a progressive process that obviously will take its time.
By the answers arrived after the two weeks deadline – that served to make the decision to postponed our scheduled meeting – we knew of other comrades, apart from those who duly communicate on time, that couldn´t afford the travel due to economic difficulties: Martha Hervás from CTE / Ecuador, Mohan Bahadur from ENSA / Nepal, Narayanan Namboodiri from CITU / India. Up to this moment other comrades have sent no answer at all, being this fail a further obstacle to our needed collective work.
We have also recently known about the possibility or proposal for some kind of economic solidarity and / or support from other countries still not properly defined.
We are thinking of new options concerning the place in where to hold our postponed meeting. We are looking for a well air-connected town, as this places use to be of cheaper access.
In any case we should add to this consideration those concerning lodge, transportation, and affordable meeting places and interpreters.
It is not easy to decide new dates and place that may fulfill these requirements. We have asked WFTU´ Secretariat for advice and help on these matters.
One of the suggestions received during this recent process – and so it remains to be taken on account – points to the central planning of the TUI´s tasks concerning its international meetings, to the five Regional Conferences. To dedicate our greatest efforts will be a first step aimed to the celebration of wider international meetings.
We have also received a suggestion on celebrate further meetings of those direction´s members that can make a better gathering of the collective works instead of bringing together the 24 members appointed during the Barcelona´s Congress, being these President, General Secretary, five Vice Presidents and one person responsible from the two Commissions, totaling nine people instead of twenty four.
This option would may be more feasible if scheduled at the same time as other WFTU´s forthcoming events, whether it may be a Presidential Council meeting, its 17th Congress or the celebration of its 70th anniversary – to be held in Sao Paulo, Oct. 3rd, 2015.
Further comments, suggestions and opinions on the above mentioned item will help us to scheduled our next meeting and / or to meet in the near future.
From now on I ask you to establish the economic support from the strongest trade unions for Pensioners and Retirees in order to help finance other travels and expenses other than those directly linked to their daily activities.
All this efforts will allow us to take our best choice.
Barcelona, March 2015.
General Secretary of TUI (International of Trade Unions) for Pensioners and Retirees (PyJ), adhered to the WFTU
ANNEX Nº 2
I attach again the received invitation.
It seems this year the voice of TUI P&R of the WFTU will be heard for the first time before the Plenary of the Annual Conference of the ILO.
I will prepare the speech, I consider it my duty, on behalf of the whole direction of the TUI.
I accept from now on ideas to enrich the content of the speech, but there are only 3-5 minutes available.
I will send the draft text so you can give your opinions and improve the content of the first draft.
There will also be the opportunity to attend other meetings of the 104thILO Conference that will be held between 1st and 13th June, 2015, in Geneva.
The economic reality of our UIS does not allow the finances of TUI neither to pay nor to stay in Geneva. Just these days the hotels in the area raise prices knowing that thousands of people will go, most expenses paid by their governments. This is not the normal case between unionists of the WFTU.
On my part, and with to my companion that helps me to assume the expense, we have booked a small apartment to rent, paid by us in the French zone near Geneva, which is cheaper. We plan to be there the night 29/05/15 until the morning of 15/06/15.
I have this time to hold meetings there with those who are these days by Geneva (whether in the direction of the WFTU or other Union with may be useful to talk to, aiming at our extension and reinforcement as TUI WFTU). And you shall tell me proposals from the Unionists of your country (or close range) with whom I may plan interviews (with some advance for a good schedule).
If any member of the board of TUI is expected to be in Geneva at this time, he must notify us.
The key in the ILO is to strengthen the presence of the central leadership of the WFTU, which like every year will lead George Mavrikos.
Do not forget that the ILO is a large bureaucratic machine that makes “simulation theater” in the defense of the rights of workers without effective monitoring and reporting on these issues. In addition at the ILO there is the "balance" between the three component parts: governments, employers and trade unionists, and also the latter are only represented by “yellowish” unionism of CSI.
Also on 6 and 7 we will hold in Geneva, with no guests, the 2015 Meeting of the Management Team of the WFTU, the Presidential Council, of which I am honored to be member. It shall express the conclusions of our collective discussion, made by internet (given the impossibility of meeting in Bahrain) and there are already collective conclusions.
I await your opinions and suggestions.
An internationalist greeting
ANNEX Nº 3
REPORT ON MY TRIP TO PAKISTAN.
11 to 13 March, 2015
This report is being forwarded to:
1.-WFTU´s Central Board
2.- World´s Board of TUI of WFTU Pensioners and Retirees
3.- Collective Board of Pakistan´s trade union PLF
This brief summary will be translated to English and French. The final part, that included assorted details about the country, will not be translated.
I ask to the collective board of PLF to read this report thoroughly as to prevent any possible mistake from my side.
REASONS OF THE TRIP
SCHEDULED OBJECTIVES (as previously discussed with the WFTU)
TRIP´S DEVELOPMENT: 11. 3. 2015; 12. 3. 2015; 13. 3. 2015
COUNTRY´S DATA.- 1) Trade union reality. 2) Politics reality. 3) Other data.
A great part of the 4 objectives proposed to the WFTU Secretary were accomplished (see below).
The trip has been useful to the Pakistan´s trade union PLF (as expressed by our comrades from Pakistan), to the WFTU´s TUI of Pensioners and Retirees, and to the WFTU. This usefulness has been confirmed by the event´s great media coverage and by the great number of people who took part on it; for the many places visited and for the gathered information.
Besides, the main public event served as a supplementary credit to the WFTU´s 70th anniversary celebration.
There are good prospects in both ways: the reinforcement of the work developed by the PLF as trade union adhered to the WFTU in Pakistan, and as an important mean to continue the aim of PLF in order to reach a better relationship with other trade unions adhered to the WFTU in Pakistan - as well as to advance in the coming to the WFTU of other trade unions in the country.
I also think there are positive prospects to enhance its contacts and coordination with other trade unions in India and in the rest of Asia.
Maybe, the only mistake was motivated by the lack of a previous schedule for visits and for the absence of an interpreter to help me with my poor English.
REASONS OF THE TRIP:
I made this trip following the PLF´s (Pakistan Labour Federation - adhered to the WFTU) aim that invited me (even adding my trip expenses) to help them to organize a national seminary on the problems of Pakistan´s pensioners, and to reinforce the current relationship between our organizations.
Prior to my trip I sent the posters designed to make it known the activities of this trip. No, I add some pictures as to give you an idea about the trip´s realities (in case you may want pictures with higher resolution, please let me know and I´ll forwarded). Finally, I add two news pieces appeared on local media.
OBJECTIVES (previously discussed with the WFTU´s Secretary)
1.- To know the trade union reality of Pakistan (along with political reality).
2.- To know the specific reality of Pensioners and Retirees in those country and to give them my help as to improve its activities in this area.
3.- Make my best efforts to make the WFTU better known and to contribute to its 70th anniversary celebrations.
4.- Trying to confirm the PLF´s support to the TUI of Pensioners and Retirees at the Asia´s Regional Conference as well as in more general terms.
TRIP DAY BY DAY.-
Day 11. 3. 2015
I was received and honored at the airport by comrade Haji Muhammas Saeed Arian, PLF´s General Secretary, and some of his closets collaborators.
At the hotel I was once again greeted and honored with pictures and flowers. A big posters announcing my visit (the poster also includes a picture of me) is shown in various high visible places around the hotel.
The main event under the title of GLOBALIZATION AND PRIVATIZATIONS: THE ROLE OF TRADE UNIONS, was held at the same hotel - in a big meeting room - with the presence of 200 trade unionists (25% of them women). At the presidency I am accompanied by PLF´s leaders and some other members of another two trade unions of Pakistan also adhered to the WFTU. There werestatements by the SecretaryGeneraland thePresident ofPLFand Ch Tariq Javid President (PTUWF) Mr Ghulam Fraid Awan S.V.President Malik Ali Umar Awan President (PNFTU),Malik Munir Ahmad Vice President Main Khalid Mahmood Vice President addressing WFTU-PLF International Seminar on 11th March,2015 at Hotel Ambassador Lahore Pakistan
Great media coverage by press (*) and TV was granted to this event - I even was interviewed by a TV channel. Many pictures were taken at the occasion.
Unfortunately, and due to some technical problems, it was impossible to use the Power Point (in English). Note that English is commonly understood even if urdu is the official language.
At the end of the main act, 200 participants were gathered for a stand up dinner in the next meeting room.
Day 12.3. 2015
A visit was paid to several workplaces - industry and services: metal workshops, plastic workshops, two schools located in popular areas, and a hospital.
We took advantage of these visits to known and take a walk through the world famous "Sultan´s gardens".
During the afternoon we visited PLF´s headquarters, where once again I was highly honored. As a token of comradeship and friendship I gave them two artisan pottery pieces - one from Catalonia and another one from Spain - ordered as commemorative items of the foundational congress of the UIS of Pensioners and Retirees, along with two posters of the WFTU´s 16th Congress.
Day 13. 3. 2015
We visit the PLF´s railroad workers local at Lahore. The visit includes a complete tour through the Central Station and all its facilities. In the afternoon we visit a textile factory of 150 workers and three different working areas: printing, cutting and tailoring.
This was my last day in Pakistan, and it was followed, as three days before, for a long stay at airports and planes.
ACTIVITIES AS UIS OF PENSIONERS AND RETIREES OF THE WFTU:
Due to my difficulties with the English language I only could gather the following details and general info:
Pakistan´s workers are entitled to retirement at 60 years old - this mainly due to the low expectance of life.
Only those who have worked on a "regular" basis are entitled to a public pension. Out of this category are those who have worked in bars and restaurants and in many other areas. Obviously, along with those, are the workers of "informal" activities.
Average pension is more or less equal to the minimum monthly wage, very low: around 100 USD (equivalent to 10.000 units of Pakistan´s currency) to the unskilled laborers, and 150 USD for others. I was told that monthly expenses for an average family unit (4 members) goes up to 250 USD.
A very important detail on the average cost of living is the price of gasoline: 0´75 USD per litre.
How many Pensioners and Retirees are currently organized? Comrade Haji estimates around 600, mainly from public sector and big private enterprises.
He also promised to apply for WFTU membership and consequently paying the due monies as established on the UIS´ statutes and regulations.
He also confirmed that not an email from comrade Kostas Skarparis (from Cyprus´ PEO), responsible of the Commission for Finances´ Control, have been received. On hearing about this, I asked again comrade Skarparis to take over this responsibility and simultaneously put them in contact by email.
We also discussed on the proposal of counting with Pakistan as the place where the forthcoming WFTU Regional Conference for Asia´s Pensioners and Retirees could be held. Comrade Haji is currently in contact with the two comrades from India and with the comrade from Nepal actually on the board of the TUI.