(Geneva from 5 to 20 June 2013)
Speech by Quim Boix
Every year we check the progress of the World Federation of Trade Unions in meetings like this one. During these days, such progress has already been checked and mentioned here, and that information will be completed during the rest of our interventions and activities. My responsibility is just to present here some additional information:
To begin with, let’s remember that the living conditions and pensions of those of us who have already completed our working life should also be dealt with in collective bargaining. I am going to talk about the trade unions’ intervention in such bargaining.
As chairman of the Preparatory Committee of the First World Congress of Class Trade Unions of Retired People and Pensioners, I would like to say that we are moving ahead with the congress’s preparation according to the guidelines given in the 16th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions and by its Presidential Council.
Two Preparatory Committee meetings couldn’t take place, one in Sao Paulo, in March of this year, and the other one in Cyprus, in May, because of various collective work difficulties, already overcome by now. Therefore, on July 9th, the second Preparatory Committee meeting is being held in Athens.
The two basic documents of the conference discussion that will create the International Trade Union of Pensioners and Retired People will be passed in this meeting. This will be the first Trade Union International of this group that will exist in the World Federation of Trade Unions and worldwide. These documents are:
1) The trade union analysis of the reality of the Pensioners and Retired People.
2) The statutes of the new International Trade Union of Pensioners and Retired People.
The criteria and technical details to allow the presence in the Conference of representatives from the five continents will also be passed in that meeting.
There have been a lot of Pensioners and Retired People Trade Unions who have shown their interest in participating in the constitution of the Conference of the Trade Union International, most of them as members of the World Federation of Trade Unions, and others as friends and observers.
Also, we have already had a wide range of answers to the survey that was adopted in the first meeting of the Preparatory Committee. Answers coming from Africa, America and Europe, so far.
I also take advantage of this opportunity to ask again for these answers to be sent from the trade unions and countries that have not done it yet. If anybody does not know about this survey, they can ask me.
The Founding Congress of the Trade Union International of Pensioners and Retired People will constitute a first step in organizing one of the most important collectives of workers, in the last stage of our lives. There are a lot of countries where the retired people and pensioners exceed 25% of those over 18 years of age, but we haven’t got the influence we should have in the achievement and maintenance of our rights.
Capitalism, in order to try to overcome its grave systemic and structural crisis, is trying to continue plundering those who, for many decades, had no choice but to provide their working power to enrich their bourgeois exploiters.
Thus, the leaders of world capitalism deny the right to a public pension that will allow living adequately. They deny free, general and quality health care. They deny the right to decent housing, to free public transportation, and to a minimal quality level of leisure activities.
Multinationals wish to turn the public pension system, in those countries where it exists, into one more component of their source of private profits. Therefore, the International Monetary Fund, supported by the European Union and other management platforms of world capitalism, promotes private systems of pensions and savings.
Private pension funds handle huge amounts of money, and are supported by the trade unions which are members of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), the trade union platform created and supported by social-democracy and opportunism.
But the working class and the class trade unions do not accept that the right to retirement achieved after decades of struggle during the 20th century turns now into some capitalist business.
Socialist countries achieved that people with 25 years of working life were entitled to a pension which allowed them to live with dignity. In order to achieve, and even improve on, that reference, it will be present among the goals of the trade union leaders of the new Trade Union International of Pensioners and Retired People of the World Federation of Trade Unions.
So, I finish this part of my speech emphasizing the need for the class trade unions in all the countries of this planet to help, from now on, to achieve the success of the first World Conference of Pensioners and Retired People.
In second place, and more briefly, I would like to say that in Spain, where I am a trade union leader, has passed new laws that attack the right to collective bargaining. In the face of them, and so as to intervene in collective bargaining with anti-capitalist criteria, progress continues in the consolidation of class unionism, with the intention to strengthen the work of the World Federation of Trade Unions.
It is this class unionism the only one which can eliminate the successive social pacts against workers which the trade unions that support the capitalist system keep signing. Currently, another major agreement which will build on the infamous Moncloa and Toledo Agreements is being prepared. With those agreements and the one signed in 2011 by the CCOO and UGT trade unions, pensions were decreased and the retirement age delayed.
The details of these developments were given in the Presidential Council held in Lima last March. Now I just want to complete them.
A huge general strike that both trade unions, CCOO and UGT, refuse to call is still needed. Only with a large struggle of workers as a class, as recently proved by the Basque working class on May 30th, the exploitation plans by capitalism may be stopped.
This refusal of CCOO and UGT is due to their increasingly clear involvement in supporting capitalism. They get hundreds of millions of euros from capitalism, which nowadays is tragic news and shows their leaders’ corruption.
Capitalism has tried to corrupt unionists in other continents with such money, as it has been shown with the venues and other “contributions” given to them in Africa and America, which, instead of being a necessary and useful aid to develop class unionism, intend to buy wills and union positions.
But class unionism in Spain and around the world will know how to unmask these traitors of the working class who today hold important posts in the leadership of the yellow trade unions. The World Federation of Trade Unions will continue to assist in this task, which is imperative to bring down capitalism. This system, currently, is the greatest scourge of mankind.
Thank you for your attention, comrades.
Genève, le 17/06/13.
CSU, Central Sindical Unitaria de Pensionistas y Jubilados. http://centralsindicalunitaria.wordpress.com/