Educate, organize and mobilize an international movement of workers to confront the global capitalist crisis, oppose wars of aggression and promote workers’ alternatives for our world!
The Fifth International Assembly of the ILPS meets in defiance of the APEC Leaders Meeting in the Philippines, to resist its drive for ever more neo-liberal anti-worker and anti-people programs.
The Workers and Trade Union Workshop calls for genuine trade unions everywhere to join Workers International Struggle Initiatives (WORKINS) as an anti-imperialist united front to struggle to lift minimum wages everywhere, to increase wages and fight for better working conditions, and to fiercely resist the intense attack on public services, pensions, and workers’ rights in all countries by big finance capital. WORKINS will contribute to the education and mobilization of a global workers’ movement for democratic pro-people transformation of our economies.
The Great Recession of 2008-09 was centered in the biggest capitalist economies in the USA and Europe, and arose from the nature of capitalism as a system based on the need for ever-expanding profits and super profits. The biggest capitalist interests have turned to their advantage the ongoing global capitalist crisis that they themselves have created, by directly extracting public funds and by big attacks on workers’ and people’s rights, including workplace health and safety.
The Great Recession of 2008-09 is far from over, nor is the global economy experiencing “recovery”. It is an ongoing global depression, if this is measured as more than two quarters of shrinking or low growth with continuing high or rising unemployment. This applies to big economies like the USA, UK, Japan, France and Italy, and smaller ones like Denmark, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, and most of Eastern Europe. With the end of massive money printing by the US Treasury and Federal Reserve, even Latin America and the Caribbean countries that managed comparatively better since 2009 are now facing recession and inflation.
As well, the global ecological crisis as manifest in global warming, continues to create climate refugees, causing deaths, and threatening the lives of hundreds of millions of people now and the prospects for future generations.
Agricultural workers and peasants are greatly impacted by the wave of free trade agreements, the ongoing impact of the 1995 World Trade Organization Agreement on Agriculture, and by climate change. The free market in foodstuffs is itself creating a profound food insecurity across the world, which organized peasants are working to regulate.
Workers’ struggles in China and India are pushing back the extreme exploitation they have suffered and slowly denying the old and new capitalists the huge profits they have enjoyed for the last two decades.
In Africa, especially South Africa, trade unions have stopped the privatization drive in its tracks and fought hard to improve wages and living standards, but face staggering levels of unemployment.
The poor countries, especially in Asia, continue to experience chronic high unemployment and under-employment. Low value-adding export sectors make them profoundly dependent on external conditions. Even Asia’s richest economy, Japan, is struggling to break out of more than two decades of recession and deflation through the neo-liberal shock policies of the Abe government.
The capitalist institutions which drive the assault on the people are the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the World Trade Organization, the European Commission, and European Central Bank. The G7 and the G20 provide the political cover for this strategy. Now they are advancing the neo-liberal agenda through aggressive economic treaties such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership, the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, as well as through the World Trade Organization.
Trade union and workers movements in all countries have mobilized to some extent to confront these dramatic challenges, but remain largely trapped in the framework of global capitalist production and marketing relations in their efforts to develop a policy response. Therefore the main demands have been to increase government spending and borrowing to maintain welfare payments and to stimulate corporate production and consumer spending, and to protect trade union organizing and bargaining rights. Instead, austerity programs have been rammed through, especially in Europe, and especially in Greece, Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
While union leaderships around the world may be trapped in outdated frameworks, working men and women everywhere are deeply questioning the system and in many countries have taken to the streets to fight for deep change, in both rich and poor countries. The Greek workers and people have been at the forefront of this dramatic clash of class forces.
In Latin America in particular, decades of education and organizing work have already produced many governments which are striving for a deeper democracy and have succeeded in creating some alternative economic systems and new development pathways which are to some degree independent of the global capitalist market. An important workers’ control movement is growing in Venezuela and Argentina. In Cuba the people have created a more resilient and diversified economy in the teeth of the US blockade and after the collapse of their main trading partner, the Soviet Union, 25 years ago. Venezuela, Cuba and Bolivia have created the ALBA – the Bolivarian Alternative for Latin America and the Caribbean, a pro-people trading bloc. ALBA is expanding.
The strongest ‘emerging economies’ – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa – have worked hard to develop a global development bank as an alternative to the World Bank and its regional branches. China has led the development of a similar infrastructure bank for Asia.
A new international movement of working men and women will help transform the global workers’ struggle because all genuine union leaders are open to new ideas about how to meet today’s challenges, and democratic unions can renew their leaderships as the campaigns and struggles develop in the coming months and years. Migrant worker organizations, workers cooperatives and worker organizing centers and other organizations from the informal sector must be part of the new global workers’ movement.
At the 4th ILPS International Assembly in Metro Manila in July 2011, the workers and trade union workshop analyzed the impact of the global economic crisis on the workers, particularly looking at privatization, flexible labor initiatives, and direct repression of workers, as well as workers’ resistance.
The workshop resolved to launch a new international workers’ movement to push for people’s alternatives to capitalism and to oppose wars of aggression, and this was achieved when WORKINS was launched by trade unions at the People’s Global Camp at Denpasar, Bali, Indonesia, during the WTO Ministerial in December 2013.
Now at the conclusion of the ILPS 5th International Assembly, held on November 14-16, 2015, we resolve to recruit more unions to the ILPS and to WORKINS, to
Develop a campaign to increase the national minimum wages in Africa, Asia and Latin America in the coming period.
Develop a campaign against flexibilization of labor and contractualization that attack workers’ wages and rights. Develop a campaign for the elimination of global placement agencies.
Promote building solidarity among workers in global supply chains including with collective actions.
Address the issue of joblessness and displacement of communities due to demolitions facilitated by private-public partnerships and privatization.
Promote the organizing work of the Temporary Foreign Workers Association and the Immigrant Workers Centre of Quebec, Canada.
Create links using low-cost technology with all union and workers movements in struggle.
Strengthen the campaign against trade union repression and criminalization of workers and labor advocates. Develop a campaign for the release of political prisoners who are workers, union leaders and labor rights advocates, and a campaign for justice for the victims of extrajudicial killings of workers, union leaders and labor rights advocates. Expose and oppose state terrorism against workers.
Create education materials to explain the unfolding capitalist crisis to workers in all sectors and on workers’ alternatives to capitalism, including cooperatives, workers’ control, public ownership, pro-people international trading relations, and socialism.
Mobilize in solidarity with specific trade union and people’s campaigns, such as those now underway in Indonesia, the Philippines, China, India, Greece, Spain, Ireland, the USA, and in Egypt, Tunisia, Palestine, Iraq, Colombia and other countries in North Africa, the Middle East, and in the Asia-Pacific region.
Defend and consolidate the achievements of workers’ struggles and defend against repression of organized labor by the capitalists.
Develop cultural work among workers. Establish cultural committees in the different levels of trade unions.
Link up the workers movement to the peasant, women’s, migrants, student and other militant social sectors.
- Support the Migrant Workers Day of Action – Dec 18.
- Support the International Day of Action against trade union and worker repression on Nov. 16, to mark the anniversary of the Hacienda Luisita Massacre on Nov 16, 2004.
- Solidarity actions on November 20 and December 10, 2015 – for Cambodian workers’ struggle for higher minimum wage
- Support the $15 per hour minimum wage campaign in Canada and the United States.
- Support International Solidarity Day with Palestine November 29.
- Support internationally-coordinated actions on May 1, International Labor Day.
- Support March 8 – International Women’s Day.
- Support October 16 – International Food Sovereignty Day – International Foodless Day.
- Support December 2 – International Solidarity Day of Action Workplace Safety – on Bhopal anniversary
- Philippines – support December 14 nationwide transport protest against plan to phase out jeepneys from January 1, 2016.
- Philippines – Support Dole Philippines workers certification election campaign vs. yellow union, February 19, 2016.
- Support international solidarity campaigns of public sector workers on wages, jobs, rights and privatization.
- Philippines – support union campaigns to defend public sector agencies under threat of privatization – National Food Authority, National Housing Authority, and Philippine National Railways.
- Website on activities of Commission 5, WORKINS and other activities, using multiple languages.
- Support campaigns for all factories that go bankrupt and are occupied by the workers to be put under worker control and that the goods of companies that use slave labor, forced labor or trafficking, be passed to the control of the workers, and that the informal workers be incorporated into unions and recognized with the same union, labor and social rights as formal workers.
- Philippines – invitation to attend the KMU International Solidarity Affairs around May Day each year.
- Australia – support trade union mobilization to defend wages and workers’ rights against the Conservative government attack.
- Issue a statement to support Indonesian trade unions against the government new minimum wage regulation by WORKINS and ILPS. Support the actions days on November 24-27.
- Indonesia – Support the struggle for the reinstatement of 1,300 dismissed ADIDAS workers. Send protest letters to the ADIDAS and hold actions at German and Japanese embassies.
- Create a WORKINS brochure to encourage unions and workers organizations to join WORKINS and ILPS.
- Philippines – Support the struggle of the Tanduay workers through boycott of Tanduay products and sending protest letters calling on the business tycoon Lucio Tan to adhere to the Supreme Court decision in favor of the workers.
- Philippines – Support the campaign of the banana industry growers and workers against SUMIFRU regarding unfair labor practices, piece rate system and militarization and criminalization of workers.
- Philippines – Support the campaign of Manilakbayan 2015 of Mindanao and support the people’s resistance against militarization and plunder in Mindanao. Send protest letters to the President of the Philippines and organize protest actions.