“Global Unions’ Day of Action by the Workplaces of the World”

by Andy Pollack


[Andy Pollack is a labor activist and Labor Party member in New York City. His message was posted on a Labor Party discussion group.]

The police attack on the Genoa Social Forum is being denounced worldwide, along with calls for responses to it. At the zmag.org site there’s a link to a July 22 statement which appears to be by Indymedia and the Genoa Social Forum on the cops’ attack. The Indymedia site has announcements of local demos around the world.

In the longer term, the ICFTU — International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, with which the AFL-CIO is affiliated — has called for a global day of action around the Qatar WTO meeting. The press release below, dated July 19, 2001, was on LabourStart’s USA headlines page.

This looks like a very big development. The IFCTU is calling on all its bodies to participate in a “Global Unions’ Day of Action by the Work-places of the World” during the WTO Qatar meeting, scheduled for November 9, 2001. This “Day of Action” is to be “coordinated at a global level and delivered at a local level, taking the form of diverse actions to be determined in individual countries ranging from stoppages and demonstrations to workplace discussions, public meetings, and high-profile media activities.”

I think if we mobilize to make this day as broad and strong as we can, it will put this whole question of state repression (and the different tactics toward it) in a whole new context.

Of course the ICFTU press release has the predictable social democratic flaws, boasting of their meeting with Berlusconi, and calling for more “openness” by the WTO. The point, though, is that they are projecting action in workplaces around the world!

The text of the press release follows:

Global Unions at Genoa G-8 Summit

Genoa, July 19 (ICFTU OnLine): Trade union leaders from around the world, meeting in a special session of the ICFTU Steering Committee held in conjunction with the G-8 Summit in Genoa, took the decision to mark the launch of the next Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Doha, Qatar, by staging a Global Unions’ Day of Action by the Work-places of the World. The Day of Action will take place on November 9, 2001, the opening day of the WTO Conference.

“The purpose of the Day of Action is to mark the unwillingness of trade unions to accept the negative effects that globalization is imposing on workers around the world, and to draw attention to the serious deficiencies in the world trading system at the present time,” commented Bill Jordan, General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU).

At the WTO Conference, Global Unions will be calling for:

The Day of Action will be coordinated at a global level and delivered at a local level, taking the form of diverse actions to be determined in individual countries ranging from stoppages and demonstrations to workplace discussions, public meetings and high-profile media activities.

“We represent hundreds of millions of people who have stopped believing that trade liberalization can bring higher living standards and more employment. While globalization has created unprecedented wealth and resources, there is universal agreement that it is widening inequality worldwide, evidenced by growing and appalling poverty in all parts of the world,” said Bill Jordan.

In Genoa, a large trade union delegation is taking part in a meeting on July 19 with the host of the Genoa Summit, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, organized by the Italian trade union movement, together with TUAC, the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD.

The ICFTU represents more than 156 million workers in 221 affiliated organizations in 148 countries and territories. The ICFTU is also a member of Global Unions

For more information, please contact the ICFTU Press Department at +32 2 224 0232 or +32 476 62 10 18.

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

Boulevard du Roi Albert II 5, B1, B-1210 Brussels, Belgium. For more information please contact ICFTU Press at: 00 322 224 0228; or e-mail: press@icftu.org