ESF-6: Assembly of labour

Tord Björk | ESF,Labour,Uncategorized | Thursday, July 29th, 2010

Assembly Labour
6th ESF Istanbul, 3rd  July 2010

Asbjörn Wahl presenting the Assembly of Labour statement to ASM

The Assembly of Labour very much welcome the realisation of the 2010 Istanbul ESF, underlining the importance to reach new civil societies and new countries. We are therefore thankful to the Organising Committee in Turkey and, particularly, the Turkish trade union confederations.

During this forum many seminars and workshops have been organised, which have focused on the financial and economic crises and their dramatic consequences on workers’ rights and conditions. The need to fight the root causes of the crises has been underlined, as well as the need to fight failed policies like the austerity plans imposed in the name of public debt and the EU Stability Pact which strongly contributes to deepen the crisis.

IG Metall activists during ESF demonstration

At the Social Forum we heard reports from many European countries. Across Europe trade unions, workers and people in general have experienced forceful attacks on wages, working conditions, public services and social benefits – unemployment has grown and poverty has increased. In many countries national collective agreements, pensions and trade union rights have been considerably cut and weakened – not through negotiations with trade unions, but through government decrees.

In this way, governments, employers, multinational companies, European Union institutions and the International Monetary Fund are trying to make workers pay for the effects of the financial and economic crisis, even though we have no responsibility for the neo-liberal policies, the redistribution of wealth from the bottom to the top and the capitalist system which have created the crisis. The situation is dramatic. If we are not able to stop this development, the trade union, labour and social movements may possibly face a historic defeat in Europe.

The Labour Assembly therefore stresses the need to work together to develop an alternative to the current social and economic model. To this end we welcome a fruitful exchange of ideas as well as mobilisations and struggles to turn our alternatives into practice. We want a different idea of Europe based on peace, solidarity, cooperation, democracy, sustainable environment, people’s needs and social and workers’ rights.

The situation calls for massive mobilisation across Europe to prevent a defeat. The Labour Assembly therefore appeals to all trade union and social movements in Europe to take immediate and co-ordinated actions to prevent the social degradation which is going on in most countries.

We propose:

–    To support the struggles of workers and trade unions in Turkey which are under severe oppression from the government, from multinational companies and capitalist interests in general.
–    A comprehensive information campaign to inform workers all over Europe on concrete developments in each country in order to prevent workers from being played out against each other.
–    To mobilise and organise support across Europe to workers who decide to take the fight against austerity programmes and attacks on wages, workings conditions, pensions and social programmes. Their struggle is our struggle.
–    To deepen a debate in the European trade union and social movements on how to improve the policies and change the focus of our organisations in order to adapt them to the new, more aggressive attitudes of the employers, to activate the members, to strengthen the international perspective and co-ordination and to prepare our organisations for harder confrontations as a result of the attacks from employers, governments and capital.
–    That the manifestations planned for 29 September 2010 and surrounding days should be organised as an all-European event, with forceful action across Europe, a main manifestation in Brussels and general strikes where possible. This important day of action should be a step forward in a widespread wave of struggles that need to continue across Europe in a coordinated manner.