Monday, May 19, 2014

Berlin, 18-23 May 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU, numbering about 50 million members, extends warm fraternal greetings to delegates and all participants in the 3rd World Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation.

This ITUC Congress is being held at a difficult, crucial moment of world development requiring resolute response from the unions. A worldwide social crisis has come in the wake of the global economic crisis. Hundreds of millions of workers, especially young people, around the world have found themselves outside the gates of companies and institutions. A huge number of working people live in desperate straits or on the verge of abject poverty, with social inequality growing. Wages, pensions, and social payments and benefits are rapidly depreciating. The overdue problems of working women, youth, and migrant workers remain unsolved. The gap between rich and poor and between developed and developing countries keeps on widening, which makes it difficult to achieve the UN goal of eradicating poverty all over the world. The neo-liberal model of development has failed, showing its complete inability to deliver.

Against this background, an actual war has been declared on social and labour rights, which imperils all previous gains of workers. Under the pressure of transnational capital, governments and employers are still trying to eliminate the consequences of the crisis at the cost of violating basic workers' rights, while keeping intact the unchecked power of large corporations, oligarchies, banks and multinationals.

In this situation, the role of trade unions is as important as never before. We welcome the fact that Congress will discuss a wide range of issues related to various aspects of strengthening the trade union movement, and enhancing its role as the principal defender of workers, as an important civil society force. We are positive that the decisions to be taken by this ITUC Congress will equip world trade unions with new and efficient tools and methods of struggle for the interests of its members in the context of protracted economic stagnation.

The GCTU member-organisations, like the ITUC and other unions in the world, are convinced that the post-crisis world needs a fundamentally new model of economic development, one that will comfortably combine and respect the interests of all its actors, with regard for the requirements of climate and environment protection. We stand in solidarity with the ITUC course to change radically the nature of globalisation and establish effective control over the activities of the international monetary and financial institutions.

The GCTU supports the idea contained in Congress documents that the world should develop towards building a society that will respect the dignity of today’s working person. It must be based on the principles of decent work and social justice, respect for international labour standards and human rights, and easy access to quality public services.

We agree that a central place in the new global decision-making process should be given to the ILO. This was discussed at the International Conference "For Decent Work and Social Justice" organised by the GCTU and its affiliates in Moscow 10 April 2014. The Conference called upon the social partners in the countries of our region "to sustain their efforts in the struggle for the development of socio-economic policies conducive to the successful implementation of the principles of decent work and justice."
Recent developments have once again clearly highlighted the objective need for further cohesion of workers and their unions at national, sectoral and global levels. We are confident that this Congress of yours will map out an efficient strategy for the activities of the trade union movement in the present-day conditions. Guided by the Congress decisions and the principles of international solidarity, the Confederation will remain at the forefront of the fight for the triumph of decent work and social justice, improving social dialogue, and securing the rights of workers and trade unions.

In these endeavours it can count on the support and solidarity of the GCTU and its affiliates.

We wish you a successful Congress! 

General Confederation of Trade Unions

Moscow, May 2014