by Mike Tolochko
On December 15 and 16, 2008 trade union affiliates to the World Federation of Trade Unions met in Lisbon Portugal to discuss the world financial crisis. At that meeting a set of demands was put forward. The assembled WFTU affiliates then set Wednesday, April 1, 2009 as an international date for workplace and community actions and demonstrations.
Jose M. Oliveira of the SNTSF, the national railway workers union Portugal, hosted the meeting. Also, Jose Dinis FEVICCOM, the Ceramic and Glass Workers; and, Augusto Praca of FESHAT, the Federation of Agricultural, Food, Beverage Hotels and Tourism of Portugal.
The ILO also sent representatives to the meeting. The World Peace Council and the World Federation of Democratic Women also participated. Forty international delegates representing 25 countries and international organizations attended this Lisbon meeting.
George Mavrikos, head of WFTU, stated that, "This very large meeting is another piece of evidence that workers across the world are resisting and creating the conditions for massive struggles. The opponents of workers are not invincible. Invincible are the people who know how to fight for their rights."
The set of demands are as follows:
"International Mobilization of workers and progressive forces of the world, demanding the crisis to be paid by those who generated it and not by workers or peoples who are victims of Neoliberalism." That is the general, main demand.
The unions who met on those two days then set out a set of demands that cover the whole general crisis:
"The working class and peoples of the world, victims of anti-labor polices, demand deep changes; to build, consolidate and defend the political, economic and social alternatives to the capitalism and the neoliberal model of globalization;
"Only the united action of workers and the progressive forces under the class-oriented principles may prevent further exploitation and precarious work;
"For the distribution of wealth; for better wages;
"Against child labor;
"No more layoffs of workers; defense of social and labor rights;
"Reduction of working hours without reducing wages; strengthening of trade unions;
"We fight all forms of discrimination against women, youth, immigrants etc.; for equal opportunities;
"Nationalization of banks and other strategic sectors such as energy; food sovereignty under social control;
"Wars to stop now, no more funds to NATO and military weapons. The resulting money to be invested in the production sector for the creation of jobs and the development of the peoples'
"No more repression and murders of trade union leaders and social activists;
"For the immediate stop of military occupation and unconditional withdrawal of foreign troops from Iraq, Palestine and other Arab territories and Afghanistan;
"For the full respect for sovereignty and self-determination of the peoples."
The Day of Action, April 1st, it is suggested that workplace activities and any other kind of activity that makes these basic demands.