November 26, 2023

World Congress of Trade Union International (TUI) Transport

R Lakshmaiah

THE Trade Union International (TUI) Transport 15th World Congress concluded with resounding slogans of "Workers of the World Unite - TUI (T) Zindabad." The TUI (T) comprises transport, ports, fisheries, and communications and is an integral part of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU). The Congress took place in Athens, Greece, from November 21-22, 2023. Four delegates from India – Abhimanyu, Narendra Rao, and Lakshmaiah from CITU, and Natarajan from AITUC – participated in the Congress.

At the beginning of the Congress, solidarity was expressed as the Palestine representative, Suzanzaidan, was greeted and felicitated by PAME, the hosting union. The conference hall echoed with slogans such as "We are with Palestine’; ‘Call for Immediate Ceasefire’ and ‘Provide humanitarian help to the Palestine People."

The Conference started with a welcome speech by Nicholas, leader of the PAME union that hosted the Congress. In his address, he detailed the series of struggles initiated by the working class of Greece against the anti-people policies pursued by the Greek government. He also highlighted the solidarity actions organised in support of the working class struggles globally.

WFTU president Mzwandie Makwayiba inaugurated the Congress, emphasizing the pivotal role of TUI(T) in the global working class movement. The world is currently grappling with serious challenges, with the capitalist system in crisis. Neoliberal policies are harming the working class and the general population. On one hand, people are enduring immense suffering for their survival, while on the other hand, the rich are amassing even greater wealth at the expense of ordinary citizens. Mzwandie Makwayiba highlighted that a permanent solution to this situation necessitates the replacement of the exploitative societal structure. He advised TUI(T) to focus on educating workers.

During the report presentation, Ali Riza, general secretary of TUI(T), elucidated the developments in various countries and sectors, especially in light of the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic. He underscored the struggles organised by transport workers worldwide against the regressive policies of governments in different nations. Riza referred to notable struggles in France, Greece, India, Portugal, and Germany.

Abhimanyu, Narendra Rao, Lakshmaiah from CITU, and Natarajan from AITUC represented India in the discussions. A total of 35 delegates from 20 countries participated in the deliberations.

Delegates detailed how employers, with active support from their respective governments, are attacking workers and infringing upon their rights.

In response to the discussions, Ali Riza provided a comprehensive reply, and the report was unanimously adopted by the Congress. The conference endorsed four resolutions: in support of Palestine; in solidarity with striking steel workers in Austria, and to educate cadre and leaders.

The Congress unanimously elected eight secretariat members and 24 executive members with Recordo Maldonado (Chile) as honorary president, Ali Riza (Turkey) as president, and Mathew (France) as general secretary.

The hosting organisation, PAME, made excellent arrangements for the success of the Congress.