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16th Congress of the WFTU: Internationalist class contribution to the global trade union movement

With the participation of 828 representatives from 104 countries

The 16th Congress of the World Federation of Trade Unions, which is being held from 6-10 April in Athens, began yesterday with a large opening ceremony in a packed Tae Kwon do stadium. PAME, which unites the class-oriented trade unions of Greece and participates in the WFTU, warmly greeted the opening of the proceedings of the WFTU congress which constitutes an important class and internationalist event for the global trade union movement. The congress is being conducted in the conditions of the capitalist crisis and the total assault of capital and is being called on to give impetus to the development of the class struggle in each country and internationally. The workers of Athens, with ceaseless clapping and slogans, holding aloft the banner of the class struggle and international solidarity, enthusiastically welcomed the trade unionists who had arrive in Athens from every corner of the globe in order to participate in the 16th World Trade Union Congress.

The success of the congress has surpassed all expectations. It is indicative that at the previous congress in Havana,Cuba, five years ago 503 representatives from 64 countries participated, while this year 828 delegates from 104 countries will participate.

The opening ceremony was a massive internationalist celebration worthy of the 6 decades of the WFTU’s history. This history was honoured by the showing of a video dedicated to the 65 year anniversary of the WFTU. On behalf of the Executive Secretariat of PAME, which is hosting the congress, Giorgos Perros in his greeting to the 16th World Trade Union Congress mentioned that “we salute the millions of working men and women that you represent who are struggling in the ranks of the WFTU for the interests of the working class in a tough struggle against the monopolies and imperialism.”

The President of the WFTU, Muhammad Shaaban Azouz, announced the official opening of the congress, while the President of Cuba and Second secretary of the CC of the CP Cuba, Raul Castro, sent a message of greetings.

A message from the President of the Hellenic Republic, Karolos Papoulias, was read out at the opening ceremony. The First Vice-President of the Greek Parliament, the Prefect of Attica, the Mayors of Athens and Piraeus also greeted the congress.

Giorgos Mavrikos, General Secretary of the WFTU underlined in his speech: “We came here, to the Congress of the WFTU, after great struggles at sectoral, local, regional and international levels, through an open, democratic, militant discussion in all the unions, workplaces and main branches.

In many of the countries in the five continents the working class resisted, showed defiance, organised significant strikes and struggles and multifaceted activities against these anti-worker policies. We are more deeply aware of the fact that the capitalist mode of production cannot offer anything else other than barbarity. (…) Our answer is clear, we continue on the path of class struggle; against imperialism and capital. For a world without exploitation of man by man; for a future that will belong to the working people.



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