Opening SIGTUR 11th Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina April 3rd 2018.
Trade union’s leaders representing above 200 million workers of the world opened yesterday SIGTUR 11th Congress in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
The Central of Argentinian Workers (CTA) hosts this international meeting which has got as its main topic the discussion on the future of work and alternatives organized workers are capable to offer against contemporary Neo-liberalism.
The opening session started with the screening of a welcoming video from the CTA in which Argentinian comrades summarized their local fights against Neo-liberal policies in the last year.
The International General Secretary, Adolfo “Fito” Aguirre welcomed the auditorium and said “it is the first time a SIGTUR Congress is host in Argentina, so we are grateful and hope within the next two working days we can develop a fight plan with incidence along the world”.
The opening of the Congress also counted with welcoming words from each delegation and the speech of two invited representatives: Víctor Báez, General Secretary of the Trade Union Confederation of the Americas (TUCA), and Joao Felicio, President of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
The Congress on April 4-5 2018 will have as its motto “Another work is possible”.
By Fito Aguirre*
The Group of the Twenty (G20), the world forum that gathers the advanced and the emergent economies, will meet in South America for the first time since its creation in 1999. Its contrast will be the Congres of the Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Unions Rights (SIGTUR), which will take place in April in Buenos Aires and will discuss the future of work.
The 13th Summit of the G20 will be held in Buenos Aires on November 30 and December 1 2018. Argentina assumed the one-year presidency in a context of regression for workers, both in the international and the local situation. That is the reason why the 11th Congress of SIGTUR becomes so important. Founded in the 1991 an alliance of the democratic Trade Unions from the Southern Hemisphere (Latin America, Africa, Asia, Oceania), SIGTUR will have its 11th Congress in Buenos Aires hosted by the CTA-A and counting with delegations from Australia, Canada, Brazil, South Korea, South Africa, India, Philippines, Malasya, Japan, Tunisia, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.
Nowadays, the debates in the International Labour Organization (ILO) between States, workers and employers are dominated by the viewpoint of the North and the employers. The scenery on the future of work they predict consists in: a) less job positions as a result of technological development; b) higher labour flexibility due to changes in work regimes.
From our point of view, SIGTUR is able to show a different approach on the future of work. Its perspective must include bold proposals, aiming to increase worker`s and Trade Union`s rights and having decent work and a better society as its horizon.
The Congress on April 4-5 2018 will have as its motto “Another work is possible”. Because nowadays it is urgent to displace the question whether there will be or not work in the future: instead, we should ask what kind of work and society we want. Let`s even hypothetically think that there might not be any change in our society and the variables stand constant: is this one the society we want, anyway?
SIGTUR looks for overtaking the historical cores of power, both political and regarding trade unions. For decades, southern trade unions focused their international policy on Europe. Since SIGTUR´s creation, campaigns and solutions have considered the common reality of regions that suffered imperial colonialism in the past and suffer transnational corporation’s colonialism in the present.
SIGTUR is not defined by geography, because it is integrated by Trade Unions from both the North and the South of the Equator. There are Trade Unions from South Korea, India, Australia, Philippines, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina. Their definition is political. Those who compose the alliance have the commitment of fighting frontally against neoliberalism, which is at present times incarnated in free trade agreements, government austerity programmes and privatization of public services.
SIGTUR`s members state fights should be faced from an internationalist viewpoint, which does not mean the North dictates the agenda, as a kind of new colonialism; it means, instead, that the agenda is common and on an equal footing, so as to everyone can take part in the decisions.
In recent years, SIGTUR reinforced its internationalist activism and its mutual solidarity, with campaigns supporting Lula and the CUT in Brazil; asking for the freedom of the KCTU leader, Han Sang-gyun; denouncing Trade Union persecution in Argentina, among others.
The contemporary world requires workers to form a bloc and act together in the international labor scenery. Rarely our countries have common positions on the major debates of workers. From this initiative, we aim to breakwith our dependence on power cores, generate alliances between those having similar realities, and intervene in the decisions that condition the situation of workers all around the world.
SIGTUR is the most important network of left-wing and democratic Trade Unions built in recent years and we will meet in Buenos Aires for the 11th Congress in order to discuss workers`challenges in the contemporary international scenery. We will debate on universal basic income, reduction of working hours without loss of rights nor salary, and the impact of fourth industrial revolution.
Having a Trade Unions`voice from the South is a fact of relevance to the entire world. Buenos Aires will host Trade Unions from Asia, Africa, America and Oceania with which we must find integral answers questioning bothwealth concentration and technological advance that marginate developing countries and broaden inequalities. SIGTUR becomes a strategic network for workers`challenges and for the generation ofeffective alternatives to this third neoliberal wave.
*CTA-A Secretary of International Relations (@fito_aguirre)