September 17, 2012

WFTU meets with South African miners and praises US teachers

South African police have murdered protesting mine workers in demonstrations recently

A high-delegation meeting was held this week in Athens between the World Federation of Trade Unions and the Nation Union of Mine workers of South Africa discussed the situation in South Africa and the mines of Lonmin multinational.

In the discussion NUM was represented by its President, Senzeni Zokwana and Madoda Sambatha, Regional Coordinator for Carletonville. A joint release from the two organizations stated that "the meeting took place in a comradely, sincere and militant spirit" with "an exchange of experiences and a profound debate on the situation of workers in South Africa and around the world."

The trade unionists also discussed the importance of the forthcoming 11th Congress of COSATU and the next Congress of ANC.

The WFTU was represented by George Mavrikos, General Secretary, Mohammed Iqnaibi-of the General Union of Palestinian Workers (Palestine) and Councilor for Middle East issues, and Apostolos Sotiropoulos, Permanent representative of WFTU in UNESCO.

"Through the open, democratic and fraternal discussion, there was agreement between the two delegations" about a number of subjects, they said in the joint release, including:
  • Joint initiatives for the rights of miners, the conditions of health and safety, the wages, the labor relations, the social security rights.
  • The continuation of the joint comradely effort for COSATU to play a first role in the international level through the lines of the WFTU.
  • The joint position of defending the Palestinian People, the Cuban revolution to beat off the imperialist plans.
  • Our coordination within the framework of the International Organizations for the benefit of the workers and the unemployed.

In a separate statement also issued recently, the WFTU expressed its solidarity with the teachers on strike in Chicago and demanded the complete satisfaction of their claims. "Education is a social right and not a business," the statement said, adding that "it is a social good. It should serve people's  needs. It needs to be public for all and not to serve the interests of few.

"Teachers around the world are poorly paid and cannot cover their contemporary needs. Labor relations have deteriorated, a large proportion of teachers who work in schools are forced to be satisfied with part-time contracts, are poorly paid and they have no rights," the WFTU added.

The WFTU called on the US and Chicago authorities to meet the demands of striking teachers so that both teachers and pupils to go back to their schools. "The WFTU is extending to you a message of support, solidarity and proletarian internationalism among workers of the world," they said.

The World Federation of Trade Unions was formed in 1945 following the defeat of fascism and building from previous labour internationals and especially the united contribution of working people and labour unions during the Second World War.  Today the WFTU represents 80 million members in 130 countries around the world.

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