The Guardian • Issue #2053

“We stand shoulder to shoulder”

WFTU declaration on May Day 2023

  • The Guardian
  • Issue #2053
World Federation of Trade Unions – logo.

The World Federation of Trade Unions, the militant, class-oriented voice, representing 105 million workers who live, work, and struggle in 133 countries of the 5 continents. The WFTU honours the 137th anniversary of the struggle of workers in Chicago in 1886 that constituted a lasting milestone of the working class and a bright beacon for the struggles of today and tomorrow in struggle for democratic rights, social security, free public health and education, a dignified life.

Today the crisis of capitalism is deepening over the length and breadth of the globe, resulting in the open violation of democratic and trade union rights, the deterioration of working and living conditions, and the dramatic widening of social inequalities, poverty, and exploitation.

Big capital and its political representatives are using the pretext of the capitalist crisis to launch attacks on even the most fundamental democratic and trade union rights, like the right to strike, to demonstrate, and to organise. They do whatever they can to transfer the consequences of the crisis to the shoulders of the working class, the pensioners, the farmers, and to the poorer part of the self-employed.

The uncontrollable increase of prices; especially the prices of essential goods, as well as “energy poverty,” is another way to cut salaries and to protect and increase profits resulting in even more poverty and deterioration of the workers’ living standards. They once again want the peoples and the workers to pay for their crisis. But the workers are not willing to shoulder the bill. This message is loudly and clearly heard from more and more workplaces, from more and more countries.

WFTU affiliates, in the militant spirit of the recent 18th congress we had in Rome one year ago, are at the forefront of these struggles at all levels: salary, employment, social security, health care, education, culture. We are strengthening our opposition against privatisation and anti-labour policies, we stand by the side of the struggling female worker, the one who suffers from double exploitation fighting for equal rights at work, in society, and life.

We stand shoulder to shoulder with the vulnerable parts of the workers’ class, demanding dignified income for the under-employed workers, proper jobs for the unemployed, and decent pensions for the retired workers. We strengthen our militant actions to ensure all labour rights and freedoms, and the conventions to be implemented in practice instead of empty words.

These struggles are relentlessly and unwaveringly carried out despite the sharpening of state repression and authoritarianism.

In addition to the aftermaths of the COVID pandemic and the economic crisis, the bourgeoisie wants the working class to pay also the price of the imperialist war of the US, NATO, EU with Russia in Ukraine. We reiterate our firm internationalist solidarity with the suffering peoples. We demand the end of the war in Ukraine, the elimination of all the imperialist wars, the disengagement and dismantling of NATO and all military coalitions, and the abolition of nuclear weapons.

We intensify our struggle to ensure the right of peoples to live in peace and determine freely and independently their present and future. We fight to stop the economic wars and sanctions as a means of promotion of foreign imperialist interests in sovereign and independent countries. We call for an immediate end to the criminal embargoes against socialist Cuba and the continuous crime against the Palestinian people. Our most powerful weapons are INTERNATIONALISM and SOLIDARITY. No worker must feel alone.

The WFTU on the occasion of 2023 International Workers Day conveys its warm, internationalist, militant, and class greetings to all struggling workers and to all militant trade unions that tirelessly and decisively conduct the daily fight for dignity, for the satisfaction of the contemporary need of the working class and the popular strata.

We intensify our common actions in every sector, in every country, in every continent, for the emancipation of the working class, to meet our own class interests and needs; against the root cause of poverty, misery, wars, and refugees; to build a just human-centred society with dignified living and working conditions for every human being, a society free of the capitalist barbarity and man-by-man exploitation.

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