Unions join WSF Global Day of Action

On January 26th, millions of people around the world will gather in more than 700 activities that will happen in more than 80 countries. It’s a Global Day of Action promoted by the World social forum: an international journey to make our demands and show that the world can be free of war, patriarchy, sexism, enviromental destruction, poverty, militarism, privatization of public spaces and resources, imperialism, violation of human rights, restriction of expression and all kinds of oppression. Also the ITUC is joining the Day of Action,

Hundreds of trade unions and progressive organisations have responded to the WSF’s call for a decentralised action that best illustrates the diversity of civil society concerns about the current process of globalisation. The WSF event coincides with the closing days of the Davos World Economic Forum, meeting at the same time in Davos, Switzerland.

The ITUC has supported the WSF call for a global day of mobilisation since the beginning and has invited all its 311 affiliated organisations to act today for “another world” together with social organisations and networks.
Jaap Wienen, ITUC Deputy General Secretary, is participating in the activities organised by the Belgian Social Forum in which the ITUC’s Belgian affiliates are deeply engaged. He will take part in a special 11-stop tour of the capital Brussels, each stop representing a key global issue to be discussed among the participants.One of the key objectives of this Day is to strengthen the solidarity and convergence amongst all organisations and coalitions opposing the global “neo-liberal” agenda. “This Global Day of Action is important for us. It represents an opportunity for workers and trade unions to exchange and interact with other groups and organisations and hopefully to come together for effective actions,” said Wienen.

Among the unions that have responded to the ITUC invitation is the Mauritanian CGTM which is engaged in the construction of a Maghreb Social Forum. Today they discuss key issues for the Maghreb region such as migration and the relationship of civil society to government. In Sao Paolo, Brazil, the CUT together with many Brazilian social movements is taking part in several marches that are all gathering in the old part of the city for a theatrical play. In South Korea, trade unions are mobilising under the slogan “Act together for Another World: A World without Free Trade Agreement, Poverty, War & Discrimination”.

One of the concrete outcomes of the ITUC’s work with other civil society organisations and networks at the WSF has been the creation of the Decent Work/Decent Life Campaign. As part of its campaign, the Campaign recently launched the Call to Action for Decent Work (see http://www.decentwork.org ), a petition to be signed on-line by individuals and organisations that support our call for decent work. The Call to Action is part of a worldwide mobilisation called by the ITUC and its global trade union partners for a World Day for Decent Work, on 7 October this year. Trade unions around the world will be organising activities on the day, in cooperation with progressive civil society allies.

One of the trade unions’ core demands during the Global Day of Action is the urgent need to redress the global employment situation. With almost half the world population earning less than 2 dollars a day, 12 million men and women working in slavery and many others dying each day due to work-related accidents or diseases, the objective of decent work must be put on the top of national and international economic priorities. A core part of the decent work agenda is respect for workers’ right to organise and to bargain collectively, as well as the fight against discrimination at the work place.

Finally on this Global Day of Action, trade unions are invited to prioritise the demand for fair trade rules, a crucial issue on which workers’ voices must be heard.

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