Speech by Mr. Owei Lakemfa, OATUU Secretary General

A Better World Is Possible

Esteemed Brothers and Sisters, beloved Comrades from various parts of the world, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, The Organisation Of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU) is honoured to be part of this important Forum.  We feel at home in the midst of you all because workers are a true family.

Permit us to begin by pointing out that this will be the second international Forum of trade unions within seven weeks. But they are as different, as night is to daylight. On August 5, 2014, there was an international forum between American and African Trade Union leaders in Washington DC. The theme was “Good Jobs, Inclusive Growth and Workers Rights” and the objective was to collate the views of American and African labour leaders for submission to the Summit of United States and African Heads Of State held that month.

The first point on the Washington Forum is that the participants were handpicked, but more importantly is the fact that none of the six panelists who made presentations and led discussions at  the Forum, came from the  host AFL-CIO or American trade unions. In fact only two of the panelists came from the trade unions, the third was a civil society person while the remaining three, or half the panelists, were Deputy Secretaries of the American Government. In contrast, this Beijing Forum is composed of labour leaders freely chosen by the respective trade unions themselves and  is completely, a labour affair. This is part of the strength of the Beijing Forum; it is representative, democratic, free and open. 

Brothers and sisters, this is the Tenth Session of the Beijing  Forum, and it has been ten years of frank, fruitful and rewarding discussions, exchange of ideas and building of  international labour solidarity. We in OATUU are convinced that the international Labour Movement needs to be rebuilt in the spirit of equality, consensus building, mutual respect and shared value. The Beijing Forum is a basic foundation necessary to achieve this historical goal.

Humanity and the need for Reforms

Brother and Sisters, the theme of this 2014 Beijing International Forum is  “Reform, Development and Dream” It is an apt reflection of the state of the universe; a world enmeshed in inequality, poverty, hunger, underdevelopment and attendant insecurity. Things are so bad, and hunger so pervasive, that tens of millions of people risk limb and life to get bread. Many prefer the dangerous and suicidal crossing of the oceans and open seas in hope of a better life, than the certainty of debilitating poverty.  Not even the likelihood of death in the desert, deters the many who have lost hope, and no longer dream.  For this mass of humanity, dream of a future does not exist, all tey experience is nightmare.

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  Source: ACFTU  2014-09-26

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