The fifth International Forum on Economic Globalization and Trade Unions opened on 2 February 2009. ACFTU Chair Wang Zhaoguo stressed in his opening remarks that trade unions throughout the world should do all they can to protect workers’ employment rights and promote decent work for all workers amid the financial crisis.
Wang began by explaining the Chinese Government’s policy on the financial crisis and gave full credit to Chinese trade unions for the measures they have taken to reduce its impact, such as fully implementing the labour/management joint commitment, offering more assistance to poverty-stricken workers and stepping up organizing drives.
Wang noted that tackling challenges and strengthening exchanges are a common aspiration of trade unions and workers the world over. The forum, which brought together union leaders from all over the world to discuss issues of common concern under the theme of “Scientific Development, Decent Work, Worker Rights”, is of great significance to promoting mutual understanding between trade unions, giving better play to the role of trade unions in dealing with the crisis and pushing the international labour movement forward.
Wang emphasized that trade unions of all countries should make it a top priority to protect workers’ employment rights, promote and expand employment, and guide workers to start their own businesses. It must be brought home to workers that promoting steady, rapid economic development provides a basis for ensuring employment and that trade unions and workers should work hard to promote the economy.
Wang added that more efforts must be made to promote decent work and establish a sound tripartite mechanism as well as collective bargaining and democratic worker management so that more workers can enjoy the benefits brought about by development. Trade unions should respect each other, promote inclusiveness and democracy, and work toward a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity.
WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos, OATUU Secretary General Hassan Sunmonu and ICATU general secretary Rajab Maatouk expressed their thanks to Chinese trade unions for holding such a forum. In their view, it has grown into a mechanism that attracts more and more trade unions from different ideological and political backgrounds and brings them together to discuss issues confronting unions and workers around the world. As such, it has become a major event in the international labour movement.
Co-launched by ACFTU, WFTU, OATUU and ICATU, the International Forum on Globalization and Trade Unions has been held on four previous occasions. Addressing topics of common concern to trade unions and workers of all countries, the forum has produced positive impacts on the international labour movement.
Over two days, more than 100 leaders from 48 trade unions in 26 countries exchanged views and discussed major issues with a view to hammering out a solution to the financial crisis.