"SIGTUR is a network of democratic left-wing trade unions who will not sit back and do nothing in front of injustice"
The Southern Initiative on Globalisation and Trade Union Rights (SIGTUR) final declaration along with five special resolutions were endorsed at the XI Congress on 4 and 5th April in Buenos Aires. The congress focused on alternatives to capitalism, the need in a reduction of the working time without loss of rights or income, a universal basic income to takle inequality and the challenges of the new technological revolution Industry 4.0.
On the 4 and 5th April the congress took place for the first time in Argentina a meeting of the trade unions from the global south that integrate the SIGTUR. Trade unions from Australia, South Korea, South Africa, Malaysia, India, Philippines, Japan, Tunisia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. The XI Congress focused on the theme of "Another Work is Possible".
SIGTUR did not seek to debate on whether what work will exist in the future but rather the kind of society that we want to live in and the role work has in that society”. The SIGTUR Congress agreed "a solidarity network of trade unions" in the context "of a global neoliberal economy" in which "the organized work must have an international focus that go beyond the country borders".
The XI Congress of SIGTUR focused on three topics:
1) Reduction of the working time without a reduction of salary or rights;
2) Universal basic income as an iniciative to fight for the right to a decent wage;
3) The Fourth Industrial Revolution and the role work plays in it.
Fito Aguirre Secretary of International Relationship of the CTA-A and host country of the congress explained the actions of the next triennium: "we need to be involve in fair transition agreements which ensure the introduction of the new technologies, with resources and well coordinated in order to guarantee that the social damages resulting, like the massive unemployment, will be dodged based on the restructuring of jobs and at the same time that the legislation protect the our jobs and offer roads for the training of the workers".
The Congress also produced five special resolutions, which were approved by unanimity.
1. G-20 in Argentina: Six members of the SIGTUR are from countries part of G-20, and this year the summit will take place on November in Buenos Aires. It is a key event for the working class because it states the neoliberal agenda that continuously push workers across the world for lower the salaries and reduction of rights. It is also an historical opportunity to think on new alternatives in against neoliberalism that continues moving forward in the concentration of wealth and the marginalization of the people. The proposals of the G-20 in favour of "structural reforms" in fact mean a direct attack to the worker's rights, promoting the disintegration of the collective bargaining, increase of the workday, labour flexibilization, and hostility to the trade unions.
2. In the defense of Lula and democracy in Brazil: SIGTUR lead campaigns of denouncement of the coup d'état in Brazil, the attacks to the democracy and social setback without precedents. This is the result of a broad alliance of the business groups, the judicial system, members of the parliament and the media groups who are part of the Brazilian elite. SIGTUR also support and recommend the creation of Solidarity Committees in "defense of the Democracy and Lula" in the countries of the members of the network.
3. Freedom for Han and Lee: SIGTUR demands the immediate liberation of the former president of KCTU from South Korea, Han Sang-gyeun, and the retreat of the charges against the former general secretary of the union, Lee Young-joo. Han has been more than two years in prison. The Working Group on Arbitrary Prison of the UN has emphasized that the privation of Han’s freedom is arbitrary and claimed for his immediate liberation and compensation. Han and Lee are accused for their roles in the mass demonstration of the 14th November 2015. The only thing they did was to stop the regressive labour reforms law of the previous government of Park Guen-hye, that generated unregistered jobs which the government had committed to finish.
4. For an asbestos free world: SIGTUR condemn the evitable death of more than 107.000 workers every year because of diseases derived from asbestos when there are available alternatives of safer products. The elimination of the use of asbestos is the most effective way of protection. SIGTUR encourage the realization of national and international campaigns to promote the ban of asbestos in all its forms and of the materials that contains it in our countries and in the world, as well as the use of alternatives products and just transition policies for to avoid the loose of jobs in the local industries.
5. In defense of the workers and unionists in Philippines: SIGTUR resolve realize a global day of action against the attacks of the fascist regime of Rodrigo Duterte in Philippines against de trade unions, their leaders and human rights. By this time, 29 unionist and activist for the human rights were murdered since Duterte assumed the presidency in 2016. The leaders and activist are criminalized and labeled as "terrorists", with the purpose of discredit their claims.
Fito Aguirre sumarised the XI SIGTUR Congress and said that "this Congress reafirmed that we are the union voice of the global south against the attacks of the neoliberalism and that we look for make better the life of our workers with realistic proposals"
Fito Aguirre CTA-A lead as coordinators of the XI SIGTUR congress delevered and international experience ", he highlighted that "we had been very effective and we had fulfilled the objectives agreed for this XI Congress.
We had great level of debate, and we are well placed in our world analysis and growing as a network with affiliation campaigns" . In addition, Aguirre underlined the fact that the CUT-A from Paraguay has incorporated to the network and that is a proof that we are on the right road and that other trade unions want to take this way"
"SIGTUR is a network of democratic left-wing trade unions who will not sit back and do nothing in front of injustice, like we express in the cases of our comrades Lula, Han and Lee. We will always defend the workers and this SIGTUR Congress in Argentina is the response for the G20 Summit in our country", concluded Aguirre.