APPEAL TO WORLD TRADE UNIONS
ON THE OCCASION OF THE 15TH ANNIVERSARY
OF THE GENERAL CONFEDERATION OF TRADE UNIONS

Adopted by the session of the GCTU Executive Committee
16 April 2007

Fifteen years have passed since the foundation of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU) affiliating the major part of the trade union movement in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). Today it comprises national trade union centres from ten CIS countries and 31 industrial Trade Union Internationals of the region.

Over the short period, the GCTU has become an essential element of the CIS public system. It has been granted respective statuses with the supreme authorities of the CIS and the Eurasian Economic Community, which has enabled it to participate efficiently in their activities, and contribute to the law-making processes in the inter-parliamentary assemblies of the two interstate organisations, and in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia.

On the initiative of the GCTU or with its direct involvement, 98 framework legal acts for CIS countries have been worked out and adopted, including such as the Charter of Social Rights and Guarantees for Citizens in the Newly Independent States, the Concept of a Framework Labour Code, the Guidelines for Reforming Wages in the CIS countries, the Core Provisions of the Integrated Social Security, etc. The Confederation has taken part in the development of interstate agreements signed by the CIS Heads of State. Many of the GCTU-affiliated industrial Trade Union Internationals have been active participants in the work of interstate industrial councils, where they promoted issues relating to labour relations and social policies.

The statuses the GCTU enjoys with the UN Economic and Social Council, the ILO and the UN Department of Public Information, together with its successful cooperation with a lot of regional and national trade union centres of the world, testify to the fact that the GCTU has been recognised as part of the international trade union community.

Ever since its emergence, the General Confederation of Trade Unions has been advocating consolidation of forces in the international trade union movement. That was why it welcomed with satisfaction the establishment of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) in November 2006 hailing the event as a crucial and realistic step towards future global trade union unity. The GCTU Executive Committee reiterates that the Confederation is willing to maintain broad cooperation with the ITUC and its Pan-European Regional Council (PERC) in the struggle for workers rights and interests, full and productive employment, and against mass poverty, exploitation, oppression and inequality of working people.

We are positive that was just the beginning. Workers worldwide are in an urgent need of even stronger unity and solidarity as they confront with the formidable challenges of globalisation and the extent of its negative impact on the entire world system of social security. Globalisation escalates and internationalises poverty and unemployment, leads to innumerable violations of human rights and trade union freedoms, generates social uncertainty, and aggravates discrimination against various categories and groups of workers. Trade unions also need a broad-based unity that will enhance their strength and confidence in their complicated relations with transnational corporations and other international finance-industrial groups that have emerged from globalisation as practically the biggest employer in the world.

We reaffirm our full support for the International Labour Organisation, together with our commitment to its tripartite principles and our respect for its Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and Decent Work Agenda, and for the findings of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation set up on its initiative. The GCTU and its affiliates, together with the rest of the trade union world, will continue pressing for full and universal compliance with international labour standards They will seek ratification and practical implementation by CIS countries of the most important ILO conventions. We subscribe to the demand by the world trade unions that ILO social and labour standards should be made an integral part of the international instruments and activities of the WTO, international monetary and financial institutions and transnational corporations.

While highly appreciating the United Nations initiative to add a social dimension to world politics and the role it plays in strengthening peace on Earth, the GCTU will keep supporting UN efforts aiming to achieve these ends, and insist that all countries, and, first and foremost the CIS states, implement the UN-proclaimed Millennium Development Goals.

We note with optimism that the growing community or similarity of trade union approaches to vital social and political issues such as the protection of trade union rights and freedoms and the rights and interests of young workers and migrants; gender equality, eradication of forced and child labour, elimination of social exclusion, peacekeeping and peaceful settlement of military conflicts is a distinct factor of the todays world development. Throughout their history, the GCTU and its affiliates have participated, and will continue to participate actively, in the struggle being waged by the international trade union movement to fulfil these vital tasks.

On the day of its 15th Anniversary, the General Confederation of Trade Unions appeals to world trade unions to support and carry on the initiate process of progressing towards their organisational unity, jointly seek the ways to their global cohesion based on the principles of new internationalism, constructive dialogue and mutual respect.

Achieving global trade union solidarity will guarantee a successful common struggle for the rights, interests and decent lives for all working people!

Executive Committee
General Confederation of Trade Unions