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by the Fourth Congress of the General Confederation
of Trade Unions

We, the delegates of the 4th Congress of the General Confederation of Trade Unions (GCTU), affiliating national trade union centres in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and 37 industrial Trade Union Internationals, appeal to the world's workers and trade unions to rally in the face of new challenges of our day.

The CIS trade union movement is deeply concerned with the rapid globalisation of capital. We are witnessing the transnational corporations turning into the biggest employer in the world. Wherever they invest their capitals, TNCs impose on the countries their own social ideologies that often clash with national legislation, and encroach on trade union rights and freedoms and on the prevalent system of labour relations.

The positions of international monetary and trade institutions have increased enormously, and they are becoming the governing factor of world development. Encouraged by transnational capital, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organisation are trying to usurp the role of a "world government". They impose their will on economically weak states, disregarding their national interests, situation and traditions, and the economic conditions of their workers.

Such a course of events cannot be accepted by workers and their organisations.

We urge the world's trade unions to draw up a common platform demanding that the international monetary and trade institutions accede to a mechanism of regular consultation with the trade union movement on what concerns the social aspects of their activities.

We propose that all world, regional and national trade union centres, and industrial, territorial and workplace trade union organisations pool their efforts to make each transnational corporation sign a general collective agreement of its own providing for specific rates of work remuneration and health and safety, the rights of the trade union organisation and its elected bodies, and other social and labour problems.

The international conference on globalisation held by the GCTU in Moscow last February stressed that trade unions should press for a maximum decrease in the economic and social costs of the globalisation process. The future of the international trade union movement depends largely on whether we can jointly succeed in protecting efficiently trade union freedoms and labour rights. Without global unity, we shall not be able to hold out against the organised offensive by capital and protect our members' interests.

Today the Earth's trade unions have common fundamental interests and goals in their struggle for decent, i.e. free and socially protected work. This implies the need to secure full and productive employment, an adequate level of social protection, eradication of poverty and social exclusion, protection of human rights and trade union freedoms, liquidation of any forms of discrimination in the workplace, equal rights for men and women, elimination of forced and child labour, etc.

The achievement of these goals is on the agenda of the International Labour Organisation where trade union representatives from all over the world, including the CIS, are active participants. We reiterate our support for the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as well as its basic conventions and other instruments aiming to secure trade union freedoms and workers' rights and promote social dialogue. Both the GCTU and its affiliated organisations will further insist on the preservation and improvement of the ILO's standard-setting activity, and on the extension and enhancement of its supervisory mechanism. We call on the international and regional trade union centres and on all other trade unions of the world to jointly develop and submit to the ILO a memorandum explaining their view on the objectives and tasks of its further activity, with due regard for the impact of globalisation on the nature of labour relations and on the relationship between the social partners.

Trade unions in the CIS countries note with satisfaction that over the last decade the United Nations has been devoting increased attention to social issues and more active cooperation with non-governmental organisations. We urge the world trade union movement to support and promote this positive trend by every means, as it can provide an effective counterbalance to the emerging global dictate by transnational capital. Trade unions in the CIS ought to give more energetic support to the UN Secretary-General's Global Compact initiative. It may be used as a basis for building an international legal framework for the efforts to add a social dimension to the world economy. The GCTU and its affiliates will be ready to contribute towards the realisation of such a project.

We believe it essential to find such organisational and legal norms as would give the workers and all other sections of the Earth's population a louder and more confident say in the ECOSOC and other UN specialised agencies dealing with social problems.

The GCTU calls on the trade unions in all countries to support the United Nations in its efforts to maintain international peace and security, and settle military conflicts by peaceful means. It is the workers that are hardest hit by wars and terrorism, and any attempt to split the people based on their nationality, religion or any other features will only bring new suffering and misfortunes to the working people. Solidarity is one reliable and time-tested way to withstand all this. We express our solidarity with the struggles waged by the world's workers and trade unions for human rights, and against racism, national hatred, chauvinism, xenophobia, and neo-Nazi threats.

The objective need for unity in the trade union struggle for attaining these and many other goals has become imminent. Ample evidence of this can be provided by the decisions of the congresses held lately by major world, regional and national trade union centres. As an integral part of the world trade union movement, the GCTU supports the recent initiatives on its further consolidation, and is willing to make its contribution to the ongoing global debate about the future of the world trade union movement. We will promote the achievement of a unity in the world trade union movement that would allow for the equality of all its components, mutual respect, and non-interference in one another's internal affairs.

We stand for a dialogue with all other international trade union organisations that can result in identifying a new role and place for trade unions in the 21st century, and deciding upon the measures to be taken to adapt them to the new realities of this century and secure their further progress.

Trade unions in our countries are fully confident that in today's world there are no objective obstacles to the unity of workers and their unions. The General Confederation of Trade Unions calls on the world's workers and trade unions to strengthen international solidarity and take a resolute step towards cohesion of their ranks.

Let us respond with trade union globalisation to the globalisation of the economy!