Mumbai, India

Moscow, 15 January 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The General Confederation of Trade Unions, GCTU, affiliating national trade union centres in the Commonwealth of Independent States and 37 Trade Union Internationals of the region extends its fraternal greetings and wishes of success to all participants in the 3rd Trade Union Forum.

The world trade union movement, of which the GCTU is part, is currently facing formidable challenges and problems, including the poverty of a huge percentage of the planets population, mass unemployment, living and working conditions unacceptable in 21st century, dangerous pollution of the natural environment, aggressive wars and armed conflicts, continuous terrorist acts, fast spreading of the HIV/AIDS infection and other fatal diseases, and other such evils. Neither globalisation nor the development of information and communication technologies has so far provided adequate solutions to these problems.

Regrettably, many of these ills are not uncommon in the region where our Confederation operates. The GCTU and its affiliates spare no efforts to alleviate their adverse effects on workers in the CIS countries. In this struggle, we count on support from, and cooperation with, other components of the world trade union movement.

The unions must jointly meet the challenges of globalisation, and mobilise the worlds workers for a common struggle for the good of humankind, a peaceful and happy future, decent labour, and full realisation of human rights and trade union freedoms. The GCTU reaffirms its willingness to get involved in any such common actions by the world trade union movement to achieve these ends.

We believe it important that, for a number of years, trade union forums have been held in connection with the World Social Forums bringing together a broad spectrum of public forces. It is through the cohesion of nongovernmental organisations, different in nature or purpose, including trade unions, and all good-will people that real results can be achieved in promoting the progress of humanity and meeting workers just demands and expectations.

We are positive that the decisions of the 3rd Trade Union Forum in Mumbai will be an important milestone in the search for efficient solutions to burning world problems in the interests of workers.

We sincerely wish you a successful forum.

General Confederation of Trade Unions