2 December 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The General Confederation of Trade Unions affiliating trade union centres from 11 countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and 32 industrial Trade Union Internationals of the region extends its fraternal greetings to participants of the 18th World Congress of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions.

The scope of the tasks to be addressed by your Congress is commensurate with the challenges that the rapid advance of globalisation poses to the international trade union community in all the spheres of political, economic, social and cultural life. We hope your Forum will provide adequate replies to those challenges, and its decisions will undoubtedly have a strong impact on the future development of the world trade union movement.

The main motto of your Congress, Globalising Solidarity Building a Global Union Movement for the Future, meets with generous response from the GCTU and its member organisations. As the offensive by global capital on workers legitimate rights and interests grows more impudent and aggressive, the need for unification becomes more and more obvious to the worlds trade unions.

The response of the trade union world to the offensive is increasingly active. The unions build global frameworks for social dialogue, and jointly thwart the attempts by the international financial and trade institutions to solve economic and social problems without even consulting the workers and their unions.

The GCTU is doing its best to keep abreast with the rest of the world trade union movement. We welcome the intention of the ICFTU and the WCL to join their ranks as a first tangible step on the arduous way towards the future unity of the worlds trade unions. Our Confederation is ready to contribute to the combined efforts aimed at further cohesion of all forces in the world trade union movement on the basis of openness, unbiased judgment and mutual respect. We are positive that global unification of organised workers will enhance their power and the effectiveness of the struggles they are waging in defence of their rights and interests.

Today, the GCTU strives for even stronger consolidation of the trade unions of CIS countries, and promotes their fight for decent working and living conditions, higher living standards for workers in our region, minimum pay equal to the subsistence minimum, legislative guarantees for the principles of social partnership, internationally accepted health and safety standards, ratification of the basic ILO conventions, etc.

For the success of this struggle, we count on support and solidarity from the ICFTU and its affiliates.

We wish you a successful congress!


Moscow, December 2004