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on the Current World Financial and Economic Crisis
20 October 2008

The General Confederation of Trade Unions, GCTU, affiliating national trade union centres in 10 countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States and 32 industrial Trade Union Internationals, expresses its alarm at the crisis developments in the world economy and their eventual outcome for workers in the region.

The problems that have recently emerged in the finance sector tend to result in a general aggravation of the world economic situation. As part of the international trade union movement, the GCTU is deeply concerned over the attempts to solve the problems arisen at the expense of working people. There are already disturbing reports of declining business activity in various economic sectors, delayed payment for fulfilled orders and jobs, reduced work hours, termination of employment relations, especially with workers on temporary contracts, sending employees on leave without pay, and reluctance to meet guaranteed social obligations. The inflation processes keep gaining momentum, which affects directly millions of people.

The CIS states are taking measures to curb the negative impact of the crisis. However, these measures must not result in the burden of the economic crisis being shouldered solely by the population and, in particular, by workers of the Commonwealth countries. It is the owners and top managers of industrial enterprises and corporations that must bear the main responsibility for the consequences. It is the excessive and, in fact, parasitical consumption habits of the new bourgeoisie that must be reduced, not jobs and wages. Any attempts to make people tighten their belts will meet with an organised rebuff by trade unions that will respond with solidarity actions. Trade unions also warn against any possible attempts to undermine the established principles and machinery of social partnership, break the earlier concluded collective agreements, or belittle the role of trade unions, under the pretext of alleged or real difficulties.

In this context, the GCTU and its affiliates will be ready to enter into dialogue with the state authorities and business interests of the CIS countries, and support any constructive steps aiming to find the ways of overcoming difficulties caused by the advancing world financial and economic crisis, without detriment to the real economy, employment rates, incomes of the population, and the realisation of earlier adopted social programmes.