Monday, 4 November 2013

Statement of the 1st Trade Union Seminar of the Left in Arab Countries

Statement of the 1st Trade Union Seminar of the Left in Arab Countries
Towards a Democratic and Militant Trade Union Movement

The first trade union seminar of the Left in Arab countries was convened during the period 24 to 26 October 2013 under the theme "Towards a Democratic and Militant Trade Union Movement” in Erbil, Iraqi Kurdistan. It was attended by various political parties and organisations of the Left in the Arab countries, as well as trade unionist figures, and hosted by the Iraqi Communist Party and the Kurdistan Communist Party - Iraq.

The focus in the Seminar was on exchanging views and discussing the reality of trade unionist work and trade unions in the Arab countries, and ways and mechanisms for coordination and joint action between Left trade unionists, as well as coordination between the Left and democratic forces in our countries to support efforts to mobilize the trade union action and activate its role. This is essential to ensure that trade unions and federations, especially labour unions, regain their natural status and carry out their fundamental tasks of defending the rights and interests of the working class and confront government, sectarian and narrow partisan interference in trade union matters. This would help to thwart attempts by outsiders to dominate the trade union movement and to fortify it against all forms of deviations, so that these unions would exercise their professional role, as well as shouldering their share of national struggle required for democracy and social justice, alongside democratic and social mass movements. 
During the three days of the Seminar, extensive discussions took place between the representatives of the participating parties and organizations. The sessions of the first day dealt with the political developments in the region and their impact on its peoples. Comrade Hameed Majid Mousa, the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Iraqi Communist Party, addressed the Seminar and dealt extensively with the tasks of the Left forces in the Arab countries, in order to activate their role and to maximize their contribution to the struggle of our peoples for true democracy and social justice. His contribution stressed the need to defend the issues and interests of our peoples against foreign intervention and attempts to impose hegemony and tear up national unity of our peoples. In the forefront of these issues is the struggle of the Palestinian people to liberate their territories from the Israeli occupation, establish an independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital, and to guarantee the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their homeland in accordance with UN resolution 194.
The sessions in the second and third days of the seminar dealt with two main topics that were presented in an extensive working paper prepared by the follow-up committee of the “Arab Left Meeting”, namely:
  • Manifestations of the crisis of the world capitalist economy.
  •  Arab Left trade union action and current tasks.
The delegates engaged in a serious and frank discussion that expressed various opinions about many aspects of the important topics contained in the working paper. Special attention was given to topics concerning ways and frameworks of coordination between Left and democratic trade unionists in the Arab countries, and the position with regard to the existing Arab, regional and international trade union federations. The discussions also dealt with questions such as: Do we talk about the work of Left trade unionists or expand include democratic and national professional trade unionists? What are the issues that our trade union struggle should focus on, on the economic, social, political and cultural levels.
The participants in the Seminar agreed on the importance of the formation of a joint coordination committee to follow up on trade union action, as a first step to coordinate joint efforts and common positions in the fields of trade union action, as well as continuing research and submitting practical proposals and perceptions to deepen and broaden the mechanisms and extent of joint Left cooperation in these important areas of struggle. The meeting issued a programme which contained guidelines for action in the coming period.
The Seminar also stressed the importance of keeping the door open for discussion and dialogue on other topics that delegates were convinced needed further exchange of opinions and consultation.
The delegates reaffirmed their full solidarity with the struggles of the working class and trade unions in a number of Arab countries to enact labour legislations, and a law for trade union freedoms, that are in line with the relevant international standards and conventions of trade union work. This is essential in order to usurp the right of trade unions to freedom of trade union work in the public and private sectors and in all other fields of work.

The participants in the Trade Union Seminar included representatives of the Sudanese Communist Party, the Palestinian People’s Party, the Lebanese Communist Party, the Egyptian Communist Party, the Jordanian Communist Party, the Party of Progress and Socialism in Morocco, the Progressive Movement in Kuwait, the Progressive Democratic Forum in Bahrain, the Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine, the Palestinian Liberation Front, the Iraqi Communist Party, the Kurdistan Communist Party - Iraq.
Erbil – Iraq
26 October 2013                           

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