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International Labor and Solidarity Congress Held by Memur-Sen
The International Labor and Solidarity Congress was held in Istanbul, hosted by Memur-Sen. At the congress held after the founding meeting of the International Labour Confederation established with the initiative of Memur-Sen/Türkiye, global crises in the world, solutions to them and cooperation opportunities were discussed.
Memur-Sen, which offers a global perspective in the struggle for labour with its international activities and cooperation network it has established, held the International Labor and Solidarity Congress from İstanbul, where it called the labour world "labor is greater than capital".
The International Labor and Solidarity Congress, where the International Labour Confederation was established, which will represent more than 25 million workers in Europe and Asia, was attended by the Minister of Labor and Social Security, Mr. Vedat Bilgin, the President of Memur-Sen Ali Yalçın, and the representatives of the founding and observer confederations.
Addressing representatives from the world of labour, Minister of Labor and Social Security, Mr. Vedat Bilgin said, "The unhealthy growth model of capitalism is destroying humanity and destroying the lives of workers," and said, "The crisis that emerged after the pandemic has revealed that capitalism is unsustainable."
Emphasizing that inequality and exploitation in the world lead people to hunger, Bilgin said, “The production and profits of the real economy increase arithmetically, but the profits of finance capitalism increase geometrically. The economic crisis of 2008 confirmed this. This continues today. So capitalism has a growth model that destroys human lives. First of all, it destroys the lives of the workers. Labour organizations, unions, and their understanding of politics that are on the side of labour need to base their struggles on a new strategy at this stage. Old understandings have become obsolete. Our esteemed President Erdoğan said, 'The world is bigger than five,' and this is what it means.
Stating that the International Labour Confederation initiated by Memur-Sen will bring a new vision to the labour world, the organization will give motivation to the labour world, adding, "Labor and solidarity are our basic concepts today. We need labour, solidarity, social dialogue and social struggle."
Yalçın: It is a system crisis we live in.
Speaking at the congress where the establishment of the International Labour Confederation was declared, Mr. Ali Yalçın, President of Memur-Sen, first mentioned the mining accident in Amasra and said, “I commemorate them here with respect. Every life, every worker is very precious to us. May God have mercy on our deceased workers. Memur-Sen Search and Rescue Team also took part in the work from the very first moments.
Stating that the world has experienced one of the breaking moments in history and extraordinary developments such as wars, pandemic and natural disasters have been experienced in the last few years, Yalçın said that on top of all these, economic and political crises have deeply affected humanity and that solutions to the crises in the world are insufficient. Saying, “Maybe the ways we are used to and the methods we have memorized will not be enough to overcome the global crises we are in,” Yalçın said, “Maybe we have to change our whole point of view in order to overcome the crisis, which is predicted to last at least 10 years with the most optimistic approach. For this reason, I think that humanity has to create a strong consultation mechanism within itself. Especially the union structures, which have been tried to be pushed out of the system by the neoliberal system for the last 40 years, should take a stronger initiative in the construction of the new order from now on. Because we, as world of labour, are the majority against capital. And these crises affect us the most; It takes away our bread, our welfare, our freedom.”
Describing the crisis in the world as a system crisis, Yalçın emphasized that the theories imposed on the world and the methods that are wanted to be memorized are the cause of the crisis and said, "The last political method of the capitalist system, the neoliberal system, has excluded the real economy based on the production phenomenon, by putting financialization at the center, and therefore the labor, which is one of the subjects of the real economy."
Referring to the income inequality in the world, Memur-Sen President Yalçın stated that a culture based on consumption was produced and continued his words by stating that the pandemic revealed the contradictions of the system:
“If 3.5 million people die somewhere in the world because they still do not have access to clean water, humanity is actually dying there. Especially if millions of tons of food are wasted in developed countries, and people are still struggling with hunger... If millions of people are losing their eyes because they still do not have the opportunity to have a simple cataract surgery... If over 500 million people around the world are forced to live away from their countries without their consent, by force... Despite all the good rhetoric, violence and abuses against women continue, especially if women do not get what they deserve in working life… Nobody can and cannot trust the system's statements equipped with statistical data and international institutions.”
“We are together for a sincere and strong struggle”
Touching on the global climate crisis in his speech, Yalçın criticizes the attitudes of developed countries on the subject and said, “The energy crisis that has been experienced recently has revealed this contradiction. There is a great contradiction between what the developed countries said about nuclear energy just a few years ago, and what they say now with the natural gas crisis. Everyone knows the pressure they put on developing countries in this regard. Especially the developments with the Ukraine crisis deepened this stalemate. Because the capitalist world system regarded these contradictions and crises as technical details and produced policies accordingly. But now the crisis is out of control.” he said.
Emphasizing that as labor organizations that believe that the world needs a new understanding, they embarked on a new path for a new world together, Yalçın said, “We all call fair distribution. We call it justice and law that will encompass all humanity. We call it sustainable and fair climate policies for the future of humanity. We call equal pay for equal work, without discrimination between men and women. We are together for a sincere and strong struggle for decent work. We underline the healthy family for a healthy society. We promise to fight for freedom of belief and conscience for an order without marginalization and discrimination.
Underlining that the International Labour Confederation came together in İstanbul to defend the rights of labour and workers to the fullest and to raise the banner of labour, Yalçın said, “We will raise hope against the crisis with this new fire we have lit together in İstanbul. Together, we will fight for a world that puts people and their most valuable act, labour, at the center from now on."
In addition, General Secretary of the Organization of African Trade Unions Unity (OATUU), Mr. Arezki Mezhoud, General Secretary of the Alternative Democratic Union of the America (ADS), Mr. Roland Herman Ignacio and International Affairs Secretary of the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), Mr. Osama Salman Hasan Mohammed also gave speeches.
After the speeches, the program ended with a family photograph and a signature ceremony, in which representatives of founding and observer labour organizations of ILC took part.