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The Balkan summit organized by Memur-Sen in Istanbul
The Balkan summit organized by Memur-Sen in Istanbul
The Balkan Summit organized by Memur-Sen has started in Istanbul. Speaking at the workshop on "The future of trade unionism in the shadow of the crisis" attended by representatives of trade union organizations from the Balkans, the president of Memur-Sen, Ali Yalçin, said: "I believe that the solution lies in solidarity, increasing the value of work and creating a strong bond between humanity."
Memur-Sen, who is doing important work in both trade union action and social responsibility in our country, is hosting a new workshop so that the concepts of work and solidarity find a wider place in the arena international. At the Balkan Summit; High-level representatives from Albania BSPSH, Bosnia and Herzegovina SSSBİH, Romania MERIDIAN and CGM, North Macedonia UNASM, Kosovo BSPK and Slovenian confederations KNSS, ZRSS, SGS were present.
Speaking in his speech, President Ali Yalçin said, “You cannot fight or build the future without grasping reality as it is. We, as trade union organizations with strong and deeply rooted traditions, have so far experienced the reality of this principle through our struggles. Today, in a terrain where our world and humanity are struggling, we need such understanding more than ever.
Emphasizing that trade union organizations around the world have never aspired to ease, Yalçın said: "We defend the value of work, which is the basis of the struggle for the existence of man and therefore of the humanity. Therefore, this struggle is an existential struggle. No matter what the leaders of the system say, they can never hide the truth about the sanctity of work. Here is where we are. We all know the crises that these theories, which have emerged in the last two hundred years of world history, or perhaps three centuries, have left humanity face to face. We also know that these theories mean nothing more than the apparatus of colonial and imperialist strategies. This is one of the main reasons for the current crisis. Especially with globalization, we have been subjected to the imposition of a standardized world, from knowledge to culture. Continents and countries have always been subject to taxation in accordance with the interests of the imperialist countries.
Yalçın: We could have lived in a different world
Stressing that a solution cannot be found without tackling the root of the problem, President Yalçın said: "Even if we limit the crisis we are going through today to our time alone, we will be vulnerable to the new strategies developed against work and therefore against humanity. Historians say, “What we are experiencing today is actually a continuation of 1914. The world could not end World War I. As you know, World War I was a war of division and when you dig deeper, it was the product of imperialist strategy. And we also know that the political foundation of many of the fictions we live in today was shaped in that time. But at this stage, I'm one of those who think we have to go back even further. We could have lived in a different world if there hadn't been the theories developed in the colonial era, if the concepts that served rulers were not presented to humanity under the guise of being scientific, and if the consent was not produced at this stage. For example, let's look at the process of transformation of labor and trade unionism since the colonial era. Of course, there have been times when unions fought against this understanding with strong organizations and tried to show human labor as a whole beyond the cost. However, the system has always narrowed the meaning of work and the value of the worker. Especially in the process of neoliberal policies, work and the worker, that is to say the human being, have been reduced to a statistical detail, a small value in the mathematical equation,” he said.
Pointing out that more than half of the world today faces conflict, Yalçın echoed the statements of Western European journalists and politicians: "War has returned to Europe after 80 years" and said: "Of course, we do not accept this ambivalent attitude. Because this understanding has seen the violence that has deeply affected humanity in different parts of the world and displaced people from their homelands as a strategic device. Today, according to official figures, 280 million people have been left homeless in different parts of the world. Even if people block people's way by building walls, this fact is obvious. Who left these people homeless? Today, for what dirty strategies did the subcontractors of violence obtain the invitation to tender? Yes, we all know that. All of this is the product of the bloody and dirty strategies of the oligarchic gang, which the imperialists legitimized with the so-called legal discourse. But someone trembles today in front of Ukraine. It is truly a shameful moral crisis. War is war and a person is a saint wherever he lives, whatever culture and civilization he belongs to. More importantly, each person is a trust for another. However, the words I have just quoted are also the expression of a fact. What has happened in the eastern part of Europe, which has been built in relative order with the contribution of well-being, is very important in order to see the scale of the crisis and the conflict that it engendered. At least we can say that the concepts we are used to and the systems created are not safe havens.
The Balkan Summit, organized by Memur-Sen, entitled "The Future of Trade Unionism in the Shadow of Crisis" was divided into sessions organized under the following themes: "Economic, political crises and the future of trade unions", “Demographic movements and the world of work”, “International institutions for solutions to crises”.
At the Balkan Summit, attended by high-level representatives of trade union organizations from the Balkan region; Many questions concerning the trade union field, both nationally and internationally, were discussed and solutions were proposed. The first session of the workshop, which was held under the theme "Economic and political crises and the future of trade unions", was attended by the Albanian President of the BSPSH, Gezim Kalaja, the President of the SSSBİH of Bosnia and Herzegovina , Selvedin Satorovic, Prof. Dr. Erdinç Yazıcı from the AHBV University, Ramazan Işık, Private Secretary of Memur-Sen. As part of the session, presentations and speeches were made on the effect and results of the economy on trade union activities.
In the second session, which was held with the theme of "Demographic Movements and the World of Labor" and where the activities of labor organizations in the international context were discussed, Romanian CGM President Dragos Vasile Frumosu, AHBV University Faculty Member Dr. Kürşat Tutar, North Macedonia UNASM Vice President Divna Zmejkovska and Slovenian SGS President Nezka Bozovicar made their presentations.
In the last session titled “Can International Institutions Offer Solutions Against Crises?” Kosovo BSPK President Atdhe Hykolli, Slovenian KNSS President Evelin Vesenjak, Romanian MERIDIAN Secretary General Dumitru Fornea and Slovenian ZRSS President Tomaz Boltin delivered their speeches. While the common problems experienced by labor organizations were evaluated within the scope of the session, the steps to be taken to solve the problems were discussed.
The Balkan Summit, organized by Memur-Sen in İstanbul ended with the following final declaration:
Together with the world, the global trade union movement faces chaos and uncertainty in the new period that began with the problems caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, one of the greatest crises in human history and the Russian-Ukrainian War.
We, as trade union organizations which met in Istanbul, believe that determined cooperation and solidarity are necessary for the understanding and solution of current and future problems.
We are seriously concerned that the problems faced by the world of work will worsen after the two developments mentioned and become an area of trouble and struggle for the global labor movement in the coming period.
A climate of strong inflationary pressure and inequality in the distribution of income, which has not been seen throughout the world for many years; seriously threatens the fundamental rights, incomes and well-being of workers.
Unfortunately, it is evident that global trade union organizations cannot produce adequate solutions to improve workers' rights at regional and global levels.
In order to ensure global justice, a common attitude and approach must be displayed regarding the regional migration movements that we experience in our geography and the problems they cause.
At a time when global inequalities are deepening, we need to solve regional problems and move the solution processes to the global level so that work achieves the value it deserves.
We seek a new era in which corporate union rights are valid on the basis of the labor market by guaranteeing social peace and tranquility for a fairer working life.
We, the trade unions of the Balkans, gathered in Istanbul, believe that we must work together on alternative paths of cooperation and solidarity by joining forces to talk about the above problems and find new solutions.
We have decided to contribute to the solution of labor issues in our region by strengthening ourselves with new participations and expanding Istanbul Labor Solidarity effectively and efficiently in the coming period.
The above concluding statement, which was created by consensus of all confederations participating in the summit, was shared with the public.