2nd Pan-African Trade Union Meeting of WFTU Affiliates and Friends
February 4-6, 2013, Khartoum Sudan
Speech by WFTU General Secretary George Mavrikos
Along with the members and friends of the WFTU in Africa we can build a powerful trade union movement which will fulfill the contemporary needs and will struggle for the rights of the African workers, against the multinationals and the monopolies, against the exploitation of human by human. For a social system with social justice and labour power.
The leadership of the WFTU over the last five years has prioritizes and paid special attention to the African Continent. It visited many countries and discussed the needs of the trade unions in their countries, it organized dozens of seminars and trade union training for African trade unionists, it supported the African trade unionists to participate in international fora, in ILO, UNESCO and FAO activities. It welcomed in the WFTU Central Offices in Athens many delegations from African Countries. It organized in the European Parliament important conferences with subjects relating to Africa and its working class. IT organized many meetings with ACFTU of China.
The denouncing of the imperialist interventions, of the plots of the monopoly groups and the defending of our brothers who are hurt in other countries is a basic principle of the class-oriented trade union movement. The slogan: “no more blood for the profit of the multinationals!” must be a common slogan for all the members and friends of the WFTU in Africa.
5) On the occasion of the imperialist intervention against Mali we want to warn the people of the region that the imperialists are preparing their next murderous plots. The Nigeria, the Niger, Algeria, Chad, Burkina Faso and other rich countries have opened the appetite of the capitalists. The inter-imperialist competition for the new spheres of influence, for the new boarders, for the control of the roads of energy confirm that the struggle against the imperialist interventions cannot be isolated from the struggle against the exploitation and the anti-capitalist struggle.
Africa is a rich continent in wealth-producing resources. 85% of the African oil production comes from Nigeria, Libya, Algeria, Egypt and Angola. In Africa there are: Uranium, natural gas, diamonds, gold, ivory, oil, cobalt, iron, coal, platinum, agricultural production etc.
In comparison to the world production, the African production of Cobalt reaches 57% (DRC, Zambia, Morocco), 53% of diamonds (Botswana, DRC, South Africa, Angola, Namibia), 39% of Manganese (South Africa, Gabon, Ghana), 31% of Phosphate (Morocco, Tunisia, Egypt, South Africa, Senegal), 21% of Gold (South Africa, Ghana, Mali, Tanzania), 9% bauxite (Guinea, Sierra Leone, Ghana), 7,5% nickel (South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe), 5% copper (Zambia, DRC, South Africa) according to the data of 2005. The oil production reaches 12,5% and of gas 6,5% with very low percentages of consumption at the same time (3,5% and 2,8% respectively) according to the data of 2007-2008.
The uranium has an enhanced importance in the global market while the increase of the exploitation of the uranium in Chad and Sudan as well as plans for its exploitation in the Central African Republic and Namibia are on their way. 18% of the global recourse of uranium are in Africa and in particular in Niger, Namibia and South Africa while the consumption is at 0.5%.
The most acute problems:
In the Sub-Saharan Africa 69.2% of the populations survives with under $2 per day. The life expectancy is at 54 years of life. In Angola, in Congo, in Lesotho, in Chad it reaches the 47 years. 49 years is the life expectancy in Nigeria, Mozambique, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Swaziland, Mali.
At the same time, we witness a huge price hike in the commodities and a multiply of the prices of the metals for four to five times up. From 2001 to 2007 maize has risen 82,7%, fishmeal 141,9%, palm oil 173,1%, round timber 408,1%, cotton 31,9%, coffee robusta 214,5% and cocoa 82,6%. While the data of 2010 show that the price hike has broken every record of the last 30 years in wheat, oil derivatives, vegetables and legumes.
While the prices rise huge profits are being announced by monopolies in the food industry such as Nestle, Cargill, Kraft, General Mills, Pepsico, Coca-Cola Company etc. The dramatic truth that with the agricultural productive abilities and the current climate conditions, if there where no monopolies and cartels controlling the food industry to keep the prices high, the agricultural production would be sufficient enough to cover the needs of a double population of earth.
The problems in habitation are burning for the people of Africa. A large part of the population leaves in slums and huts. The struggle for cheap and safe housing must be in the top demands of the trade unions. The delay in the electrification and the problems in the reliable infrastructure of electric power are important issues that don’t have to do with natural deficiencies of Africa but with political choices.
Moreover, the policy of the multinationals and the cartels in the production of pharmaceuticals is murderous as they create patents and limit the production of medicines to keep the prices high. Diseases that could have been extinct or controlled continue to kill and afflict millions of inhabitants of Africa. The percentages strike a record in Swaziland (26%), Botswana (23,4%), Lesotho (23,3%), South Africa (17,3%). It is tragic to note that from Africa comes the 90% of deaths and the 80% of children victims of malaria.
We cannot refer to a trade union movement in Africa if this does not include a consistent resistance against the policies of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank and the World Trade Organization. These mechanisms are the ones who forced the African countries into the complete privatization of their resources, they facilitated the international capital to loot the African people and then they left the African countries in dept.
The WFTU struggles for substantial trade union liberties and democratic rights everywhere. For the respect of the right of each worker for participate and struggle for his rights. We will continue our efforts for the respect of the trade unionism for all. The WFTU is clear and continues to act demanding the right for complete cancellation of the depts of the African countries.
For the vital issues of food, water, medicine, books and housing against the plundering of the wealth-producing resources by the multinationals, the WFTU organized on the 3rd of October an international action day with the participation of dozens of countries. We propose the escalation of these demands with the organizing of a new international day of action in 2013.
The discussion which will take place here will make our action plan for 2013 more rich and more complete. Give us your proposals and feel free to send in the central offices and the regional offices all your thoughts, your remarks, your criticism.
WE WILL JOINTLY MOVE FORWARD IN UNITY
ALL THE WORKERS IN AFRICA UNITED UNDER THE BANNERS AND THE OBJECTIVES OF THE WFTU