Tuesday, July 25, 2017

COSATU Statement on BRICS Trade Unions Forum meeting in China, 24th - 27th July, 2017
COSATU will be participating in next week's BRICS Trade Unions Forum meeting in Beijing, through our delegation led by the General Secretary, Cde Bheki Ntshalintshali. This meeting will be coupled with that of the Employment and Labour Ministers in Chongqing same week, which shall also be then joined by both Labour and Business. These engagements are very critical to the progress required for BRICS to be on a different level in the context of the global crisis and the situations facing workers in our various countries.

The 9th BRICS Heads of states Summit shall be held in Xiamen, Fujian Province in September under the theme - "BRICS: Stronger Partnership for a Brighter Future", with four themed areas of focus set out by the Chinese Presidency.

BRICS comprises of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa and these five major emerging economies comprise of about 43% of the world population, 37% of the world GDP and 17% of world trade.

The BRICS trade Union Forum started out of discussions between the major trade unions of the associated countries under BRICS, culminating to the first meeting taking place in Geneva in 2012 June, followed by Moscow in 2012 December and Durban in 2013, which then followed the process till last year in India, New Delhi, after Fortaleza, Brazil and Ufa, Russia in previous years.

In its fourth Declaration, the (Russia) UFA Declaration of 2015, the BRICS Trade Union Forum, said, "Rapidly progressing neoliberal globalisation leads to the destruction of jobs and of the Earth's ecosystem. In 2014, one percent of the planet's population owned 48% of the entire world's wealth; by 2016, this "golden one percent" will own more than half thereof. A huge number of workers have no job security and are facing the highest levels of inequality within the memory of living generations. Over the past two years, half of all working families have experienced either unemployment or underemployment, and 1.2 billion people live in abject poverty. According to an ILO Report, in 2014 there were 207 million unemployed with a forecast of reaching 220 million. This economic model further deepens inequality, weakens democracy and undermine justice for all".

In all our declarations, as BRICS trade unions, we have insistently placed job creation through industrialisation and building the manufacturing base, prioritisation of food security through agriculture and the accessibility of IT for all countries and people, to enhance sustainable development and social progress.

In this regard, the on-coming meeting in China, will be expected to take forward those critical deliverables building on the previous declarations and issues tabled before both meetings of the Employment and Labour Ministers, as well as the Heads of States of BRICS countries themselves.

COSATU has outlined in various of these forums, its main areas of focus:

Increased co-operation between BRICS trade unions and countries to advance our collective interests in a world dominated by narrow interests of a few;
Promotion of job creation, industrialisation and economic growth and development for our countries
Decent work, workers rights and more organisation and unity of workers to bargain effectively and improve their working and living conditions in each of our countries;

Deepening and advancing the interests of poor and developing countries, particularly, Africa and the global south, in this era of heightened imperialist globalisation, particularly in the areas of policy and research development, trade and food security

Finally, COSATU is looking forward to working with our sister unions in South Africa to host and welcome the next BRICS trade Union Forum meeting in 2018 in our country, and also work to intensify our common work and cooperation to advance the set out goals and objectives of our united purpose.

Bongani Masuku (International Relations Secretary)
Congress of South African Trade Unions
COSATU HOUSE | 110 Cnr Jorissen & Simmonds Str | Braamfontein | 2017

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