La cgt
Publié le vendredi 10 novembre 2006

Statement by Bernard THIBAULT, CGT General Secretary, at the founding Congress of the International Trade Union Confederation, Vienna, 1st November 2006

Colleagues and friends,

By formally stating our support for the principles and values of the International Trade Union Confederation, we all commit ourselves to turning over a new leaf after the division of the international trade union movement. We commit ourselves to overcoming past cleavages and to building, together, a united and pluralist organisation.

This is a precondition for success, so that workers finally become aware of their strength against the type of globalisation that allows financial profit to prevail over the wellbeing of women and men, who fall victims of competition.

Priority goes to the new pages of trade union action that we shall be writing together.

To this end, our common working methods must follow the example of those that prevailed during preparations for this congress.
In this respect, I want to express our gratitude to Guy Ryder, Willy Thys and Emilio Gabaglio, as architects of the process of unity.

We must work with a spirit of openness, mutual respect and understanding for different trade union practices and histories. Not so as to nurture them, but to go beyond them and build something new.

What is historical today for working people worldwide is that trade unionists who yesterday were scattered are today affirming their determination to work and fight together towards joint objectives.

We will be judged, above all, on our deeds. We have passed the first stage, namely creating a new international organisation. We now enter the stage of building a new trade union internationalism to change the global balance of power.

The first initiatives to be taken by the ITUC will need to be to establish its credibility with unions that have not yet taken a decision or hesitate.
Our new way of living and struggling together should contribute to dispelling remaining reticence and to proving wrong those who wish our failure because they fear our success.

In order to “radically transform globalisation”, as indicated in our documents, we will need everyone’s contribution and goodwill.
Rather than dividing us, the acceptance of our differences within the organisation should be seen as stimulation. If we give ourselves the means to tackle the world as it is, and in particular the specific needs of the poorest countries, we will create the necessary conditions for unity around demands common to workers both in the North and the South.
Everyone should feel comfortable in the organisation ; everyone should be listened to and respected, as long as the goal is to promote shared union values and principles.

Solidarity between workers of all lands, and solidarity between their unions, are at the heart of our trade union confederation. We are very pleased about that.

Through the implementation of solidarity in our actions and demands, the workers’ voice will be heard within international bodies and in companies, especially multinational companies.
It is through active solidarity between all workers – regardless of colour, creed and origins – that the trade union movement will be able to combat racist or xenophobic forces that spread hatred to nurture the established order.

Hence, it is with clarity and confidence that the French CGT has involved itself in the founding of the International Trade Union Confederation, and is committed to its development and the success of its initiatives.