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What they said...

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What they said....

"Trade union unity is something for which we have for long struggled and worked in India and globally. That doesn’t mean coaxing workers against their will to be a part of a single organisation, but it does mean that trade unions which share the same values and principles have to work together in defending and promoting the rights of their members and confronting employers and governments more closely than ever.

"The only difference today is that our opponents pay no attention to national frontiers. The forces of capital are now truly global, and therefore unions have also to be global. The ITF has the huge advantage that for over a hundred years, that transport – particularly shipping and ports – has long needed coordinated international union solidarity and the ITF has been there to provide it."
Umraomal Purohit, ITF President

"There is reason still, to be optimistic. The voice of workers continues to grow. We are more organised now than we have ever been. Our solidarity both local and international is growing from strength to strength."
Ezrom Mabyana, President of Satawu

"We need to find common demands around the rules for international trade and finance that will provide space for the economies of the South to develop. At the same time, we must ensure that the costs of adjustment in the North are not borne by workers and the poor."
Zwelinzima Vavi, General Secretary of Cosatu

"On the day this Congress closes, it will be 50 years since the women of South Africa stood up with one voice to say "No" to apartheid.

"On August 9, 1956, 20,000 women marched on the apartheid government in Pretoria. They sang and chanted the now famous words: ‘You have struck the women, you have struck a rock, you will be crushed.’

"The 50th anniversary of the women’s march to Pretoria reminds us that women have taken their place not only in the trade unions, but in the liberation movements of the world. We must celebrate that. But we must also recognise that women continue to be faced with many challenges…

"I want to call on the ITF affiliates to enhance the position of women in the ITF at all levels, including in the regional and section structures. We must even look to the future of a woman president or general secretary at the next Congress in 2010."
Kate Matlou, chairperson of Satawu’s Limpopo region

"A distinguished president and a great leader of railway workers in his country. In the ICFTU we all know him to as a historic leader of our affiliate the HMS. In any case we all know him as a dedicated internationalist."
Guy Ryder on Umraomal Purohit, one of several tributes paid during the opening session to the ITF’s outgoing president, who will be standing down at the end of the Durban Congress.

Our hopes for Congress…

"I am enjoying the fact that I am in South Africa, and meeting some of the friends and colleagues that I’ve worked with over the last 25 years."
Francis Mungroo, former President General, Seafarers and Waterfront Union, Trindidad and Tobago

"This is my first time and I think it’s an amazing opportunity to really build the international solidarity bridges. Capital is globalising. The trade union movement needs to be doing the same thing. We’ve got a very hostile Conservative government at the moment. Any sort of international capacity we can build is absolutely essential for us, and we hope to be able to offer assistance to other trade unions in countries that have it worse than us."
Jamie Newlyn (above), branch secretary for South Australia, Maritime Union of Australia

"I am hoping to be able to renew old contacts, make new ones, and I hope we will decide on a new work programme that will advance us as trade unions into a better position to fight for our rights all over the world."
Erika Young, international officer, FILT-CGIL, Italy

"Globalisation is very serious for transport workers. I hope congress will be a big success."
Chuichi Adachi, Kotsu-Roren, Japan

"I am a female representative of my branch. I am so happy that I am here for the first time at an ITF Congress. And it’s not going to be my last. I will continue coming here every four years."
Edidlong Mboazor (left), Maritime Workers’ Union, Nigeria

"Trade Unions should not focus on all activities. They should mainly focus on salaries, working conditions and safety conditions. When unions try to work on everything, they can do nothing. This my opinion, which I would like to discuss during the Congress."
Savelijs Semjonovs, Chairman, Latvian Rail and Transport Industry Trade Union.

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Copyright © 2020 ITF
ITF House, 49-60 Borough Road, London SE1 1DR  |  +44 20 7403 2733   |  mail@itf.org.uk