The Asia-Pacific Regional Meeting of WFTU (World Federation of Trade Unions) was held in Colombo, Sri Lanka on 6th and 7th October 2012. The meeting was attended by representatives of 16 affiliates of WFTU from 7 countries, namely India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Vietnam, Cambodia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka. The theme of the meeting was “Neo-liberal Globalization and Role of Trade Unions”. On behalf of All India Central Council of Trade Unions (AICCTU), Rajiv Dimri, National Secretary attended the meeting and presented the paper on the theme. The meeting began with Inaugural Session, which was attended by the activists of host trade unions, apart from representatives of above mentioned trade unions.
After two days deliberations, the meeting adopted some resolutions and “Colombo Declaration”.
The Resolutions include: full support to the call given by all 11 Central Trade Unions of India for a 2-day National General Strike on 20th and 21st February 2013; grief and outrage over the killing of workers in recent fire accidents in factories in Karachi and Lahore in Pakistan and at Sivakasi in India, and demand for the guilty employers to be brought to the book and strict enforcement of safety and other labour laws in the subcontinent; condemnation of the police firing at Marikana mine, South Africa, demand for the guilty to be brought to books and adequate compensation to the families, and immediate release of all arrested workers, withdrawal of false charges against them of killing these 34 workers; deep concern over blatant violation of trade union rights in Malaysia and union busting by Maybank Bhd, the leading government linked bank in Malaysia, and demand for reinstatement of the two office bearers of National Union of Bank Employees (NUBE) arbitrarily dismissed by Bank for exercising their trade union rights; and solidarity to the ongoing struggle in Sri Lanka on Public Sector Education demanding of the government to honour its commitments to enhance funding for education to at least 6% of GDP and protecting and enhancing free Education.
The Colombo Declaration resolved to unite the working class under WFTU affiliates and friendly organizations in Asia Pacific Region to intensify struggle on a 12-point charter of demands decided by the meeting and observe the following days to strengthen unity amongst working class to achieve the above goals: 8th March as International Women day and against violence on women; 1st May as International Workers’ Day; 12th June as Child Labour Day; 3rd October as International Action Day as decided by WFTU centre; and 18th December as International day to protect the rights of migrant workers.
The meeting also decided to hold workshops and seminars on burning issues of migrant workers of this region, on women’s rights and the role of working women in the Trade Union Movement, and on issues of Garment workers and plantation workers in the region.