Finally, after two years of pandemic, the trade unions of many countries, and with them members of left parties, social movements, along with other citizens, can return to the streets on May Day.
And it is now sorely needed. In times of deep upheavals we need the strong voice of trade unions – with rising energy prices and inflation rates and the new working conditions produced by digital and neoliberal-ecological structural changes – all borne on the shoulders of the working class.
Precisely in this year the struggles against war and violence need to be combined with the struggle for social justice. As we in transform! europe have done in our Peace Manifesto, many trade unions have sharply condemned Russia’s brutal and totally unjustified war of aggression against Ukraine. Tens of thousands have been killed in this war, and more than 5.4 million people have had to flee their homes. As with all wars worldwide, this war means destruction, suffering, and death.
In its 1 May 2022 declaration the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) points to the ca. 60 conflicts throughout the world with millions of victims. Thus, for the ITUC as for many trade unions, peace necessarily occupies a central place in its appeals. It is calling for the immediate end of the War in Ukraine – a war that makes the danger of a Third World War palpable, a war, however, that might lead to a politics that enables a common security, that is, security in the service of all people, a security architecture whose goal it is to leave behind the logic of the Cold War and which rests on the principles of the United Nations. The war in Ukraine also make it clear that the warnings of the peace movement have proven true, that military build-ups and a continuation of the logic of the Cold War, rather than providing security, create the danger of a war.
Only a conception of security that removes the ideological, social, and economic causes of conflicts can lastingly create peace.
This includes bringing to justice those responsible for the instigation of wars and the committing of war crimes – in the Ukraine and elsewhere.
Moreover, the ITUC’s member trade unions are calling for a change of the economic rules that are geared to reward the pursuit of profit, to undervalue the contribution of people – especially of women – at the workplace and within society as a whole, and that enable autocrats to subjugate people and force them to live within the inhuman reality of armed conflicts.
In this spirit we call on everyone to fill the streets and stand up for peace, democracy, and social justice!