Workers’ Organisations and Class Friends from Different Countries Were With Us

UID-DER’s campaign on work accidents (Work Accidents are not Destiny, Stop Workers Dying of Work Accidents) has been finalised with a large meeting. The meeting “Forward to Struggle and Solidarity against Work Accidents!” was held in Petrol-İş (Oil, Chemistry and Tyre Workers’ Union) Hall. Among other aspects of the meeting the event witnessed a meaningful example of international class solidarity. There were many solidarity messages coming from various workers’ organisations in different countries, with which UID-DER has been establishing links and collaborating.

The first message that was read out in the meeting was from the Japanese Railway Workers Union Doro-Chiba. They said in their message that they were sending a heartfelt message and that they had been for a long time in close solidarity with UID-DER against neoliberal offensive. They said: “We deeply appreciate once again your precious support for us by collecting a great number of protest signature amounting 16,000 against nuclear plants. We pledge here to carry out our struggle to stop the dangerous plan of nuclear plant export to your country to materialize our thankfulness to you. Let’s strengthen international working class solidarity and fight together for the establishment of a society, in which workers enjoy a real human life of their own. With greetings of solidarity!”

Alliance for Workers’ Liberty’s message underlined that there are work accidents everywhere in the world from Italy to Bangladesh and that this is a burning problem of workers. At the end of their message they said: “As anti-capitalists, we know that these ‘accidents’ and abuses of safety are not really accidental; they are inevitable consequences of a system that sees human beings as disposable material and will cut any corner, abuse any safety regulation, and take any risk if it means the chance to make greater profit. Against the barbarism of such a system, we counterpose our vision of socialism — a system that puts human need first, and where no worker will face injury or death for the sake of the bosses’ profit. Best wishes and solidarity for a successful conference and campaign.”

Also from Britain a worker of education and a worker from London underground sent their warm solidarity messages to UID-DER in the form of video messages.

There were messages from Iran where trade-union rights and freedoms are banned, workers’ leaders are put in prison, and even hanged. Many workers’ organisations and their coalitions sent their messages expressing their feelings of solidarity. First the message of Iranian Workers Solidarity Network (IWSN) was read out, wherein they said: “We received the great news about UID-DER reaching its target of 100,000 signatures in the ‘Work Accidents are not Destiny, Stop Workers Dying of Work Accidents!’ campaign with heartfelt joy. This is a great achievement in itself. The fact that these signatures were collected mainly in working class neighbourhoods and at factory gates, following face-to-face contact with about half a million people, makes the campaign a significant development in the post-coup history of the Turkish workers’ movement. We wish UID-DER’s campaign, with its bold slogan of ‘no more work accidents, no more deaths’, every success among the broader layers of the working class and other sections of Turkish society (including parliament). Long live the international unity and struggle of the working class!”

The second message was from inside Iran from imprisoned combatant workers’ leaders who are waging struggle for workers’ rights under heavy conditions of repression. Shahrokh Zamani and other captive workers in prison said they wished success “with all their hearts” for the struggle against the exploitation of capital, its brutality and repression, against killing of workers in work accidents. They also said they did not forget UID-DER’s solidarity with Iranian workers and extended their thanks for that. Their message ended in the following words: “It is our greatest wish to see the days when workers of the whole world get united against capitalism. We live with this hope of seeing those days!”

A third message from Iranian organisations was from the Council of Left and Communist Political Parties, Organisations and Committees in Solidarity with Iranian Workers composed of around 20 different organisations. They emphasized the importance of our campaign against work accidents and declared their support for it. They said that the working class formed an international class and its problems and solutions are common and that it is an immediate task to achieve the international unity of the working class.

The messages sent by Iranian migrant workers to our event had a great impact and touched the workers in the hall. The first of these messages was from Germany sent on behalf of Solidarity Committee with Workers Movement in Iran (Solidarität Komitee mit Arbeiter Bewegung in Iran) and it was followed by a video message from Mohamad Ashrafi who is one of the migrant refugee socialist workers. While he extended his condolences to those families of workers who had lost their lives in work accidents he thanked UID-DER for its work. He expressed his firm belief that this capitalist system of exploitation would be overthrown one day. He said “I would see it or not, but this I believe certainly.” His words raised emotions in the hall.

Another message in this vein was from a Turkish migrant worker in Austria who has been working there for 25 years. In his message he pointed out that migrant workers had a significant role in making Austria the seventh richest country of the world. His message ended in the words: “It has to be one of the main tasks of socialists in every country in the world where capitalist relations of production prevails to organise campaigns and activities against work accidents and occupational diseases in a manner to push the limits of tolerance and legality of the bourgeois order. I congratulate UID-DER for its work, which undertakes important tasks in organising such campaigns and send greetings from Austrian working class to the working class of Turkey. Hail to those who create!”

These messages sent from workers’ organisations and class friends from various countries strengthened the internationalist message of the meeting where the international character of the working class, its problems and the way they could be solved were emphatically pointed out. Having listened to these powerful and heartfelt messages, workers in the hall greeted the international class solidarity with the chant “workers of the world, unite!”

25 December 2013