11th BRICS Trade Union Forum Takes place under the ACFTU Chaimanship
On July 13, the regular plenary session of the BRICS Trade Union Forum was held under the chairmanship of the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. Owing to the continuing complex epidemiological situation, the meeting was held via videoconference. The Forum was attended by delegations of national trade union centres of all five BRICS countries, as well as representatives of trade unions of Argentina, Cambodia, Egypt, Indonesia, Mexico, Nigeria, Vietnam and Uzbekistan who were invited by the hosts as observers.
In the year of the Chinese presidency, the BRICS Trade Union Forum was held under the motto "Deepening partnership for a better future."
After the opening remarks of the ACFTU leadership and the welcome address by the FNPR President Mr. Mikhail Shmakov made on behalf of foreign participants, the delegates and guests of the Forum were presented with a report by Prof. Chang Jian of Nankai University outlining and substantiating the ideas of Chinese trade unions to overcome the economic downturn caused by the pandemic. The report also elaborated on the "people-centred concept" of human rights to development promoted in the domestic Chinese agenda and its applicability on a global scale.
In the plenary tradition, each delegation presented its national report with an assessment of the current socio-economic situation in the country and the measures taken by trade unions to support their membership.
In his opening address made on behalf of Mr. Wang Dongming, the ACFTU Chairman, the Federation's Vice-Chairman Mr. Chen Gang assessed the socio-economic situation of workers of the People's Republic of China, outlined plans to protect workers' rights to development in various areas of employment.
Secretary of the Unified Workers' Centre (CUT) Mr. Antonio Lisboa gave a detailed description of the domestic socio-economic and political situation in Brazil on the eve of the presidential elections scheduled for October this year.
In his report, the FNPR President Mr. Mikhail Shmakov touched upon the issues on the agenda of BRICS Labour and Employment Ministers' meeting. A significant part of his address was devoted to the events in Ukraine and their impact on the Russian economy.
The reports of Indian representatives — Mr. Hiranmaya Pandya from the Indian Workers' Union (BMS), Mr. Ramendra Kumar from the All India United Trade Union Centre (AIUTUC), and Mr. Vidya Sagar Giri from the All-India Trade Union Congress (AITUC) were devoted to overcoming economic problems in the world of work caused by the pandemic, as well as the issues of international solidarity.
The speech of Mr. Masale Godfrey Selematsela, President of the Federation of Unions of South Africa (FEDUSA), contained an in-depth analysis of the socio-economic situation in his country and information about the actions of African trade union centres to protect the rights and interests of union members in the current situation.
A concluding speech was made by Mr. Jiang Guangping, the ACFTU Vice-Chairman.
The national reports and speeches provided similar assessments of the current crisis situation caused by the pandemic. They noted increased tension in the labour market; negative or zero economic growth; falling incomes of the working population; difficulties in legislative support of the new forms of employment that have not yet been overcome; problems with retraining and advanced training of workers who have been living under pandemic restrictions for a long time, and other topical issues. The Chinese trade unions actively promoted ideas and proposals to improve the skills of workers in connection with the changing nature of work and the manufacture of new types of products.
The final item on the Forum's agenda was the discussion of the joint Declaration, which, as intended by the ACFTU, should become an annex to the Beijing Declaration of the BRICS Leaders' Summit. Simultaneously with the adoption of the Forum Declaration, amendments to the Regulations of the Trade Union Forum were approved pertaining to the appointment of deputy national trade union coordinators of BRICS, as well as a number of technical issues related to the time-frame of the preparation of Forum materials.
In accordance with the established procedure, the chairmanship of BRICS Trade Union Forum in 2023 will pass to the trade unions of South Africa.