Trade Union Forum

Welcome address by Mikhail Shmakov, President of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Russia to the 11th BRICS Trade Union Forum July 13, 2022

Dear colleagues, dear friends,

I cordially welcome the participants and guests of the 11th BRICS Trade Union Forum!

First of all, let me thank our colleagues from the All-China Federation of Trade Unions for the timely and careful preparation of today's plenary session and the Forum documents.

The Forum's theme "Deepening partnership for a better future" is well chosen and reflects our efforts in recent decade to bring the BRICS countries closer together.

This is for the first time that our Forum is being held in such a tense atmosphere. The consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have not yet been overcome. The virus probably hasn't exhausted its destructive power yet. The protracted financial and economic crisis has weighed heavily on the shoulders of ordinary workers around the world. Prices are rising, primarily for energy and raw materials, the supply chains are breaking up. In the near future, there may be a shortage of food and a threat of famine in some regions of the world.

The accumulated contradictions could be resolved through skillful, rational governance, through negotiations and cooperation. However, the leaders of the world's richest countries have chosen the path of confrontation, sanctions, ultimatums and threats. Their systemic mistakes have led to the destruction of global free trade system, disruption of production and supply chains, and brought humanity to a dangerous brink.

But this was not enough for them: they are making more and more efforts to support the nationalistic Kiev regime financially, with weapons and mercenaries, and are pushing the possibility of a major military conflict dangerously close.

Through its actions, Russia speeds up the construction of a new multipolar world order which we have repeatedly discussed at the BRICS Trade Union Forum meetings. So many things that we've been thinking about, and that we have desired, are now acquiring real shape: the volume of international trade in national currencies is growing, the dollar's position as the dominant reserve currency is weakening, and the financial and economic landscape is changing markedly. The world will not remain as it was yesterday. Big changes are coming for all of us. They are inevitable, continuous, and give us an opportunity to change the world for the better.

This is facilitated by international cooperation with countries that share the principles of respectful and mutually beneficial cooperation. In that regard, China’s initiative to expand BRICS is appropriate and timely, and we support it. As new countries join BRICS, we will face the challenge of attracting their national trade union centres to our Forum. I think that on this path we should strictly adhere to the fundamental principles of our association: mutual respect, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and consensual decision-making. These principles have allowed us to better understand each other, find the right tone, and, I am sure, they will allow us to implement the motto of the Chinese presidency.

I wish all participants in the 11th BRICS Trade Union Forum productive deliberations.


2020-10-30 12:10:00

Report by Ricardo Patah, UGT, President