Tens of thousands of people rally in the streets as the World Social Forum opens in Tunis. “Another world is possible” confirm the demonstrators, demanding social justice instead of neo-liberal policies.
IndustriALL’s General Secretary Jyrki Raina and Assistant General Secretary Fernando Lopes marched with over 30,000 participants from around the world through Avenue Mohammed V in central Tunis as the World Social Forum (WSF) opened on 26 March. IndustriALL affiliates from South Africa, Brazil, Colombia, Canada, Germany, Italy, France, Belgium and other countries attended the colourful rally.
Seminars on a wide range of issues will be organized at the WSF on 26-30 March, ranging from the fight against neo-liberal and austerity policies, to supporting gender equality, democratic development and human rights in North Africa and the Middle East.
In a session on the financial transaction tax (FTT), unions and non-governmental organizations agreed on continued campaigning for the FTT, tax justice and abolition of tax and regulatory havens. The campaign received a boost in January, as eleven member states of the European union decided to go ahead with FTT. These countries account for two thirds of the EU’s gross domestic product.
Already 40 countries from Brazil to Pakistan apply some form of financial transaction tax. This counters the argument that an FTT is impossible without full global coverage. As Global Unions emphasize, the FTT would go a long way towards curbing short-term speculative trading and financing job-intensive recovery programs, social protection and development of climate change action.
Earlier, IndustriALL leadership met with the government, the UGTT confederation and its sectoral unions in the metal, textile and petrochemical industries to reconfirm its support for the democratic development process in Tunisia.
IndustriALL’s strategies and action to support free and independent unions in the Middle East and North Africa will be debated at a regional conference on 4-5 April in Beirut.