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Congress resolutions on peace in Colombia and against the coup in Brazil

20 October, 2016IndustriALL Global Union’s 2nd World Congress approved resolutions to support peace in Colombia and oppose the coup in Brazil.

The first resolution regretted the negative result of the plebiscite on the Colombian government-FARC peace process, which had sought to end the armed conflict that has caused so much bloodshed in the country and the trade union movement.

Congress called on the Colombian government and FARC leaders to continue their efforts to negotiate peace in the country and to guarantee respect for individual and collective freedoms.

“We are calling for a responsible solution to obtain peace. Millions of people have been displaced and hundreds of people, including trade unionists, have been killed. Now is the time to extend solidarity. I call on you to support this resolution,” said Pablo Santos of the energy workers’ union SINTRAELECOL, affiliated to IndustriALL in Colombia, and the resolution was approved minutes later.

The President of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, recently announced that he will extend the bilateral ceasefire with the FARC guerrillas until 31 December with a view to negotiating a new agreement in the coming months.

The second condemned the coup and brutal attacks on the rights of the working class in Brazil.

Lucineide Varjão, president of the national chemical workers federation (CNQ/CUT), affiliated to IndustriALL in Brazil, spoke in support of the second resolution. Varjão said that the government that came to power in a coup in Brazil is implementing the agenda of the elites, including the elimination of social rights and benefits.

“The de facto government is reversing all we have achieved in the last 12 years. It has no respect for democracy, women or youth. We must defend our rights. We need your support,” she told delegates.

The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies recently approved a proposal for a constitutional amendment that is President Michel Temer’s top priority. Unions have fiercely criticized the proposal because it freezes spending on health, education, housing and social welfare for twenty years. Another three votes are required before the proposal becomes law.

Delegates to congress condemned these attacks on the historical gains of the working class in Brazil, such as the eight-hour day, retirement age and decent work.

They decided to intensify joint action by affiliates to reaffirm the principle of the unity of the workers of the world. The main Brazilian trade union centres have agreed to hold a one-day national strike on 11 November.

Finally, they agreed to join the ITUC "Stand With Lula" campaign launched on 20 September to defend the former president from the abusive way in which he is being treated in Brazil.

Valter Sanches, IndustriaALL general secretary, said that the success of the peace process in Colombia and defeat of the Brazilian government’s anti-social measures will have implications for the entire region, and these two struggles therefore had IndustriALL’s unconditional support.