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Declaration of the IVth Trade Union Forum of BRICS countries
09.07.2015  

Ufa Declaration

of the IVth Trade Union Forum of BRICS countries

Adopted on July 9, 2015 in Ufa, Russian Federation

1. We, trade union centres of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, uniting hundreds of millions of workers, are convinced that it is of paramount importance for developed economies to implement responsible macroeconomic and financial policies and to undertake structural reforms that create decent jobs and sources of income for the working people of the world.

2. Rapidly progressing neoliberal globalization leads to the destruction of jobs and of the Earth's ecosystem. In 2014, one percent of the planet's population owned 48 percent of the entire world's wealth; by 2016, this “golden One percent” will own more than half thereof. A huge number of workers have no job security and are facing the highest level of inequality within the memory of living generations. Over the past two years, half of all working families have experienced either unemployment or underemployment, and 1.2 billion people live in abject poverty. According to an ILO report, in 2014 there were 207 million unemployed with a forecast of reaching 220 million. This economic model further deepens inequality, weakens democracy and undermines justice for all.

3. We cannot accept that austerity measures, which have failed in Europe and in the United States, are “a way out of the crisis”. Revenues should be used to increase investment in real productive sector, infrastructure projects, health, education, science and technology, research and development, vocational training and skills upgrading: investments should be used to create decent jobs and higher wages. Long-standing, chronic and deepening inequalities are by no means the result of natural laws of economics. They are a production of the policies applied, and they can be overcome if these policies are changed in the interests of the overwhelming majority of citizens.

4. Fundamental rights of trade union representation and collective bargaining are under threat in some states, and subject to direct attacks in others. In a number of countries employers are trying to undermine the right to strike, thus putting in jeopardy this fundamental workers’ achievement that is recognized by the ILO.

5. Trade unions are an effective force in defending democracy and in the fight for justice and ecologically sustainable future. Trade unions of BRICS countries are ready to take their rightful place in this fight and, first and foremost, in the field of decent jobs creation, occupational safety and health, protection of workers’ interests – including those of women and youth – in order to achieve social justice and sustainable development.

6. Strengthening of BRICS plays a key role in promoting democratic international relations without violation of sovereignty and the right of peoples to self-determination, in improving a multipolar world political architecture without dictate and discriminatory economic sanctions. Workers of our countries see in BRICS a more equitable model of global relations, which should be built beyond and above traditional East-West and North-South watersheds.

7. BRICS is an emerging structure of the new global management. Its flexible mandate allows the most dynamic economies of the world to consider a much broader range of issues than, for example, in the UN Security Council, and to find answers to many economic and environmental challenges. Decisions adopted by BRICS have a multiplier effect because the key States which have joined it are in a position to translate solutions from BRICS into deliberations of other leading international agencies.

8. BRICS countries are brought closer together by their consistent joint efforts in favour of reforming the international monetary and financial system. All BRICS countries are interested in economic growth underpinned by the development of modern technology and human capacity building. This can become a real and common driver of future growth that is supported by the active participation of millions of workers, who are interested in a fair distribution of income and wealth.

9. Civil society structures – and trade unions as their broadest representatives – are to exert a constructive pressure upon leaders of their States, public authorities and employers in order to encourage them to establish effective mechanisms for a more stable economic and financial world order. We are all interested in an accelerated modernization of our economies and of our societies at large.

10. When we speak of a free and prosperous State, we imply complex concepts that closely intertwine economic, political and social components. The same approach can be applied to the group of countries whose individual historical peculiarities brought them all to the sovereign decision to join BRICS, one of the largest economic and geo-political entities that modern history has ever known.

11. Sustainable development, social justice and human rights provide BRICS Member States – and other countries which could join them at a later stage – with a solid foundation for a systemic advancement on the path of progress for all citizens of that association and of mankind as a whole.

12. For the formation of sovereign independence from the bankrupt Bretton Woods system, the BRICS countries can fully exploit reserves of the New Development Bank and the Contingency Reserve Arrangement, whose overall capacity (200 billion dollars) is equal to that of the IMF. Trade unions do support these efforts and recommend that BRICS Governments establish their own Rating agency and a Stock exchange. This would create efficient leverage to influence world economy.

13. We expect that BRICS Governments will pursue more vigorously the reforming of the IMF and of the World Bank. The time has come to establish real control over large-sized MNCs operating on our territories and to subordinate their activities to development objectives. Trade unions have a role to play in this process. For this aim, we have a tripartite ILO Declaration of principles concerning MNCs and social policy.

14. The past year 2014 has seen further development of the Third industrial revolution. Rapid technological changes currently make it possible to reach new levels in automation, robotics, nanotechnology, new materials, energy consumption standards and organization of production processes. It is certain, therefore, that this will boost production changes, concentration and centralization of capital, competition in the sphere of monopolies and oligopolies, inevitably affecting employment and workers´ incomes everywhere.

15. Against this backdrop, we witness active development of flexible forms of employment and production organization, fundamentally new forms of interstate partnerships. It is important therefore that the BRICS countries "take a head start" in this process and focus the efforts of the peoples and States on technological breakthroughs, on issues of creation and transformation in the interests of all strata of society in our countries.

16. The Third industrial revolution should be matched by adequate socio-economic relations. That is why trade union centres of BRICS countries, grouped in the Trade Union Forum, strongly advocate for their appropriate place within BRICS structures, on an equal footing with employers' organizations. The model of interaction in the social triangle “trade unions/business community/government structure” that has long proved its effectiveness at the national level in each BRICS country, must find its logical extension  into BRICS institutions as well. For nearly 100 years, such an "integrated model" has been working effectively on a global scale within the ILO – a leading organization of the UN system: this model is called tripartism. Any political and economic decisions of States and of their associations have direct implications for the world of work, and its legal representatives should participate in preparation and prior discussion of such decisions. The ILO insists on this approach through its Decent Work paradigm, based on a set of labour standards and supervisory mechanisms: the workers' representatives of BRICS countries do insist on that.

17. The IVth BRICS Trade Union Forum is taking place in the Russian Federation in the year of the 70th anniversary of victory over fascism and the end of the Second World War. The time elapsed since those events will not erase from our memory the grief and pain suffered by the peoples subjected to military aggression. We call on the Governments of BRICS countries to do their utmost to reduce political tension in the world, to ensure global security and stability, cessation of hostilities wherever they occur, to contribute to an active and unconditional application of the rules of international law for the settlement of regional and local conflicts.

18. We are all at the strategic crossroads of civilization, and we must be worthy of the historical responsibility which is bestowed upon us.

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