Our union, representing the railway workers in our country, was invited to the 10th congress of the Railway Workers Union (CGT Cheminots), which is a member of the International Transport Workers Federation and which operates under the French General Business Confederation (CGT), held in Nancy, France between 13-2020 March 44. . Union delegations from 26 different countries, including BTS, attended the congress, where union delegations from 12 different countries are expected to attend.
The opening speech of the congress, which started on Tuesday, March 10, was made by Laurent Brun, President of the CGT Railway Federation. In his speech, Brun stressed that the Macron government will continue its decisive stance in the last 2 years by reminding them of the strikes they have made over the past two years against the reform bill threatening the gains of the railway workers and the pension reform bill threatening all employees.
At the end of the first day of the congress, an interview on the importance of international solidarity was held with ITF Railway Employees Section President David Gobé and BTS President Hasan Bektaş to be published in the forum section on Thursday. Beginning his speech by thanking CGT and ITF for their kind invitation and hospitality, Bektaş said that the working class has the same problems all over the world; He noted that these problems, which have different dimensions such as privatization, assault on job security, lowering wages, have a global character, so it is necessary to fight together as workers and unionists from different countries. Summarizing the privatization process in TCDD Bektas, he stated that privatization is needed globally and in the reverse results of the initial promises made in Turkey birth. Our union said that BTS attaches great importance to international solidarity since its establishment, and for this purpose it became a member of the ITF in 1994. He stated that BTS carried out studies with ITF at different times, for example, four hundred members participated in the training activities carried out in 1998 with the support of ITF, and such studies played an important role in the development of our members. Stating that BTS has been pressured continuously since its foundation, members have been subjected to intimidation efforts, and the yellow unions have been trying to be carved with gold, Bektaş said that the picture has become more severe in recent years, especially after the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, more than four thousand members of our Confederation He emphasized that he was dismissed, that dozens of our friends were tried, but that despite all this, BTS continued their activities in the current conditions, where union struggle and democracy struggle intertwined. Again, on October 10, 2015, as a result of a live bomb attack against the Labor, Peace and Democracy meeting, 14 comrades of our union members were martyred and dozens of friends were injured, some of them were seriously injured. Expressing his belief that the struggle against international solidarity will continue, Bektaş ended his words by saying “Long Live the International Union of the Working Class”.
On the second day of the congress, an international meeting was held. Along with France, representatives from 13 countries took the floor in this meeting, which was held to exchange ideas about the problems of railway workers in different countries of the world and what can be done against these problems. As the speeches progressed, it attracted the attention of all participants that the processes and problems in different countries were surprisingly similar.
Privatization was among the leading issues. In the speeches, privatization processes and their painful consequences were discussed in different countries within the scope of neo-liberal policies implemented in the 1980s. RMT Union President Michelle Rodgers summarized the picture that privatization revealed in the UK. Rodgers stated that as a result of the privatization process that started in 1992, today, 24 companies run railroad transportation in England, where train companies turn to a clump of problems, the public pays 5 billion pounds to private companies each year, but the quality of service decreases and prices increase. Stating that firms do not think of anything other than profit, Rodgers stated that firms that have gone bankrupt or whose contracts have expired, and that this creates additional costs, showed an example of a firm that made a profit before the transfer, but declared hundreds of millions of losses in the year it will be transferred. After the privatization, avoiding the necessary infrastructure and maintenance expenditures was one of the highlights. "As a machinist I can say that private companies do not even perform the necessary maintenance on the system and equipment," said Etienne Libert, Vice President of the Belgium FGTB Union. he spoke. Referring to another dimension of privatization, Spanish CCOO Union Secretary General Rafael Garcia Martinez said, “Private companies do not care about job security. Also Train Traffic In A Chaotic State. ” said. Another advantage is the competitive advantage lost against the highway due to increased costs as a result of privatization. Representing the French union, the freight transport in France due to the increased costs due to privatization, the railroad had a 30% market loss across the highway, and this had negative repercussions on the environment, calling it the hypocrisy of the government calling for environmental sensitivity.
The speech of Moussa Keita, Secretary General of the CSTM Union, who attended the meeting as a financial representative, showed how tragic results privatization can have. Keita stated that as a result of the privatization implemented by the World Bank in 2003, the line, which has been operating between Dakar and Bamako for more than 100 years and is the lifeblood of the Senegal and Mali peoples, has come to a halt. He explained that this line, which used to operate trains every day and connects villages along the ocean to the ocean, was operated entirely for profit-oriented by American and Canadian companies after privatization. Stating that the frequency of trains decreased firstly and then these companies, which did not find the line profitable enough, fled, Keita stated that the trips stopped under the pretext of renewing the line, but they did not receive the renewal work, they did not receive a 9 month salary last year and they organized a hunger strike to protest this situation.
As an example of a successful fight against the privatization attack, the process in New Zealand came to the fore. John Kerr, a RMTU union, stated that they managed to nationalize the railways that were privatized in New Zealand in 1993 as a result of the campaign that they launched in 2003 and they managed to provide public support especially by emphasizing environmental awareness. Stating that they received great help from the ITF in this process, Kerr said that international solidarity plays a key role in such struggles.
Attacks and subcontracting for occupational safety were other issues that were mentioned most at the international meeting. Etienne Libert, from the Belgian FGTB union, stated that since 2012, permanent positions have been under attack in her country, and 5.000 employees have been emptied and replaced by contract workers. The common emphasis was the reduction of permanent positions in the state-owned railway companies by not retiring the retirees and transferring some jobs to subcontractors. Rafael Garcia Martinez of the CCOO union in Spain said that the number of permanent employees, which was 1983 in 50.000 when he started work, is now 27.000. RMT chief Michelle Rodgers stated that one of the worst examples of subcontracting and precarity was seen in the UK with the implementation of the Zero Hour Agreement. He said that there are only 4 hours of staff working a month because of this application, which is a modern version of slavery, where the hours and wages are not written in the employment contract, the employer can call the employee whenever and whenever he wants.
Speaking at a meeting of the International General President Hasan Bektas process and outline the problems cited by stating that Turkey also took place, he said action may be made to reflect on the practice of international solidarity. He proposed simultaneous action or press release on different days against privatization processes in different countries.
On the 3rd day of the congress, General Secretary of CGT Confederation, Philippe Martinez made a speech. Then, the forum section was started, where the member who spoke made a speech. In the following international forum, representatives of New Zealand, Spain, Morocco, Cuba and Austria took the stage and held an open session before the congress delegates about the problems experienced by the railway workers in their countries. At the end of this episode, an interview with our President Hasan Bektaş on Tuesday was published in a voice over in French. After this speech, which received great applause from the delegates in the hall, many delegates came to us and expressed their feelings. Media Turkey because they saw one man from nothing in our country, the labor, peace, and they are not aware of the struggle for democracy, listening to this conversation and struggling people to remember that there are in Turkey, it is a nice feeling, he said.
Friday, March 12, was the farewell day for foreign delegations, including the BTS delegation. It was the common belief of the foreign delegations that this meeting, which was held with the invitation and organization of the CGT Railway Employees Union, was very important to remember the importance of international solidarity and exchange of ideas. Also in this process, the hospitality and organizational skills of CGT were appreciated by all union representatives, including BTS.