Monday, April 27, 2020

May Day 2020 amidst Coronavirus pandemic — Statement by the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU), on the occasion of May Day 2020, salutes the workers in all continents; all those whose work continues to move the gears of life even in difficult conditions such as the Coronavirus Pandemic and keeps producing all the necessary goods so that life may continue and the needs of workers and popular strata can be met.

We honor the millions of employees in public healthcare systems around the world: doctors, nurses, all healthcare workers, who amidst the Coronavirus pandemic struggle every day to save the patients from the pandemic without even having the necessary protective and medical equipment, risking their own health and lives. 

They are at the frontline of struggle, with courage and self-denial, lifting the burden of care and treatment in a middle of a pandemic that already counts millions of cases and hundreds of thousands of deaths, in a public healthcare system deteriorated by underfunding and discredited by the policies of all capitalist governments, which consciously undermine the public healthcare system and privatize its neuralgic activities to enhance the speculative profitability of multinationals.

The workers and the popular strata, we unite our voices with those of the militant healthcare workers, we stand in solidarity with their struggle and we demand immediate coverage of the vacancies, adequacy of public health infrastructure and materials to serve the permanent and temporary needs of the people; Requisition of the private sector and abolition of the commercialization and privatization of Health and Welfare. Free public universal and high-quality health services. Workers’ health over profit!

We salute the workers in production and distribution of food and basic necessities, in supermarkets, in pharmaceutical sector, in cleaning services, in energy sector and other services, who through their work ensure the access of workers and peoples to everything necessary for their survival.

At the same time, on the occasion of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic, we denounce the huge attack on workers’ labor rights through layoffs, lack of payment, undeclared work and the restriction of trade union freedoms.

The long-term unemployed, the uninsured workers, immigrants, refugees, those who suffer from other diseases, are literally left at their fate, without being able to earn a living or ensure the necessary monitoring of their health, which can cause its deterioration.

Complaints are expressed from all over the world from employees in companies that do not produce basic necessities, but continue to work with their employees squeezed into production lines and offices, without any compliance with the necessary protection measures, so that multinationals can increase their profitability; As a result, the pandemic spreads rapidly, as was the case in northern Italy, in the US, Turkey, and elsewhere.

Facing all these issues, we stay strong and active, we put forward our militant demands, the workers’ demands for public and free healthcare for all, for jobs with decent wages, the right to full employment for all the unemployed, the substantial support of those who are unable to work or suffer from the coronavirus or other diseases. Take back all the layoffs and adverse changes that took place during the Pandemic!

At the same time, the antagonisms of capitalist countries and imperialist powers that are stealing the natural and produced wealth of peoples and leading to bloody conflicts and wars continue unabated even in these conditions, in a frantic effort to safeguard their economic interests against the workers’ needs. The US economic sanctions against the peoples of Cuba, Venezuela and Iran, the imperialist interventions against Syria, Palestine, Yemen, the weapon production and trade, the conflicts and antagonisms continue.

The speculation in hygiene and essential materials against coronavirus, the competition to find a vaccine that will bring huge profits to the respective companies in the country that will find it are intensified.

Against capitalist antagonisms and speculation, the workers and peoples raise our solidarity and proletarian internationalism, following the example of Cuba, which has sent specialized doctors to fourteen countries affected by the Pandemic, the example of the workers of Italy who organized a general strike in support of doctors and workers, following the example of workers in all countries who do not remain silent, who counter fight also this crisis with militant slogans in solidarity to all peoples.

The migrant workers in Chicago, who struggled and sacrificed their lives in May 1886 for the establishment of the 8-hour working day, paved the way of the world working class for the continuous claim of its rights.

The international class-oriented labor movement through the lines of WFTU honors the legacy of their struggle and continues under any circumstance, despite the difficulties, to struggle for the coverage of the workers’ modern needs and the abolition of exploitation. For the emancipation of the working class and its liberation from capitalist barbarism.


Brother and sisters workers, employees and unemployed, retirees, immigrants and refugees, young scientists, indigenous people, women and men, in front of the complex difficulties we are faced with, we must once again stand at the forefront of the struggle, combining our ability to fight for the abolition of social exploitation with immediate and urgent requests:

The states and governments should allocate the necessary funds for the support of the Public Healthcare Sector, so that all peoples have access to free, full and decent health coverage.

Prohibition of privatizations in the strategic health sector.

The International Organizations should stop good wishes and descriptions and live up to their founding principles.

Safe and free vaccine for all.

Prohibition of dismissals.

Respect of all salary, insurance and employment rights of the employees.

Defending democratic and trade union freedoms.

Defending the right to strike.

Strengthening of the internationalism and solidarity between workers and peoples.

Stop speculation and high prices.

Repel racist and neo-fascist phenomena.

Dear Colleagues,

Honoring the 75 years of WFTU, let us strengthen our class struggles, putting into practice our slogan: “NO ONE SHOULD BE ALONE!” All workers, together, we can struggle for the satisfaction of our modern needs.

The WFTU has been and is at the forefront for 75 years. It is our duty to continue and we will do so.

Long live proletarian internationalism

Long live May Day

The struggle goes on!