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WHAT ARE

Trade Unions? E.UTKIN

ABC of Social and

Political Knowledge

E. Utkin

WH-\T t\RE TRADE UNIONS?

l!I!!I Progress Publishers· Moscow

Translated from the Russian by Kim Pilarski

F. M. Volkov (Chief Editor), F. Gubsky (Deputy Chief Editor), F. M. Burlatsky, V. V. Krapivin, Yu. N. Popov, V. V. Sobolev, F. N. Yurlov, V. D. Zotov

Editorial Board of the Series Ye.

ABC

COL!HAAbHO-IlOAHTH'IECKHX 3HAHHH

3. YTKHH "ITO TAKOE nPOCOI03hI? Ha auz11uii.c1ee

© Progress Publishers 1988 Printed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics

y 1101000000-600 014(01)-88

72-88

ISBN 5-01-000447-X

CONTENTS

Chapter I

TRADE

U N IO NS: THEIR ORIGIN

AND RO LE IN SOCIETY....................

A Hi story................................................ Revolutionary

Theory

of

the

Pro-

letariat.....................................................

Chapter II

TRADE UNIONS IN THE MODERN

5 5

16

CAPITALIST WO RLD .. . ..... ... .... .... ..... ..

23

Capi talis m Today ....................................

23

Monopolies Go on the Offensive . ... .......

28

The Working People Rebuff Capital.....

A Combata n t Class..................................

Chapter Ill THE TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

IN THE DEVELOPING STATES........

The

Struggle

Against

Neocolonial-

ism........................................................... For a New Economic Order ....... ..... ......

No to Apartheid!.................................... Trade Unions in Countries of Socialist Orientation ............ ....... .... ................ ......

42

46 53 57

68 82 88

CONTENTS

4

Chapter IV UNDER SOCIALIST CONDITIONS.... Trade U ni o n s in

the Socialist Political System . . ...... . . . . . . ...... . . . ................................ Involving Workers in the Management

95

... . ..... ....... ....... . ........... ........

I0 I

A Worker's Upbringing...........................

130

of Production

Perfecting Social Relations . ... .... .... ...... ... . Cooperation between Trade Unions of Socialist Countries....................................

Chapter V

94

THE

INTERNATIONAL

TRADE

UNION MOVEMENT............................

120

135 138

The Peace Struggle..................................

144

Glossary . .... .............. ... . ........ .... .... .... ........ ............ .... .....

151

Chapter I

TRADE U NIONS: THEIR O RIGIN A N D R OL E IN S OCI ETY

A H i sto ry

The origins of the working class can be traced back to feudal society of the 14th and 15th cen­ turies, when the first shoots of the capitalist mode of production appeared on the European conti­ nent. Before the 1 6th century , hired laborers made u p only a small part of the population . H ired labor did not become pre­ dominant u ntil the primary ac­ cumulation of capital took hold at the end of the 15th and beginning of the 16th cen turies, first in England and later in other co u n tries The pr i ma r y ac­ cumulation of capital was made possible by the peasants' forced dispossession of land and the formation of a free labor force for em ployment in developing .

6

WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

capi talist manufactories . A manufactory pro­ letariat was formed from among the delanded peasan try and artisans. However, the man ufac­ tory workers by and large were not yet p roletarians in the exact sense of the word , since they still owned certain instruments of production and were in a more or less patriarchal relation ship with their employers. At this stage of social development "the laborers still form an incoh erent mass scattered over the whole country, and broken up by their m u tual competition . " 1 The appearance of capitalist relations sparked a stru ggle by workers against capi talist exploitation , wh ich in the age of manufactories manifested itself in disjointed protests in the form of spon taneous rebellions and i solated strikes. Trade union s emerged at this time to defend workers i n their struggle for better living and work conditions . T h e fou nding o f trade unions w a s "a tremendous step forward for the working class i n the early days of capitalist development, inasmuch as they marked a transition from the workers' disunity and helplessness to the rudi­ ments of class organization . " 2 1

Karl

Marx

and

Frederick Engels,

Communist Party," in: Collected Works, Vol.

p. 492. 2 V.

I.

6,

"Manifesto of the

Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, Progress Publishers, Moscow,

1976,

Lenin, "'Left-Wing' Communism-an Infantile

TRADE U NIONS: THEIR ORIGIN AND ROLE IN SOCIETY

7

The proletariat , compelled to struggle by the very conditions of its existence, for a long time did not recognize its class interests and the opposition of these i n terests to those of the bourgeoisie. Striving to alter the condition s of society, workers turned their anger on machines, seeing the m as the source of their plight. One such movement was that of the Luddites, the name given to English handi­ craftsmen in the early 1 9th century who be­ cause of a poorly developed class consciou sness rioted for th e destruction of machinery in reply to cru el exploitation by their capitalist employers. But life convinced the workers that the machines were not to blame, but rather the social system under which these machines were employed for the enrichment of indu strialists, so riots against machinery were supplanted by isolated ac tions at factories against capitalists . Despite all, the workers did not yet see capitalists as their class enemies and treated them as i ndividual evil e m ployers. Only gradu­ ally, as capitalism developed and the class struggle advanced, did the proletariat recog­ n ize their real enemies and realize their own class interests and the antagonism of these inte rests with those of the ruling class. The 19th century saw the stirring of the class stru ggle between the proletariat and the Disorder," Collected Works, Vol. 31, Progress Publishers, Moscow, 1977, p. 50.

8

WHAT A R E TRADE U NIONS?

bou rgeoisie in Europe. In 1 83 1 m Lyons, France, a worker rebellion broke out wh ich was viciou sly quashed by govern ment troops. Three years later, a second major u prisi ng of workers erupted in Lyon s, demonstrating the revolu tionary potential of the proletariat. I n England, which a s the most industrialized nation was constantly plagued by the ill effects of overproduction, the proletariat's struggle against the bou rgeoisie spil led over into "Chart­ ism , the first broad , truly mass and politically organ ized proletarian revolu tionary move­ ment. " 1 At the ou tset of the 19th century Germany lagged beh ind other European coun tries and h ad yet to be affected by a bou rgeois revolu­ tion . By the middle of the century the situation began to change. The proletariat had grown into a serious political force which the bourgeoisie was compelled to rec kon with . An u prising of tex tile workers, directed agai nst local industrialists , broke out in June 1844 in Silesia. Large con tingents of troops were called i n to suppress the rebellion . The workers were defeated , but the uprising had tremendous political significance. It demon strated that a new force - a growing working class- was starting open revol u tionary stru ggle against their exploiters . By the 1840s, workers in the I

V.

I.

Lenin, "'The Third I nternational," Collected

Works, Vol. 29, 1977, p. 309.

TRADE U N I O NS: THE I R O R I G I N AND R O L E IN SOCIETY

9

industrially advanced countries of Europe had formed a coherent movement and accumu lated valuable experie nce . Common interests united the workers in their struggle, which became unavoidable due to merciless exploitation by the capitalists . The workers lived i n squalor, with average wages in the l 840- l 860s lower than a hu ndred years ago, and the working day lasting between 1 3 and 16 hours. The industrialists showed no concern for creating normal working condi­ tions at factories. The workers enjoyed neither paid v acations nor a regular weekly day off. They had to purchase goods of poor quality in factory shops at inflated prices. Workers were forbidden to form their own organizations or to strike. A strike or a refusal to work was usually regarded as a criminal offense and the losses i ncurred by the factory owner as a result of a strike were made up by workers . Collective bargaining by workers with a factory owner occurred rarely. Ruthless exploi tation drove the working class to join together in organizations that would defend their i n terests . Such organ ization s first appeared in England at the end of the 1 8th century when the cou n try was undergoi ng a transition from the crafts and manu factory industry to machine production . Contributing to this process was the mass devastation of the En glish peasantry . The very first labor organ izations in England

10

WHAT ARE TRADE U NIONS ?

were concerned with providing their members with aid i n time of need. But the very fact of the foundation of these organizations, wh ich were k nown as coalitions, was of enormou s significance, for it convinced workers that it was possible -a n d necessary - to act jointly . Workers began to create secret u nion s for organizing strikes which would be disbanded once the strike was over. But they soon discovered that temporary associations were not capable of resolving their main problems. What was needed were permanent organiza­ tions wh ich would prove their resiliency i n the struggle with the bourgeoisie. The trade union movement was given a new i m petus in 1824 by the adoption in England of a law that legalized working men's associations. The main aim of trade u nions was to guard the economic interests of workers. Practice sh owed that only by organizing and acting together could they wrest concessions from the capitalists. The trade unions acted as schools of economic stru ggle, schools that taught the proletariat to recognize their class interests . With time, the trade unions began to p resent political demands as well as economic. The bourgeoisie put u p fierce resistance to the growing power and influence of the trade u nion s. Attempts were made to prevent work­ ers from j oining u nion s and to con trol the u nions once they emerged . In the Manifesto of the Communist Party,

TRADE U NIONS: TH E I R O R IG I N AND ROLE IN SOCI ETY

11

drafted m 1848 by the first international com mu nist organization , it was emph asized that the organization of the proletariat into a class was perpetually disru pted by competition between the workers themselves. The bourgeoisie tried to i n tensify this competition by , among other things , forming privileged grou ps of workers and pitting them against the rest. In the I 850s- 1 870s, trade u nions, particu ­ larly in England , u n ionized only the more skilled workers and operated on the shop principle. Such u n ions acted as tight-knit caste organ izations closed to u n skilled workers, con­ tribu ting to the d isu nity of workers and making it difficult to organize large-scale strikes. They pursued the narrow aim of improving relations between labor and capital within the framework of capitalism . They were characterized by narrow-minded shop views and a su pport of a class reconciliation between the proletariat and the bourgeoisie. The rise of the labor movement i n England in the late 1 880s facilitated the formation of new trade u n ions which brou ght together primarily unskilled laborers. The new u nions soon organized mass strikes and agitated for the adoption of labor legislation , in particu lar, the establish ment of an eight-hour work day . The trade u nion movement gathered strength and steadily expanded its influence. On May I, 1886 a wave of strikes and de­ monstrations rolled across the United States.

12

WHAT A R E T R A D E UNIONS?

I n Chicago, a strike embraced nearly the entire city. Workers who had been ruthlessly ex­ ploited demanded better working conditions and the introduction of an eight-hour work day . The C h icago police, however, bru tally dealt with the demonstrators . A large n u mber of workers were brought to trial, many of them were given lengthy j ail terms and several people were executed. The M ay Day demon­ stration in Chicago showed to workers of the entire world the need for the proletariat in every coun try to join arms i n the struggle against capitalism. Today M ay D ay has become an occasion for viewing the revolu tionary strength of the international working class. In the 1 890s trade u n ion membersh i p began to increase rapidly, reaching a level of 3 .5 mil­ lion members by 1 897, compared to no more than a few h undred thousand 25 years earlier. This process was furthered by the establish­ ment of n ational trade union cen ters i n Ger­ many, Austria, Hungary , Sweden , France and I taly. The impressive upsurge of the trade u n ion movement and its class awareness paved the way for the labor movement's adoption of the scien tific theories of socialism. The founders of M arxism - Karl M arx, Frederick Engels and later Lenin - showed that material production was the basis of the social process and that society developed according to laws which were i ndependent of h uman will and consciousness.

TRADE UNIONS: T H E I R O R I G I N AND R O L E IN SOCI ETY

13

A materialistic view of human history made it possible to i n terpret it as a law-governed, on ward process. M arxist theory showed that society develops in stages, from prim1ttve commu nal society to slave-owning to feudalism to capitalism and, finally, to communism, the highest stage. The law-governed natu re of th is process means that advance to a comm u nist society is h istorically inevitable, the sole means for resolving the contradition s i nheren t in the capitalist mod e of production . This transition can come about only as a result of the class stru ggle waged by the working class against the bou rgeoisie. Marx and Engels revealed the economic essense of the capitalist mode of production and demonstrated how the working class was being ex ploited . They also showed what kind of transformations in the economic sphere were needed to free the proletariat-an d together w i t h t h e m a l l working people-from the yoke of capital. The revolutionary stru ggle of the proletariat began to be u nderstood as an u ltimate requirement of the laws of economic and social development. The real social force capable of carryin g throu gh a revolutionary transformation o f society was engendered by capi tal ism itself. This force was the p roletariat , or a class of hired laborers deprived of ownersh i p of the mean s of p rod uction and forced to sell their own labor power to survive.

14

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

At the stage of im perialism all capitalism s con tradictions became aggravated. By 1 9 1 4 , the nu mber o f ind ustrial workers in t h e world h ad grown to 70 million making it even more di fficult for them to u nite At this point only 20 percent of the world's workers belonged to trade u nions. I n these years the labor movemen t was highly fac tious due to the eme rgence of an aristocracy among the workers which took its signals from the bou rgeoisie. As the nu mber of i ndependent labor organizations i ncreased the capitalists fou nd various ways to buy off their leaders . Also, the bourgeoi sie adopted the tactic of supporting labor u n ions whose policies were beneficial to the monopolies and whose demands were limited to securing better pay for their members. I n many of the Western cou ntries, particu­ larly England , France, Germany and the Unit­ ed States, political pa rties representing the interests of labor appeared later than labor unions, explaining the latter's rej ection of revolution and their su pport of cooperation of the classes and the transformation of capitalism into a j u st society through the institution of reforms. I n contrast, in Russia trade u nion s emerged only after a M arxist working-class party had been fou nded , th us ensuring the direct guid­ ance by the party of thei r fo rmation. The Ru ssian trade u nions were not detached from '

,

.

,

TRADE U N IO N S · THEIR ORIGIN AND ROLE IN SOCIETY

15

politics. I n conducting an economic stru ggle , they sou ght also to resolve political issues. V. I. Lenin, the leader of the revolutionary proletariat, ch astised the trade u nions for their neu trality and their non-interference in politi­ cal matters . I n the article "Trade-Union N eutrality," written in 1 908, Lenin observed: "Our whole Party , con sequently , has now recognised that work in the trade unions must be con ducted not in the spirit of trad e-union neu trality but in the spirit of the closest possible relations between them and the Social­ Democratic Party." 1 Lenin stressed that the trade u nions had to adopt the tactic of combin­ ing various methods of struggle, skillfully going from one to another, to continually increase the awareness of the masses and expand the range of their collective actions, of which each one taken by itsel f is both offensive and de­ fensive. Owing to its consistent defense of the interests of the working class, the Russian revolution ary Marxist party, which was closely con nected with the workers' movement and introd uced into it the socialist consciousn ess , succeeded in gai ning authority among the trade u nion s. The party sent i ts best members to work among the masses and in the trade umons . The slogan s advanced by the party I V. I. Lenin, "Trade-Union Neutrality," in: V. I. Le­ nin, Collecud Worh, Vol. 13, 1972, p. 460.

16

WHAT A R E TRA D E U N I ONS?

echoed closely the aspirations of the worke rs. For exam ple, d u ring World War I the rev­ olutionary Marxist party called for an end to the bloody imperialist war, a call that was supported by the working class, the peasan try and all democratic segments in Russia. By the time of the revol u tion in the autumn of 1 9 1 7 , the party had won over nearly every major industrial trade union in the cou ntry. The trade u n ions took direct part in the Revolu ­ tion , and trad e union representatives were on military-revolu tionary committees of Petrograd and Moscow and other major cities. The u n ion commi ttees were active in arming workers and setting up and trai ning Red Guard u nits at factories and industrial enterprises. During the October u prising the trade u nions of Pet ro­ grad , on orders from the Party, kept in operation bakeries , power station s , water mains, trams and tele phone stations. Revolu t i o n ary T h e o ry of the P ro l et a r i at

I n the Manifesto of the Communist Party ( 1 848), the world 's first program of Com mu­ nists, Marx and En gels showed that class strug­ gle was inherent in a society of exploitation , that social revolu tion was a law-governed process involving the transi tion from an old society to a new one. They observed that "the first step in the revolu tion by the working class

TRADE U N I O NS: T H E I R ORIGIN AND ROLE IN SOCI ETY

17

is to raise the proletariat to the pos1uon of ruling class, to win the battle of democracy." 1 The fou nders of Marxism repeatedly stressed the need to u nite the working class and educate it politically. They ad vanced the idea of u niting the con tingents of the working class of differen t cou ntries into a single internation­ al commu nity. Th is idea was realized with the fou nding in 1 864 of the I n ternational Working Men's Association , widely known as the First I nterna­ tional. The goal of this organization was to create a mass political party of the proletariat and bring Marxist revolu tionary theory to the workers. Karl Marx's most importan t work , Capital, gave the working class a gen uinely scien tific fou ndation on which to act. Marx discovered the laws of social development and of the emergence and developmen t of capital­ ism and showed that social developmen t leads irreversibly to the replacement of the capitalist formation by com m u nism . H e also sh owed that the chief con tradiction of capitalism was that between the social nature of production and the private-capitalist form of appropriating its results , giving rise to con tradictions between production and consumption , between the planned organ ization of production at particu­ lar enterprises and the anarchy of production I Karl Marx and F rederick Engels, "Manifesto of the Communist Party," Collected Work.!, Vol. 6, 1976, p. 504.

2-633

18

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I ONS?

society. These contradictions be­ come visible in recurrent economic crises, a rise in u nemployment and a worsening of th e con ditions o f the working clas'S. The Paris Commune was the world's first proletarian revolu tion . A large part in the revolution was played by workers , many of whom were mem bers of the First Internation­ al. The Paris Commune succeeded in dismantl­ ing the bo u rg eois state machinery (it demobil­ ized the army and disbanded the police) and in setting up a new type o f govern men t - the world's first dictatorship of the proletariat ­ which lasted a total of 7 2 days. On M ay 28, 1 87 1 , the Paris Commune was overth rown by a cou nterrevol ution . While the revolu tion was drowned in blood , it sh owed that only the proletariat was capable of promoting the rev­ olu tionary process of leading the pop u lar masses. The lesson of the Paris Commune was that, for a revolu tion to succeed, the poli tical van guard of the proletariat must be organised i n a Marxist political party. The absence of a con solidated party was one of the main reasons why the working class was defeated. No attempts were made for the proletariat to join with the peasan try . The revolu tionary experi­ ence of the Paris Commune vi v id ly demon­ strated that only a proletariat led by a rev­ olutionary party can make a genuine social revolution and ove rcome the resistance of class enemies.

throughout

TRADE UNIONS: THEIR ORIG IN AND ROLE IN SOC I ETY

19

I n the late 19th and early 20th cen turies , Lenin made a major con tribution to pro­ letarian theory. I n Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism, published in 1 9 1 6, he provided a detailed economic and socio-political analysis of im perialism as the last stage of capi talism. Len in revealed how i m perialism established the domination of monopolies and of a financial oligarchy, aggravated contradictions between capitalist states, monopolies and groupings of impe rialist powers locked in a struggle for sales and investment markets, and sources of raw materials, d rew up plans to divide the world into spheres of influence, and started wars to recarve it. Since im perialism was powerless to u nwind the en tire web of contradictions , Lenin came to the sin gle correct conclusion that im perialism was the eve of a socialist revolution . The subsequen t course of events totally affirmed the correctness of Lenin's conclusions . On analyzing the revolu tionary situation, Lenin noted that the success o f a revolution could be assured only if all segme nts of society are no longer able to live u n der the old cond itions. He wrote: " For a revolu tion to take pl ace it is not enough for the ex ploited and oppressed masses to realize the impossibility of living in the old way, and demand changes ; for a revolu tion to take place it is essential that the exploiters should not be able to live and rule in the old way . It is only when the 'lower classes' do

20

WHAT A R E IRADE U NIONS?

not want to live in the old way and the 'upper classes' cannot carry on in the old way that the revolution can triumph . " 1 The theory of proletarian revolu tion lay at the basis of all activities of the com munist party aimed at u niting the working class and preparing a proletarian revolu tion . The Oc­ tober Revolu tion ushered in a new era in the h istory of humanity . The record has shown that the main elements of this revolu tion will be invariably copied in the world revolu tionary process. The Revolution's greatest accom plish­ ments were the elimination of the bourgeoisie's political dominance, the revolutionary transfer of power into the hands of the proletariat, the liqu idation of private ownership of the means of production , the closest collaboration of the working class with the urban working masses and the peasantry under the leadership of the proletariat, the working class's reliance on the guid ance of a revolu tionary Marxist-Leninist party, the restructuring of the economy on socialist principles, and the liquidation of n ational oppression and i nequality. A revolu­ tion can triumph only if the working class is led by a pa rty guided by the theory of scientific socialism and h aving a broad social base . Lenin re peatedly stressed the difference I V. I. Lenin, "'Left-Wing' Communism-an Infantile Disorder," Collected Works, Vol. 31, 1977, pp. 84-85.

TRADE U NION S : T H E I R O R I G I N AND R O L E IN SOCI ETY

21

between the com mu nist party and non-party trade u nion organ izations, which bring to­ gether hired workers with diverse political, ethnic and religious backgrou nds. Yet Leni n , like a l l Communists, thought it necessary for all workers to be u nited i n a common strug­ gle for their class interests. Between 19 1 9 and l 92 1 , reaction ary leaders of reformist trade u n ions began to expel Communists and revolutionary workers from their organizations en masse. This precipi tated the need to create a progressive international trade union organization . Thus the Red I n ter­ national of Labor U n ions was born in 192 1 wh ich came to play an important role before its disman tling in 1 9 3 7 in rallying workers from di fferent cou ntries in su pport of the Soviet proletarian revolu tion of 1 9 1 7 . The Red I n ternational , bringing together trade unions from the Soviet U nion and national revolu tion­ ary trade u nion cen ters in Belgium , Canada, Chile, C h ina, Columbia, Czechoslovakia, Hol­ land, I n donesia, and other coun tries, was formed to get the world trade u n ion move­ ment to ac t together to improve the working people's standard of living, promote democra­ cy in trade unions and rally Communists, Social-Democrats and workers not belon ging to any political party into a common stru ggle agai nst the offensive of capital . The Red I n tern ational of Labor U nions, a prod uct of a long and continuous search for

WHAT ARE TRADE UNIONS?

22

an effective form of o rganizi n g a revolutionary trade u nion movement, did much to fuse the ran ks of the i nternational working class in the stru ggle against the intensification of labor and for the introdu ction of an eight-hour working day higher pay and better working condi tions, and the meeting of workers' political demands. I n 19 1 9 react i ona ry qu arters set up an alternative trade u n ion organization , the Amsterdam International, wh ich was in exist­ ence u n til 1 945. The organization's act i vities were con trolled by the im perialist bou rgeoisie, explaining wh y numerous appea l s by the Red I n ternational to join forces against the capital­ ists on a numbe r of key issues were never greeted with much e n thusiasm. ,

Chapter II

T R ADE U N ION S IN THE MODE R N CA PITALIST WORLD

C a pital i s m T o d ay

I n order to gain an understan­ ding of the current role and prospects for trade umons m the industrially ad vanced cou n tries of the West we must first examine the nature of pre­ sen t-day capitalist society. What is capitalism as we know it today? Capitalism of the 1 980s 1s capitalism of the age of electron ics and informatics, of compu ters and robots, which d rive millions of people out into the street. Wealth and power are being increasin gly concen trated in the hands of a few . Politically potent militarism, fed by the becoming race, arms is increasingly ugly and menacing, harnessing advances i n science

24

WHAT A R E T R A D E U N I O N S ?

and technology for the creation of weapons of mass destruction . Modem capitalism is marked b y a steadily sh arpening contradiction between labor and capital . In the economically prosperou s 1 960s and 1 970s, workers succeeded in som ewhat im proving their lot. H owever, the economic crisis of the mid- l 97 0s and the refitting of prod uction with new tech nologies allowed capital to launch a cou nter-offensive and divest workers of many of their h ard -fought social . gains. In a n umber of ind icators the standard of living of workers fell dramatically , and the army of unemployed grew to a postwar record level . The crisis did not bypass the cou n tryside. Once prosperous farmers were forced to sell their farms and h ire themselves out or submit themselves to the crushing terms im posed by m ajor agric u l t ural corporations and banks. Social inequality continued to m ount. In the U n ited States, for instance , the richest one percent of the population con trols assets that are more than 5 0 percen t greater than the combined wealth of the bottom 80 percent of the population . I n recent years large corporations h ave lau nched a large-scale and embittered attack on the rights of workers. Trade u nions h ave been the targets of constan t bashing and economic blackmail. H arassmen t has been carried out against progressive activists, and an ti-worker legislation has been adopted.

TRADE UNIONS IN T H E M O D E R N CAPITALI ST WORLD

25

Breakthroughs in science and technology in our epoch of the scien tific and technological revolution have altered the structure of work . The refitting of indu stry with automatic tran sfer lines and robots has resulted i n widespread lay-offs of workers . Categories o f people h ave appeared w h o are u nable to acqu ire new work skills and lack the necessary training to work u nder n ew conditions of work . Reliance on labor-saving technologies engenders so-called " tech nological un­ em ployment," red uces the n u mber of j obs, con tributes to " moral aging" of many pro­ fessions and makes it impossible for many workers to fi nd jobs in new sectors of the economy. I ncreased use of computers reduces the number of jobs available for accountants and cash iers, and other slots mainly filled by women . The expansion of j obs in the public sector­ particularly i n education and health care­ depends heavily on governmen t fiscal policies. H owever, spending on the public sector has been cut drastically over the last several years in favor of bloated defense budget . Thus , more than 75 percent of a l l federal research grants in the U n ited States go to military R & D . Also, the arms industries of the Western cou ntries are being increasingly in tegrat­ ed, and global m ili tary-industrial complex is

26

WHAT ARE TRADE UNIONS?

being molded to be h eaded by U . S. corpora­ tions. The internationalization of industry and capital does not lessen the complex problems faced by capitalism but instead aggravates them . The productive forces of capitalism h ave outgrown the bou ndaries of national eco­ nomies. Monopolies and corporations are finding it ever more difficult to ex pand their operations at home , and this forces them to seek opportunities for expansion in other regions of the world and compelling capitalist nations i n work for joint regulation of the world economy and try to coordinate th eir economic policies . The end of this century is characterised by the con tinuing concentration of capital and production within the world capi talist econo­ my and the growing influ ence of tran snatio­ nal corporations (TNCs) . They establish subsidiaries and daugh ter companies in Western as well as developing countries and acquire local firms. Transcending national boundaries, TNCs are particularly active in regions where they are able to derive high profits and h ave access to large markets and cheap labor. TNCs account for over one-th i rd of the gross national product of the capitalist world. The value of good s manufac tu red by British subsidiaries abroad and sold on the world market is twice that of total British exports. In the U nited States more than 50

TRADE UN IONS IN THE MODE R N CAPITALIST WOR L D

27

percent of the deliveries of the largest A me rican corporations go to their foreign subsidiaries , with exports accou nting for the remainder. Direct investments by TNCs are growing at a rate two to three times faster than the GNP of most cou ntries . The working class in capitalist coun tries is bei ng exploited not only by the local bourgeoisie, but by all of in ternational capital . Today , some 30 percen t of the profits of American corporations are derived from overseas investments. The effects of scientific and technological progress on capitalist society, economic instability, inflation , and a corporate onslaught on the gains of workers give rise to social tensions that sh arpen the class stru ggle, pushing the working class to seek radical transformation s in society as it exists today . U nited in trade u nions , the workers press demands for an increase i n state spending on programs designed to create j obs and improve medical care and the education syste m . They adamantly oppose the reprivatization of indu stries and call for deep cuts in the defense budget. The accelerated internationalization of state­ monopoly capitalism and a viciou s offensive on the gains of working people call for a fu rther rallying of workers and a strengthening of their unity within trade unions.

28

WHAT ARE TRADE UNIONS?

M o n o p o l i e s Go on t h e Offe n s i ve

Endemic to the current stage of the scien tific and tech nological r e volu tion is the decline of a n u mber of branches of industry which previ­ ously had u nderpinned the capitalist economy and, at the same time , the emergence of new branches based on radically new technologies. These transformations h ave resulted in a sharply reduced need for labor. I ndustrial plants are being closed i n such branches as metallurgy, machine tools , ship building and the tailoring and footware industries. The plants that remain open are being recon ­ structed on the basis of new tech nology , putting out of work large n u mbers of em­ ployees. Growth in the aerospace indu stry and expanding production of compu ters, robots, microprocessors, laser tec h nology and fiber optics fail to compensate for the removal of j obs from the labor market. B etween 1979 and 1 983 , high-tech field s i n the U n ited States created 2 1 7 ,000 jobs, far short of the 565 ,000 jobs that were eliminated in indust ry d u ring this period . Mo n opoly capi tal is con d u cting a broad offen sive on workers' social and economic rights. In Western Europe, unem ployment grew from 9 . 1 million people in l 976 to 19 million in 1 986 . As a percen tage of the gainfully employed p o p u l at i on the joblessness rate rose ,

TRADE UNIO N S IN T H E MODERN CAPITALIST WORLD

29

over these years from 5 .6 percent to 1 1 per­ cent. This means that if in 1 976 unem ploy­ ment affected one in eigh teen worke rs, by 1 986 one in nine people was out of a job. U nemployment has hit es pecially hard you ng people , with more than one in five u nable to find a job. I t is also mounting among college graduates , wom e n , and ethnic minorities . The elderly find it virtually im possible to obtain permanent work, too. As the u nem ployment rate climbs, the period it takes to find work becomes extended, with som e people h aving to look for a job for a year or two and even longer. U nemployment usually means that a person has lost his trade alon g with h is j ob . Learning a n e w trade is nearly im possible i n the absence o f a state-run system o f occupa­ tional training. The growth of unemployment is caused in large part by the militarization of the capitalist economy. Western econom ists have calculated th at the defense indu stry , because of its h igh capital and technology intensiveness, creates less jobs per dollar of i n vestment than the civilian sector. As a result, in the United States, where more than one trillion dollars were spent on defense purposes between 1 980 and 1 985 , arou nd two million jobs were lost. One of the main reasons for the steady and rapid reduction in the number of jobs has been the introduction of robots i n industry .

30

WHAT ARE TRADE UNIONS?

Japan is the world's leader in the introduc­ tion of robots . More than two-thirds of all robots in ope ration in the capitalist world are in Japan . Japanese managers cou nt on robots to min imize production costs, mainly at the expense of laying off workers. Robots hel ped the electronics manu facturer H itachi to cut unit prod uction time by 80 percent, produc­ tion costs by 30 percent and materials and semi-finished product reserves by 80 percenc. At the same time each installed robot replaces 3 -4 workers. The same problems plague the other West­ ern industrial powers , the U nited States in particular. American specialists believe that robots are today capable of performing up to one-third of all work in U . S . industry , and that in the future they may occu py between 65 and 7 5 percent of all job places. They also predict that within the next th irty years up to 30 mil­ lion workers will lose their j obs on assembly lines to robots. The n umber of new jobs ( progra mers, adj usters, etc.) available at au to­ mated fac tories will fall far short of the n umber of j obs elimin ated . A m id widespread joblessness in the de­ veloped capi talist cou ntries, those with a j ob are compelled to intensify their work. Con­ fronted by the constant fear of losi ng their job, employees work at the limit of their capabilities, bringing on rapid physical and mental deterioration.

TRADE U N IONS IN THE M O D E R N CAPITALIST WORLD

31

Toyota , t h e Japanese automaker, can serve as a good example. Employees work in two sh ifts, five d ays a week with an eight-hour workin g day. B u t , according to established practice, workers actuall y put in two more 1-)ours of overtime work each day. A sociologi­ cal study completed in 1 983 foun d that 64 . 2 percen t of Toyota em ployees thought that the pace of work had become faster than before , and 60 percent reported that they became sick on the j ob . Furthermore, 24.8 percent of su rvey sam ple thou gh t their sickness was a result of their work being too h ard , 29.8 percent indicated night shift work as the cause of their sickness and 1 1 . 2 percent attributed it to the work day being too long. At Toyota a pay system has been introduced that in many respects can be said to be exploitative . The basic wage m akes up no more than 30 percent of the employee's gross pay . l.J p to 5 7 pe rcent can be made up b y various types of add -on payments. Work team s and shops compete among themselves for the righ t to receive this extra pay . This pay system h as gained Toyota the repu tation - as a Toyota em ployee put it - as the fi rst company in the world to " artfully squeeze the last drop of j uice from an already squeezed lemon . " The position of the working class is further compou nded by the closing down of old factories and the opening of new ones and their dislocation to new areas . All this hinders

32

W HAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

the occupational con solidation of workers and gives monopolies the opportunity to degrade the work conditions of their employees. In the first ten years after the Second World War workers in Western industrial cou ntries achieved pay hikes and certain social benefits. Today the threat of mass lay-offs h as had a dampening effect on pay increases and i n some cases has caused pay rates t o fall . B etween 1 98 1 and 1 98 5 , wages in the U nited States decli ned by 3 . 5 percent. Real i ncome has shru n k even more due to the fact that the prices of goods and services h ave risen faster than wages. R ecent years have seen an unusually v1C1ou s offensive against the rights and freedoms of trade u nion s won by workers i n many years of hard-fought struggle. In the Western industrial cou ntries, nearly 30 percent of all h ired work­ ers belong to trade u n ions, including 1 8 per­ cent in the U nited States, 30 percent in Japan , 3 1 percent i n France and 40 percen t in West Germany. In the U n ited States, laws are on the books in 1 9 states allowing au thorities to bar the activities of trade u nion organ izations . I n Great B ritai n , the Conservative government has i n trod uced a series of anti-trade-union laws. In 1 980, 1 982 and again in 1 984, the Conservative cabinet adopted employment laws wh ich considerably limited the righ t of workers to strike and gave the government broad powers to interfere in trade u n ion matters . N ot

TRADE U N I Q N S I N THE M O D E R N CAPITAL IST WORLD

33

su rprisi ngly , each of the so-called employment laws restricted the activities of trade unions more than the prev iou s one. Owing to these restrictive policies, trade u nion membership in the U nited States , Great B ri tain and in some other Western indu strial cou ntries declined markedly. The membership of trade u nion s has also been affected by structural changes. An abru pt drop has been noted in number of labor union members among mi ners and metal and railway workers , whose trade u nions h ave traditionally defended class positions in the trade u nions. At the same time there h as been an increase in members in the engineering and technical fields and also among the management person­ nel, who h ave li ttle experience of trade u n ion politics. In the 1 980s alone American labor unions have lost nearly 3 million members. Cu rrently arou nd 95 percen t of all major U . S . corporations openly figh t t h e u nionization o f the cou ntry's industries, with more than three­ fou rths of them spending ann ually up to l 00 million dollars for the services of an ti­ labor-u nion consultants. The way in which the 1 98 1 U .S . air traffic controllers' strike was handled serves as a relevant example. I n the summer of 1 98 1 , U . S . a i r traffic controllers went o n strike a t the u rging of their union , the Professional Air Traffic Con trol lers Organization, or PA TCO. The Wash ington Administration rejected all 3-633

34

WHAT A RE TRADE U N IO N S ?

the union's demands, cal ling them totally unacceptable The striking con t rollers were dealt with harshly More than 1 1 , 000 PA TCO members received notice that they were fi red . More than 70 of the strikers were pu t on trial and many of the union leadership were handed ou t jail terms by the federal court. When arrested , many of the union members were not only handcuffed but a l so h ad their legs shackled , a treatment that is usually applied to state cri m inal s The u nion's strike funds were also impounded . The federal cou rt ordered the u nion to pay a fine of one million dollars for each day that the strike contin ued . And to top i t all off , the Federal Labor Relations Au t hor i ty issued a dec ision to abolish the u nion . On orders f rom the govern ment a c a m paign was launched i n the press to hound the labor unions. The strikers were betrayed by the leaders of the A F L-C I O , the national trade u n ion o r ga n i zation wh ich pursued a policy of " class " collaboration w i th capital . As a s i gn of solidarity with the stri king air traffic control­ lers, the aerospace and m a c hine building in­ dustry unions wanted to stop loading and u n loading the airliners and halt operation of passenger gangways and hold a one-hou r nationwide work stoppage , but the AFL-C I O leadershi p re f used to su pport them . The terror brough t down on the air traffic controllers u nion by the au thori ties gave the .

.

,

.

,

-

'

T RADE U N IONS IN T H E M O D E R N CAPITALIST W O R L D

35

monopolies a free h and : several airline com­ panies forthwith filed m ulti-million-dollar su its against the union . The courts im mediately decided in favor of the airlines. As a result of the demise of the u nion , 1 1 ,400 of the striking air traffic controllers who had refused the order to return to their job were fired by the govern ment. An absolu te majority of them were blacklisted and have si nce been u n able to find j obs. U . S . Commu nists con tend that the reprisals against the air traffic controllers' u nion are not an isolated event. Rather, they see it as an act of state terrorism with respect to the country's labor u nion movement. The crushing of the union was intended to in timidate workers who are en gaged i n a stru ggle to defend their rights and interests. In the U nited States there are more than a thou sand · agencies whose job it is to im pede the organization of labor unions or to abolish existing unions . These agencies have de­ veloped most refined methods for hounding the union organ ization s . One such method which has become widespread is the declara­ tion of ban kruptcy. For exam ple, the U . S . Supreme Cou rt allowed the B i ldisco Company of N ew Jersey to declare itself ban kru pt in order to get out of a collective bargaining agreement with a labor u nion . This decision paved the way for many more false ban kru pt­ cies intended to disband union organ izations . J•

36

WHAT A R E TRADE U NIONS?

I n Ju ne 1 98 5 the Su preme Cou rt upheld the righ ts of st rikebreakers . H ard -line policies against workers are fol­ lowed i n Western Europe also, where Amer­ ican practices are copied in meticulous detail . The an ti-labor laws adopted by the B ritish Conservative govern ment have put a clamp on stri kes and picketing. The labor u n ions h ave been denied the right to expel from thei r organ izations strikebreakers and have lost their say in the hiring of workers by manage­ ment. The financial obligations of labor u n ion s for so-called illegal stri kes h ave also grow n ­ companies can now go t o court to sue u nions for losses incurred as a resu lt of an illegal strike action . Company managemen t resort with increasi ng frequency to mass loc kou ts. I n N orway companies i n 1 986 let go 1 1 0 ,000 em ployees because of their i nvol v eme n t in labor con flicts. Also, trade unions have narrowed the focus of their p o l i tica l ac tivity . I n mid- 1 986 the Su preme Court in Ontario Province in Canada barred Canadian trade unions from backing political parties and movements whose activities reflect the i n terests of workers . Trade union s were denied the right to make any kind of demands except for pu rely economic ones. The Canadian Labor Con gress, wh ich repre­ sents the cou ntry's trade u n ion s , violen tly pro­ tested the Su preme Cou rt's decision .

T RADE U N IONS IN TH E M O D E R N CAPITALIST W O R L D

37

In Denmark, Norway , Sweden and Finland , big business h as set up a special fund of more than a billion kronor to combat the in fluence of trade unions. The fund is intended for use in the cou rse of labor conflicts. The capitalists have also resorted to the setti ng up of right-wing trade u nion s, which they generously finance, to dismember radical trade union s. The main purpose of these righ t-wi ng unions is to cou nter progressive trade unions and pursue policies acceptable to the capitalists. These organizations are funded by nation al and in ternational corporations , and some are govern ment-financed . The money is drawn, amon g other places, from secret ac­ cou nts allocated by American Congressmen for subversive activities. One such source is the N ational Endowment for Democracy. Two­ thirds of the budget are used to finance the I nstitute for Free Labor Development, an arm of the A FL-C I O . The endowment funds h ave also been chan nelled to the French righ t-wing trade union organization , the Force Ouvriere. The American govern ment, in close col labora­ tion with the N ational Endowment for Democ­ racy, finances ultra-right trade u n ion s th rough­ out the world . Only i n the years 1 98 5 and 1 986, the N ational U n ion of Workers, a Portuguese trade union organ ization , received arou nd 200 million escudos, which was used for trai ning person nel and for conducting various anti-com munist ac tions .

38

WHAT ARE TRADE U N I ONS?

Monopoly capital has set up trade u nion organizations whose bosses pursue a policy of conciliation with the capitalists, try to reduce trade u nion demands to the carrying out of mi nor reforms and lead the working-class movement away from poli tical struggle. Known as reformist trade unions, their goal is to achieve only limited economic concessions from management. In a nu mber of cou ntries big business h as succeeded in getting disjoint reformist unions to merge into large national umbrella u nions wh ich they rely on to imple­ ment its anti-labor policies. I ndustrialists have i ncreasingly resorted to strikebreakers to disru pt strikes and other trade-u nion activities. These hired agen ts dis­ tort the meaning of concerted actions by workers and incite con frontation s between the police and the stri kers . Such tactics were u sed against London pri ntin g plant workers who went on strike in February 1 986 to protest the firing of fellow em ployees by newspaper mag­ nate Rupert M u rdoc h . The fired workers with their wives and children - nearly 5 ,000 in all - assembled regularly ou tside the plant gates. Coal miners from Kent, city transport workers and students from local colleges dis­ played solidarity with the stri kers, whose strategy was to effect a peacefu l blockade of the plant's en trances. Yet among the demon­ strators were several groups who incited a confrontation between the police and the

TRADE U N IONS IN T H E M O D E R N CAPITALIST WORLD

39

workers . In what proved to be a plan ned action , police u nits, some of whom were on horsebac k , pressed the demonstrators to the plant gates, clu tching clubs and plastic shields. And though the workers tried not to yield to the provocation , the police dispersed the de­ monstrators, making n umerou s arrests. In France the powers that be have stepped up their offensive against the trade u n ions. I n the course o f many years o f struggle the French working class had won major conces­ sions from the capitalists . In one such conces­ sion , i n en terprises with more than 50 em­ ployees, trade union representatives are elected to en terprise com mittees and are em powered to conduct negotiations with the management on all issues affecting workers . Under French law, these elected persons are su pposed to be protected from the tyranny of the manage­ ment. Yet in reality things stand quite d iffer­ ently. Management tries to fire union activists as soon as the first opportu nity presen ts itself, resorting to blackmail and provocation . The th rust of big capital's attack is aimed at France's progressive trade u n ion, the Confed­ eration Generale du Travail, or the CGT. A Paris cou rt fined 1 3 activists of the CGT a million francs for participation in mobilizing auto workers at the Citroen auto plant to stand up for their rights and interests. In February 1 98 3 they arou sed the workers to call a strike in su pport of fellow workers who had been

40

W H AT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

u n fairly dismissed . The plant management incited confrontations on the shop floors, the entire blame for which was laid on the CGT . T h e management of t h e Renau lt au to plant in Douai accused a national secretary of the CGT and the plant's trade u nion secretary of involve men t in an assault of two plant em­ ployees . And although it was established that on the day of the assau l t the union activists were nowhere near the scene of the i ncident, the Renault management ordered their dism issal, a decision that was bac ked by the Labor M inistry . I n another case , the management of a footware factory in Dordogne falsely declared bankru ptcy in order to rid itself of trade union activists . The fac tory remained practically in the same hands, con trol h aving been trans­ ferred merely on paper. Yet this legal reor­ gan ization e ntitled the management to lay off em ployees, with CGT re presentatives on the factory committee the first to go. And ad m i nistrators of the N ational Society of Railways pu nished a n umber of trade u nion leaders for their opposition to plans to cut rail service. French press reports claim that in 1 985 alone around 2 , 500 French workers were fired for their u n ion activities. The French gove rnment has sought to in tro­ d uce a law allowing companies to freely fix the work week anywhere from 38 to 44 hours. Critics argue that this would cause a rise in

TRADE U N I ON S IN THE M O D E R N CAPITA LIST W O R L D

41

partial unem ployment. U nder such a plan , em ployers would be freed of the obligation of paying workers for overtime and cou ld make em ployees work evenings and nigh ts as well as weekends without extra com pensation . Also, man agement would be able to shut down operation s any time it chooses to do so without bei ng obliged to pay for lost work time. Such tactics h ave been employed i n I taly also, where a sliding wage scale law has been introduced . The law h as hel ped to lower living standards among the working class. I n B elgium the law rej ects wages to be pegged to i nflation rates. Similar an ti-labor legislation has been adopted in other de­ veloped capitalist cou n tries. Transnation al corporations create formida­ ble difficulties for the development of trade u nions . By switch ing orders for goods back and forth between cou n tries, transnationals are able to effectively brin g trade u nions u nder control by threatening to withdraw orders or close factories . Other method s are also u sed. B ri tish Leyland, for example, rolled back capital investments in its I talian subsidiary after workers there resisted pay cuts. The I talian plant was thus deprived of funds for future growth . Transnationals are k nown for their disregard for local trade union laws . Ford , the automaker, for in stance , has forbid­ den its em ployees i n Great B ritain to join a un ion .

42

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

The W o r k i n g Pe o p l e R e b u ff C a p i t a l

The development of modern capitalism led to the acute aggravation of class con tradictions. The very conditions i n which the working class finds itself arouse it to stru ggle energetically to protect its righ ts . I n the United States, Western Europe and other industrially advanced capitalist cou n tries working people put up a powerful resistance to the onslau gh t of capital and try to capture the i nitiative in the stru ggle for their righ ts . I n West Germany, for exam ple, workers became indignant over a govern ment plan to rescind paragraph 1 1 6 of the labor code guaran teei ng workers the right to stri ke. The clause regu­ lates relations between enterprises' man age­ ment, em ployees and the federal au thori ties during strike actions. Under the law, the govern ment must pay com pensation to workers at cooperatin g en terprises who are tem porary idle becau se of a work stoppage at some other plan t. U nder the new wording of para­ graph 1 1 6 proposed by the govern ment, work­ ers of cooperating enterprises would no longer receive such compensation . Yet all sizeable strikes result in work stoppages at other plants. If paragraph 1 1 6 is changed , all workers of these plants could be deprived of means of subsistence. The draft law allows the factory owner to recover losses incurred as a result of a strike from the trade u nion to which the

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strikers belong. The new wording wou ld give factory owners virtually u nlimited powers to ' declare loc k-ou ts and blackmail workers economically. The plan to alter the wording of para­ graph 1 1 6 was fiercely resisted by the West German national trade u nion council - the Gewerkschaftsbund - and Deu tscher its branches. Throu ghou t the cou ntry mass meet­ ings of workers were held to protest the scheme, where workers rallied a rou nd the slogans " H ands off the right to strike ! " , " N o to the anti-strike law ! " , "We'll not let ourselves be put on a chain ! " and " N o compromises ! " . More than 40 ,000 employees of Vol kswagen , the automaker, signed a petition sponsored by the metal workers u nion to protest the plan . Strikes were called involving hundreds of thousands of workers in the Ruhr, Baden­ Wiirttemberg , Lower Saxon y, Bavaria and other major indu strial centers as a warn ing against the passage of the revised law. And in the spring of 1 986 nationwide demonstrations of workers were held . The West German trade unions were supported by a majority of the de mocratic public i n their bid to block the adoption of the revised law. Opinion polls showed that two-thirds of the public were against the " an ti-labor amendment" to the labor legislation . The campaign against lay-offs and for an improvement in the socio-economic conditions

44

WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

of life is ex panding. At its September 1 9 85 Con gress , the B ritish Trades U nion Con gress adopted a Chapter for C hange calling for a higher rate of employment and better public services for workers. Among the demands of the B ritish trade unions are a shorter work wee k , the c reation of a govern ment retrai ning program for the unemployed and the institu­ tion of a guaran tee against lay-offs. I n the U nited States several large strikes have been successful . A five-day-long strike in 1 984 of more than 100,000 General M otors employees forced the com pany to sharply curtail overtime and introduce an employee retraining program . Strikes are becoming m uch longer. Thus, at a copper-smelting plant in Arizona belonging to Phelps Dodge, workers have been ou t on strike for over three years. A shift has also occurred in the type of demands bei ng made by workers , who now present political demands along with economic ones. The u nemployed are also joining in the struggle . Unem ployed workers have held na­ tional conferences i n the U nited States, West Germany and F rance and have set up their own organization s. Despite these small victories, the trade u nion movement in indu strialized Western cou ntries faces considerable difficulties . C hanges are occurring in the nature of work and the occu pational training of workers , and jobs are being sh i fted to different branches of the

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45

economy. In many countries more than half of all jobs are in the service sphere, com merce and govern ment. A large part of wage workers are employed by small businesses where there are less than 20 em ployees . Large corporations are trying to take advan tage of these changes. I n Ital y , for instance, the industrialists have not only renou nced previously honored agree­ men ts but are trying to eli minate trade unions en tirely . As a resu lt, collective bargaining agreements have not been concluded for many years at the automaker Fiat and the chemical plants of the Montedison compan y . T h e I talian N ational Labor Con ference, the cou ntry's largest trade u n ion organizatio n , mounted a stru ggle f o r the introd uction of a 35-h ou r work week, the i mprovement of health care and pre-school facilities and for the reform of the tax system . It has strengthened ties with other trade union organizations i n the cou ntry wh ich support positions that some­ times con flict with i ts own and which are associated with variou s trade u nion organiza­ tions outside the cou ntry . Progressive trade unions cooperate with each other i n the areas of environ mental protection and the impact of the STR, the peace struggle and the release of resou rces now spent on the arms race so that they can serve man kind . The mou nting stru ggle of the working class against the policies of monopolies is merging with the cam paign to halt the arms race. A

46

WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

growing nu mber of trade u nion organization s in the U nited States, Japan and Western Europe , when pressing demands for an end to u nemployment, also come out for an end to the arms race. For they are aware that investmen ts in civilian sectors create more jobs than spendi ngs on arms production . Reformist trade u nions i ncreasin gly adopt this position . Even the A FL-C IO, wh ich for a long time supported increases in the defense budget, declared that it would no longer do so i f the result were a curtailmen t of social programs. Worthy of men tion is the mass involvemen t of workers in the peace movement. In West Germany, for instance, thousands of workers came out to participate in a trade-u nion sponsored peace rally held on September, 1 984 in 40 cities. Working people in Japan , I taly , Belgiu m , Spain, Holland a n d other cou ntries h ave also become more active i n the peace movement. Serving as great inspiration to them are the peace proposals of the Soviet U nion ai med at halting the arms race and stre n gthening in ternational security. A C o m b at a n t C l ass

In the Western press it is sometimes clai med that the contemporary working class has lost i ts fighting spirit and sense of purpose and h as been lulled i n to inactivity . I n su pport of these

T RADE U N IONS IN THE M O D E R N CAPITALIST W O R L D

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charges refe rence is made to the fact that in the three years between 1 98 3 and 1 985 there were 1 5- 1 7 percent fewer strikes than in the previou s three years involving one-third less strikers. It is also noted that in the leading indu strial powers, particularly the U n ited States, France and j apan , trade u nion mem­ bersh ip is far below that of the previous years. Indeed , some segmen ts of the working class have lost to a certain degree their fighting spirit. This is because the workers trade u nion movement has sometimes been slow to adjust to c hanging conditions, wh ile corporation s have generally reacted more guickly to changes in the world capitalist economy and to trans­ formations in the structu re of the working class . The introduction of h igh tech nology in indu stry brou ght a reorien tation of the exploi­ tation of labor from ph ysical toward mental abilities of workers. It has also made the mechanism of ex ploi tation more elaborate and in tricate. These sh ifts, which became necessary owing to advances in science and tech nology, were accom pan ied by a broad and continuous ideological assault on the working class by capital. By whipping up an ti-commu nist and anti-Soviet sentiments, monopolies seek to un­ dercut the revolutionary aspirations of the workers and call in question the achievemen ts of socialism. The bourgeoisie try to blacken socialism using the mass media wh ich they control.

48

W H AT A R E TRADE U NI O N S ?

Monopolies h ave also tried to get the work­ ing-class movement to adopt reformist posi­ tions. They were to a certai n extent successful , since n o t al l workers h ave y e t developed a firm class con sciousness. Some even harbor the desire to become their own boss and start up a business. Frequent economic crises, the bou rgeoisie's use of ever refined means of ideological brainwash ing of workers and chan ges in the nature of labor brou ght on by the introduction of advanced technologies all hampered many represen tatives of the working class in quickly and properly find ing their bearings i n the class stru ggle ; some workers lost their sense of class purpose. N evertheless, the chief revol u tion ary class has always been and still i s the working class, wh ich today nu mbers some 660 million people and is steadily growing. This n u mber repre­ sents a third of the world's workforce . Since the 1 950s, the working class has grown in the indu strialized West from 1 3 7 million to 2 4 1 mil lion people, in the developing world from 79 to 2 1 7 m illion , and in the socialist world from 66 to 202 million . Certain Western ideologists assert that the skill level of workers h as been decli ning. They claim that today's workers are not the same as their ancestors were 1 00 or even 50 years ago. I ndeed , the composition of the working class has changed . Wh ile em ployment opportunities in the tradi tion al indu stries have steadily de-

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49

creased, millions of new j obs h ave been created in the electronics and aerospace indu stries , and in chemistry and biology. New j ob conditions have also brou ght on changes in the worker h imself. He is more skilled , is better educated , and has h igher material and cultu ral demands than his par­ ents' generation . In spite of this, his relation­ ship with modern capitalist bosses h as chan ged very little if at all : the owners of the means of production hire and exploit the labor force. I t should be mentioned that the working class today is com posed not only of j ust the labor force engaged in physical work in industry and other spheres of production . Also in this category are engineering staff, trade and office workers , the so-called blue-, grey­ and white-collar employees who are essen tially wage workers, the same as indu strial workers. Concomi tan t with the internationalization of the world economy is the internationalization of the action s of the working class which is being increasingly exploited by transn ational corporations. I n 1 986 the tire manu facturer M ichelin closed down one of its plants in B elgium, at the same time giving the boot to I , 100 em­ ployees. Coming to the defense of the workers were the left-wing parties of Belgium and leading trade unions. As a sign of solidarity with the B elgium workers , the I n ternational Federation of C h emical and General Workers 4-633

50

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

U nions announced that the lay-offs wou ld be protested by the locals of Michelin plan ts th rou ghou t the world . The intern ationalization o f the actions o f the working class fosters the migration of the work force. The internationalization of the labor market also opens greater possibilities for workers in their struggle to u phold their rights and broadens the basis for the merging of the working class i nternationally . N ew aspects h ave emerged in the h istorical mission of the working class. As the only class in h uman h istory that has never sought to seize power to ach ieve privileges over other seg­ ments of society, the working class defends the interests of all working people of broad segmen ts of the population . I ts goal is to free all laborers from class oppression and social righ tlessness, bring abou t socio-political equali­ ty, gen uine social j ustice and the free and all-round progress of every nation and every i ndividual. U nder present-day conditions it is the work­ ing class that must ensu re life on Earth and the preservation of civilization . The modern world h as become overly vulnerable to the risk of a military clash . There will be no victor in a n uclear war. People of labor and the majority of their trade union organization s struggle for a stable and lasting peace . E fforts by trade u nions to better the living stand ards of work­ ers are invariably linked with the stru ggle for

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the peaceful coex istence of cou ntries with dif­ ferent political systems and for ensuring that all disputes are resolved by peaceful means. M arching in the fron t ranks of the an ti-war movement, the working class fights not only for the righ t to live but for finding solu tions to such problems as unem ploymen t , inflation and the decline of real wages which are largely engendered by the arms race. The working class expresses more than just its own interests ; i t reflects the aspirations of all mankind, which testifies to the proletariat's h u man itarian essen­ ce as a class that holds out the hope of libera­ tion from exploitation to all working people. Great is the role of communist and workers' parties i n bringing M arxist-Leninist ideology to broad segmen ts of the population . The new C PSU Program stresses: "The stren gth of revolu tionary parties lies i n t h e fact that they firmly uphold t h e righ ts and vital aspiration s of the working people, poin t out ways of leading society ou t of t h e crisis situation of bourgeois society, i ndicate a real alternative to the ex ploiter system and provide answers, imbued with social optimism , to th� basic question s of ou r time. They are the true exponen ts and the most staunch defenders of the national interests of their cou n tries . " 1 I

The Programme of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

A New Edition, Novosti Press Agency Publish ing H ouse, M oscow, 1 98 6 , p. 1 9 . 4•

52

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

The growth of the in ternational working class, its new social possibilities are a key factor for the further progress of the commu nist movement, as this growth is rooted i n the working class, in its struggle. The proletariat has always been and remains a fighting class, a class that fights exploitation of man by man and social inj ustice.

Ch apter Ill

TH E TRAD E U N ION M OV E M E N T I N T H E

D E V E LO P I N G STAT E S

T h e victory of the national liber­ ation revolutions in the cou ntries of Asia, Africa and Latin Ameri­ ca altered the political map of the world , liberati ng the bulk of mankind from the colonial yoke and striking a political and ideological blow at the capitalist system. With this victory began the slow and di fficult process of car­ rying out socio-economic trans­ formations i n countries accou nt­ ing for more than half the world's popu lation. In many of the you ng states the stru ggle for national liberation began to grow into a struggle against ex ploita­ tive relations , both feudal and c a pi tal ist B ut the imperialist states, part.

54

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

ly by pol i t ical maneuvering often by direct interf e ren c e by and large succeeded in pre­ servin g th e dependent economic relations with their former colonies and c rea t i n g a refi ned system of n eoc olon i alist ex ploitation . The de v e l op i ng states pursuing capitalist development i n w h ich more t h an 2 billion people live, have v i rtually become a sea of poverty. I n the early 1 980s per capita i ncome in t h e se cou ntries was 1 1 time s smaller than that in the developed c apital i st worl d . Since the mid - I 970s alone, the profits of U .S . corpora­ tions derived from o p e rations in the devel o p ing world have exceeded investme n ts i n this region by more than fou r times, and i n Latin A me rica and the C aribbean , by more than 8 times. The d eve l o ping countries are cau sed tre mendo us h arm by the neocolonialist po lic ies of the U .S.-controlled I n ternation al Monetary Fund ( I MF). In B olivia, a local oli g archy backed by th e I M F establ i shed a financial and economic dictatorsh ip t h at has cau sed mon­ strous harm to the national economy and the people's i n terest s U nder the model of de­ v e l opmen t adop te d there workers' social rights were d rastically curtailed, state en terprises were ravaged or transferred to the pri v ate sector, natural resources we re put at th e disposal of transnational corporations and u n­ limited privile g e s were granted to t h e ban kin g and com me rc ial bou rgeoisie. ,

­

­

.

T H E TRADE U N I O N M O V E M E N T IN T H E D E V E LO P I N G STAT E S

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Working through the I M F , world imperial­ ism sou ght and ach ieved d rastic pay cuts for workers in the developi ng world aimed at restricting con sumption in the region and i ncreasing exports, since reven ues from them go for servicin g the huge interest on the foreign debt . The hou rly wage of workers i n the advanced capitalist states i s h igher, and sometimes several times h igher , than the daily ear n i ngs of workers in Asia, Africa and Latin A merica. The conditions under which they work and live are barely enough to eke ou t a m eager existence. I n pursuit of maximum profits corporation s shut down enterprises at home and move prod uction lines closer to sou rces of cheap man power in the developing world. I mperialism con tinues to exist by and large by plundering the developing countries and mercilessly exploiting them. The forms and methods of this ex ploitation change, but its essence remains the same . For i nstance, a signi ficant part of U . S. ,national i ncome is derived from these sou rces . Inequitable terms of trade machi nations with cu rrency exchange and discou nt rates , and the plunderous opera­ tions of tran snational corporations help to make the poor poorer and the rich richer, and inten sify the polarization of wealth m the world capital ist economy . I n recent years the foreign debt of the developing world h as more than quintru pled

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WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

while demand for goods from these cou ntries on the world market has been declining. In the mid- l 980s yearly debt service pay ments on loans owed to capitalist states equalled half or even more of all export revenues. Combined with the large amount of capital taken away from the developi ng cou ntries as profits , mou nting indebtedness bodes for the develop­ ing world a further aggravation of social and economic proble ms. There is a causal link between the trillion­ dollar i ndebtedness of the developing world and the more than trillion -dollar growth of military spending by the U nited States over the last decade. The fact is that militari sm has a direct interest i n preserving and strengthening the system of neocolon ial su perexploi tation . Some 200 billion dollars are siphoned from the developing world an nually , a sum equal to that of the U nited States' military budget i n recent years . A m id the aggravation of capitalism's con­ tradictions and the shrinking of the sphere of its domination , neocolonialism is becoming i ncreasingly impo rtant to monopoly capital as a means for allaying social ten sion s in the leading bourgeois states, providing them room for maneuvering. l I

,,

,

T H E TRADE U N ION M O V E M E N T IN T H E D E V E LO P IN G STAT E S

57

The S t ru g g l e A g a i n st N eo c o l o n i a l i s m

T h e struggle against neocolonialism a n d for economic au tonomy has been given new im­ petus in the present setting. Playing a key role in this struggle are trade u nions. This is attribu table largely to the fac t that in many cou ntries of the developing world there h ave yet to arise influential political parties reflect­ ing the interests of the working class and of all workers. Trade unions are thus the only mass organizations defending these interests. The status, role and objectives of these trade unions are shaped by the main economic , political and social tendencies prevailing today in the de­ veloping world. With the advent of modern factories and industrial sectors and the forma­ tion of a skilled work force the trade union movement in the developing world has taken on a larger scope and political weight. The h ighest-skilled workers, organized in trade u nions, are em ployed at major enterprises. The experience of man y Latin American cou ntries , in particular Argentina, Venezuela, Columbia and Mexico, shows that highly­ skilled and well-paid indigenous e m ployees of enterprises owned by foreign corporations tend to b e more organ ized and consistent in their stru ggle against their em ployers. Notwith ­ standing their h igh standard of living relativ� to other categories of the working class, they feel the full impac t of the capitalist modern iza-

58

WHAT ARE T RA D E U N I O N S ?

tion d rive that has caused j ob lay-offs and i m pinged on the vital interests of the workers. By defending the interests of workers, trade u nions in the developin g world more and more often become the motive force behind the stru ggle with imperialism. Yet some of the trade u nions that arose with the support and sometimes direct participation of reformist U.S. and West European trade u nions, adopt to a certai n ex tent the ideology , forms and methods of activity of the latter. The monopolies strive to place the trade u nions in the developing world u nder their own control and direct their activities in their own interests. The American I n stitute for Free Labor Development, for instance , fou nded on the initiative of the A FL-C I O leadersh ip and managers of 60 big A merican corporations , is effectively u sed by A merican imperialism to split the trade union movement in Latin America . The I nstitute was established to train trade u nion officials wh ich the big corporation s hope will oversee their d rive to splinter the trade u n ion movement . More than 40,000 trade union fu nctionaries from the developing world h ave u ndergone training at a AFL-C I O trai ning center outside Wash ington a n d i n American trade union colleges situated in 1 1 cou ntries in the Western hemisp here . The I n stitute's activiti es a re funded largel y by the U . S . Treas ury Depar tment . The workers of the developing worl d active-

T H E T R A D E U N I ON M O V E M E N T IN T H E D EV E LO P I N G STAT ES

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ly rebuff the policies of imperialis m In the front ran ks of the popular masses' struggle against i m perialism and local reaction stand poli tical and trade u n ion organ izations embrac­ ing class positions wh ich help organize intran ­ sigen t stri kes across t h e con tinen t. N otable examples of recent years include a steel workers' strike in Sao Paulo, a wal kou t of rail workers in Buenos Aires, nationwide strikes in B olivia called by the n a tional trade u nion center, demonstrations by Chilean miners, and nationwide general strikes in Columbia called by the cou ntry's national trade u nion cou ncil. The trade u nion stru ggle has taken on a broad scope and has involved trade u nion organizations of varying orien tations. Among the demands most often made by the trade u nions of the continent is the guaran tee of trade u nion rights and freedom s, jobs, a social security system, wage increases and better j ob safety . At the same time, the demand is i ncreasingly made for economic independence from foreign co m panies and the restriction of their ac tivities In the pol icy documents of many trade unions foreign corporations a re named as the chief enemy of the people and a n all y of the local oligarchy. I n a resolution adopted at the First Trade U nion Congress of Latin A merican and Carib­ bean electrical industry wo r kers , it was stated tha t t he foreign ow n ed electrical industry is not only a source of astronomical profits for .

,

.

-

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WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

the foreign corporations made at the expense of local workers but also helps to make these cou ntries technologically dependent on the m, which serves to worsen the region's economic position and is a form of neocolonialism . For b reaking out of this colonial economic depend­ ency , the congress participan ts recommended that the electrical industry be nationalized , which would further the development of the region's economies. They also stressed that the loans gran ted by international banks to wh ich political strings are attached foster financial enslavement rather than developme n t and independence. The class-based trade unions of Jamaica consistently protect the interests of all workers, including those who belong to reformist trade union organizations. This promotes the growth of their n umbers as well as their influence and authority. The strike movement in the country is on the rise. Coca-Cola plant workers called a massive strike that was su pported by many other factory workers, who collected money and food for them. The stru ggle of workers and trade u nions against imperialism and local reaction is gain­ ing m omen tum i n Trinidad and Tobago, where work ers supported by a powe rful trade u nion m ove m en t noted fo r its co mbative ness h av.e �eco � e increasingly ac tive in protec ting the i r v ital m te res �s At the h ead of this struggle are th e trade u mons rep rese nting oil indu stry .

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workers a n d workers i n other industries, trans­ port and sugar plantation workers, and also bank em ployees and shipbuilding and ship repair workers. The Cou ncil of Progressive Trade U nion s actively cooperates with the merchan t marines and dockers' unions, and other trade union organizations belonging to the reformist-led Tri nidad and Tobago Labor Congress. The C hilean proletariat succumbed to a tragic plight. The country's trade u nions are the target of mass repressions, and trade u nion leaders and activists are abused , thrown behind bars or physically annihilated . Many of them have disappeared without trace. The Chilean government is out to crush the progressive labor movement and supplan t it with submis­ sive " yellow " trade u nions. To help, it has adopted repressive l aws which bar trade u nions from using membersh ip dues, make mandato­ ry membersh ip in large trade u nion organiza­ tions , restrict the right of workers to strike and hold j oint demon strations , and make it easier to repress trade u nion activists and striking workers. Only a few enterprises' trade u nion organizations have retained the right to bar­ gain with management. The Chilean au thorities set u p a corporate trade u nion organization , the N ational Unity Labor Fron t , to drive a wedge in the cou ntry's working class . Democ ratic forces within the cou ntry strive to stimulate organizations true to

62

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

their class interests i n to greater acuv1ty and coordinate these organizations' efforts. I n re­ spon se to the government's anti-u nion policies, Chilean trade u nion organizations have formed a u nited front comprised of the Chilean N ational Workers' U n ion , Confederation of Private Sector Employees, N ational Commi ttee for Coordinating the Activities of Trade U n ion Con federations , Federations and Organiza­ tions, and the U n ited Labor Fron t . The governme n t responded to a call made by radical u nions for the repeal of all restriction s on union activities with mass arrests and prison terms. Many trade u nion activists in El Salvador have fallen victim to a wave of govern ment terror. Union officials whose activities are perceived by the regime as a th reat are i mprisoned, while n u merous decrees , including one that allows torture t o be u sed for obtai ning a con fession , have presented authorities vast powers to quell opposition from the workers and their u n ion. The trade u n ions of A frica h ave also become more active of late . The growth of the African working class i s having a decisive impact on the nature of the class struggle a nd its socio­ economic and political thrust. It also reflec ts a major shift in the social stru ctu re of the gainfu lly employed populat ion . An increa se in the n u mber of wage wo rkers ex pands the soc i a l base of trade u nio ns and provides

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objective preconditions for trade u nions to exert greater influence on the socio-economic processes of the developmen t of society . The African trade u nions with i ncreasing frequency ad vocate anti-im perialist positions. I n Sudan , for example, stri king textile and railway workers' u nions, i n addi tion to de­ manding better work and living conditions, called for certain political demands, including an end to the neocolonialist policies pursued by the govern ment; and in N igeria more than 1 , 500 mining indu stry workers , united in a tra­ de u nion , successfully fou ght for their righ ts . Workers in a number of A frican cou ntries must fight for their rights amid extremely disadvantageous con ditions. In Egypt , for in­ stance, defying a governmen t ban on strikes , Cai ro railway workers declared a walkou t in mid- 1 986 in an attempt to win higher pay. The government responded by arresting 3 7 engine­ d rivers on charges of orchestrating the strike and inciting others to join the walkou t. Several of them were fou nd guilty and sen tenced to terms of h ard labor. In A frica , like on other continents, neocolon ialism u tilizes reformist trade u nion organizations for reinforcing its position , they push the African trade u nion movement to­ ward conciliation . Many trade u nion organ iza­ tions in capitalist-oriented A frican states have forged bilateral contacts with trade u nions in the U nited States, B ritai n , West Germany,

64

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I ON S ?

France and other Western nations, where n u merous seminars and courses have been organized s pecial ly for African trade union activists. The A frican wing of the AFL-C I O actively aids and abets neocolonialism and South Afri­ can racism. The goal of this organization is to infiltrate African trade u nions and prop u p regimes on the continent wh ich display no opposmon to imperialism's neocolonialist policies. The organization carries out vast propaganda work on the con tinent , focussing its efforts on those coun tries wh ere American corporations have made major i nvestments. I t spon sors t h e training of indigenous trade u nion officials , sets up schools, cooperatives and u n ions and conducts trade u nion seminars on social and economic developme n t issues . I t also widely employs the tactic o f bribing local trade union leaders . Repulsing imperialist policies on the African con tinent are trade u nions in cou ntries of socialist orien tation . They vigorously fight to limit the plunderous activities of monopolies in Africa. The t rade u n ions of these cou ntries h ave achieved certain success i n fighting foreign capital through local labor legislation. B u t since African governments have too little legal rights to effectively con trol the activities of foreign monopolies and regulate labor relations at enterprises owned by the m , the trade u nion s are relegated a key role .

T H E TRADE UN I ON M O V E M E N T IN T H E D E V E L O P I N G STAT ES

65

The trade union movement in Asia has achieved a certain degree of success in struggl­ ing for economic development, improvements in the standard of living of workers and broader rights for trade u nions. A serious obstacle i n this struggle is the lac k of unity among trade u nions of various political plat­ forms. The internationalization of capital pre­ sents propitiou s opportu nities for stren gthening the international solidarity of the working class and for unifying the trade u n ion movement in the capitalist world . However, monopolies pur­ sue a policy of setting workers from develop­ ing coun tries against workers of capitalist states, those from one region of the world against those of a di fferent region. I n spite of all this, Asian trade u nion organizations continue to pursue all possible , form s of cooperation . Asian trade u nions operating on a class position apply continuous efforts to forge contacts with variou s trade u nion organizations. Many trade union organizations are forced to work in trying conditions. In the Philip­ pines, for exam ple, the govern ment, caving in to pressure from foreign and local monopol ies, introduced measu res to curb the strike powers of trade unions. Dozens of them were either blacklisted or ou tlawed. The press launched an attack on left-wing u nion leaders, accusi ng them of being " subversives" who took orders from foreign "centers . " The police , govern5-633

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WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

men t troops and stri kebreakers were increas­ ingly called in to fight strikers. B loody cofron­ tations ensued . Progressive trade u nions were blamed for the consequences. U nder a new law, the government was made chief arbiter of labor con flicts and handed unlimited powers to quell stri kes. Monopolies, particularly foreign, make every effort to prevent workers from uniting in trade u nions. I n Thailand, the em ployees of the majority of private companies are non-u nion . Those who try to organ ize are i mmediately fired . According to the N ational Con gress of Thai Labor, of the nearly five million wage workers in the cou ntry , no more than 300,000 are union ized . The trade union movement in I ndia is also not without its difficulties. No more than a fou rth of the cou ntry s work force is u nion­ ized . Membersh i p in a trade union is based not on professional skil l s but on p a rty affiliation . I ndustry-orien ted trade unions are a rarity. Each enterprise has u p to ten different trade unions wh ich rarely cooperate or interact, adding to the d ifficulties typical for the cou n ­ try's trade u nion movement a s a whole. Notwi thstanding i n recent years I ndian trade u nions have been pu rsu ing their ac­ tivities with greater vigor. In 1 98 5 , fou r of the cou ntry's largest textile workers' trade u n ions met in Con gress. The Congress called for the nationalization of all textile plan ts and large '

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handicrafts enterprises with management to be turned over to em ployees and u n derscored the urgent need for the modernization of industry involving t h e fu ll u tilization of i ts capacities, sign ificant improvements in the work and living conditions of workers and an increase in t he man u facture of i nexpensive fabrics afford ­ able to the average worker. I n Pakista n , the government responds to efforts by workers to protect their rights with reprisals aimed at the u nions. Arrests and i m prison ment of trade u nion leaders con tinue, union-spon sored strikes are violently repressed . Arrested trade union activists are denied the right to defense in a cou rt of law . They are tried by mili tary tribunals who invariably find them guilty and send them to prison , where refined tortu re of prisoners is a normal practice . I n Turkey , trade union members pursue their activities at the risk of severe repression. Trade union organ izations are as a rule small ; the largest among them are the Con federation of Turkish Trade U n ions and the Con federa­ tion of Progressive Trade U n ions of Tu rkey (DISK). T h e influence of D I S K h as been on t h e rise i n recen t years. Operati ng within the limits of the law, D I S K has sou ght improvements in t h e workers' lot by opposing cuts in national social programs and advocating better living and work condition s, an expan sion of democratic s•

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and trade union righ ts , national independence, social progress and peace . Turkish ruling quarters lau nched a major assault on the organization , putting more than 400 of its activists on trial before a military tribunal. D I S K cou nted more than 600,000 members. M ilitary authorities accused D I S K of dis­ seminating com mu nist propaganda and con­ ducting an ti-constitutional subversive activities ultimately aimed at toppling the current re­ gime. In fact, however, D I S K did not act as a pol itical party. I t was set up in strict accord­ ance with the cou n try's constitution . In stand­ ing u p for the vital interests of workers, however, DISK cou ld not remai n u ninvolved in current political issues, so it was ou tlawed .

F o r a N ew E c o n o m i c O rd e r

T h e peoples of Asia, Africa and Latin America have been subjected to plunder over the lifespan of many generations. Yet the political freedom won by the newly free nations was but the first step in the direction of true independence - economic. In recogni­ tion of this, the U . N . General Assembly at its sixth special session in 1 97 4 adopted the Declaration on the Establishment of a New I n ternational Economic Order and the P ro­ gram of Action for the Establish ment of a N ew I n ternational Economic Order.

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The N ew I n ternation al Economic Order is to be based on the sovereign equality of states, self-determination for · all peoples, freedom of choice of an economic and social system, the impermissibility of using force for acqu iring territory, teFritorial integrity of all nations , non-interference in t h e internal affairs o f other states, a n d full sovereignty of every nation over its natural resources and national economy, including the righ t to nationalization and the regulation of the activities of transna­ tional corporations. The main ways for realizing these goals were defined as follows. In the area of world trade- through the establi shmen t of fair prices that would cause no harm to the national interests of developi ng cou ntries and not lead to the enrichment of the industrialized cou n­ tries at the farmer's expense. In the area of international settlements- through reform of the currency system with account bei ng taken of the in terests and specific requ irements of the developing cou ntries. The new system of international economic relations also presu pposes greater development aid on less stringent te rms and the transfer of h igh tech nology . O f special significance to the developing world in the realization of the new internation ­ al economic order are the export of raw materials and manufac tured goods , industrial­ iza tion , imports of tec h nology, financial aid , currency reform , eliminating food sh ortages,

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economic cooperation with industrialized cou n­ tries , and also the set of issues concerning the situation in the most economically bac kward cou ntries. The struggle for the establish ment of a new world economic order is primarily a struggle against the domi nance of transnational corpo­ rations (TNCs) . In the developing world trans­ nationals plunder national resources , u nder­ mine the economy and make the local bourgeoisie and government agree to terror in dealing with the growing labor movement. TNCs are rabid foes of trade u nions. In establish ing subsidiaries abroad and exploiting cheap labor, the monopolies seek to curb the expansion of trade u nions and split the labor movemen t. Transnationals plot cruel repres­ sions of trade u nion leaders and throw union activists out of jobs. Among the weapons in their arsenal are blac kmail , terror , threats and reprisals . They force workers to join " yellow " unions which are obedient servants of the transnationals. Cou n tering the anti-labor policies of the TNCs is one of the key directions of the class stru ggle in the developing worl d . Workers pursue every avenue to rebuff the TNC policies. International solidarity has become increasingly important in the struggle for u pholdi ng the interests of the working class. The present international economic order has led the developing nations into a deep

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socio-economic crisis that has left its im print on every area of life. This makes it imperative to revise the existing economic and political relations between the developing world and the industrialized cou ntries . A structural realignment of relations would offer workers of the developing world a real chance to improve their standard of living. The N ew I n ternational Economic Order can become real only if all members of the working class in developing cou ntries rally in a joint struggle . Only then can it be hoped to disman tle the present structu re of neocolon ialist relations. In recent years trade u nions h ave become more active, particularly in Latin America, in the struggle for equitable terms of trade, an issue brought to the fore by the sharp deterio­ ration of the social and economic situation within these cou ntries. H owever, stri king un­ ions h ave yet to present the demand for the establish men t of a new world economic order. In recen t years Latin A merican trade u nions have begun to accord more weigh t to the struggle for achieving fairer prices on raw material exports at a time when the prices on imported man ufactured goods have risen wh ile those on raw materials have steadily declined. The developing cou ntries seek with increas­ ing vigor the establish ment of a new interna­ tional economic order. H owever, the imperial­ ist powers have no intention of yielding to their demand s , especially on the issues of ' use

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WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

of natural resources, effective control of the TNCs and access of the domestic markets of developing cou ntries for certain goods. The limited concessions made by the industrialized capitalist cou ntries have hardly affected the overall situation . The imperialist states effectu­ ally block the just demands of the developing nations at international conferences and as­ semblies. Resorting to n eocolonialist methods , the TNCs have stepped u p their penetration of developing world economies. At presen t foreign monopoly capital con trols key sectors of the economy in a majority of African countries. The main form of this penetration is long-term private investments, i n the African countries' prod uction sphere, especially direct investments. TNCs are respon sible for the bulk of all investments in Africa, wh ich they channel­ led into extractive sectors, and more recently into processi ng industries. I n many African countries foreign sub­ sidiaries are responsible for a la rge share of gross national prod uct of the host cou ntry. In English-speaking Africa, TNCs account for 34 percen t of the local G N P, and in Fran­ cophone Africa, they prod uce 42 pe rcen t of the GNP. The profits of foreign subsidiaries operating in A frica are much higher than the inflow of new direct investments. Between 1 970 and 1 980, foreign investments in Africa a mou nted

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to $4,339 million , while d u ring the same period $ 1 5 ,923 million were exported from the con tinent as profits. Yet direct investments are not the only means used for enslaving the developing cou ntries. These cou ntries are un­ able to shake their dependence on mon opoly­ controlled capitalist markets owing to the fluctuation of world prices on export good s, less favorable terms of trade , persistent infla­ tion , and the mou nting indebted ness of the developing world . The TNCs are also responsible for the changing structure of agricultu ral prod uction in the developing world . The emphasis on exports of food products has made them less available for domestic consumption , having an inflationary impact on prices. TNC policies in the agrarian sector have government su pport in a nu mber of develop­ ing cou ntries . In the Philippines, for exam ple , the A merican food industry giant Del M on te , which h a s subsidiaries i n more than 30 cou n­ tries , has greatly expanded its operations . Del Monte own s 7 , 000 hectares of plantations in the Philippines, where it grows pineapples, bananas and vegetables. Another American company, U nited Fruit, controls 1 6,000 hec­ tares on the islands. The eagerness of these companies to expand their operations in the Philippines is ex plained by the fact that in H awaii, for example, plantation workers earn $ 2 . 64 an hour, and

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canning plant employees $2.69 an hour, while in the Philippines Del Monte pays its workers 15 and 20 cen ts an hour, respectively . Economic developmen t that is dependent on imperialism bri ngs the workers of the develop­ ing world only poverty and suffering. For the TNCs, the only goal is super-profits ; nothing else matters . In pursu ing this goal, they are not moved by the su ffering, illness and even death from h unger of mil lions of people . A study of the pharmaceu tical indu stry in I ndia fou nd that foreign su bsidiaries operating there withd rew from the cou ntry three times more currency than they brou ght in; 15 TNCs recou ped their initial investment after fou r years of operation , after which they reaped pure profit. U . S . corporations, with $ 1 40 billion in assets in the country, managed to transfer to the U n ited States $76.4 billion a year in the form of dividends, in terest re­ venues and other payments. The study also fou nd that the presence of TNCs in I ndia had little effect on employment; TNCs were re­ sponsible for the creation of no more than 1 8, 000 jobs. Twenty-five foreign pharmaceutical manufacturers accou nt for more than half of all output of medicines in the cou ntry , yet the bulk of their output is intended for export. The transnationals take advan tage of the yearning of the newly free states to tac kle the issue of economic developme nt. This policy is

I

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vjvidly seen in free trade zones in which entire industrial sectors are created to meet the needs of the world capitalist market without thought given to the consequences this may have for the domestic economy. The n u mber of such zones in the developing world is rising sharply I n these zones workers h ave little recourse to the protection of trade u nions though wages at TNC-run en terprises are the lowest . In Asia, wages at such enterprises ran ge from 13 to 60 U . S . cen ts per hour. Such wages are made possible by the ban on trade u nion activi ty and the lack by workers of legal righ ts in these free trade zones. Working in these sectors are p redominantly women between the ages of 1 6 and 2 5 . They make u p 7 5 percent o f the work force employes} in the developing world in export-related industries. In Taiwan , 80 per­ cent of those employed i n export-related in­ dustries are wome n . They receive half the wages of men for the same work . The six-day workin g week is standard , and individual output quotas are so high that many must work 1 0- 1 2 hou rs each day to fu lfill them. And a lthough in most developing cou ntries a 48hou r wo r king week has been legislated, in free trade zones this law is ignored . In Sri Lanka, for instance, the normal working week often lasts 70 hours. Social security deductions fro m paychecks average arou nd 30 percent in the developing world . I n the free trade zones , howe v e r .

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WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

workers generally do not receive any kind of state benefits They are not granted sick leave or vacation , and pregnant women are often fired . Work loads are h eavy. Labor productivi­ ty levels in the free trade zones are usually as h igh as those at si milar enterprises in the developed capitalist cou ntries. For instance , the hou rly ou tpu t of a textile plant in the free trade zones of M alasia is the same as that of similar plants i n the U nited States, West Germany or Japan . I n the free trade zones membership in a trade u n ion is in many cases sufficient grou nd for bei ng fired . The ban on trade u n ion activity wi thin the zones may prove detrimental to the inte rests of workers outside the zones as well. This is witnessed by events in Sri Lanka and the Philippines, where the powers of trade u nions at the national level were curbed because of their opposition to the creation of free trade zones. The struggle by the developing cou ntries for the establish ment of a new international economic order is being fou gh t on all fronts. This struggle is being merged with the efforts by trade u n ions to protect the vital interests of workers and gain the righ t to organize The si tuation is compou n ded by the fact that trad e union organ ization s in certain develo ping cou ntries have succumbed to pressure from the imperialists and embraced a policy of conciliation. The conciliatory policies of indi.

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vidual trade u mon leaders is what made the creation of free trade zones possible i n the fi rst place . Many of these leaders endorse an "open doors" policy under which the primary em­ phasis is put on the development of export industries . The TNCs are the major investors in such ventures. Trade u nions vary in their views on the activities of transnationals. Some trade u nion leaders atgue that TNCs are the only available sou rce of investmen ts for developing new industries. They also credit TNCs with the c reation of j obs, the tech nical training of the work force, providing the opportu nity to u tilize local material resources and man power and offering a sou rce of hard cu rrency earn­ mgs. Trade union leaders who support class posltlons reject these opportun istic arguments. They justly believe that the TNCs exploit every opportu nity to mobilize local financial re­ sources and drain scarce local capital away from national industries. As the operations of the T N C s i n the developing world expand, the financial i ndebt­ edness of these countries is growing at a phenomenal rate. The total debt of the developing world now stands at more than a trillion dollars. The foreign debt of the ASEAN coun tries rapidly increases. I n 1 984, all the ASEAN cou ntries owed foreign ban ks $66 billion ; today, the Philippines

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alone has a foreign debt of nearly half that su m . Ex ploiting the human and natural resources of the developing world, transnationals turn local wealth into a source of scandalous for­ tu ne. As a result, the developing nations are forced to resort to foreign loans. Servicing the loans and the interest on them requires new loans, locking these nations in a vicious circle out of wh ich there is no escape. New devices have been added to standard means of ex ploit­ ing and plu nderi ng the developing world. One such device resorted to widely in Latin A meri­ ca i s " technological colonialism . " Payments for such things as foreign patents, licenses and trade marks, as well as management and other tech nology-related serv ices in six developing cou ntries alone (Argentina, Colu mbia, B razil , Mexico, C h ile and Venezuela) accou nt for 3 0 percen t of all foreign paymen ts of the develop­ ing cou ntries. The developing cou ntries are forced to buy lice n ses from TNCs u nder crippling terms wh ich often proh ibit or limit the ex port of goods produced u nder the acquired license . With increasing frequency national and in­ ternational trade union cen ters in the develop­ ing cou n tries are placing on their agenda the demand that tran snationals be con trol led and th at a new international economic order be implemented immediately. However, many trade u nion organizations are finding it dif-

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ficult to coordinate their action s with other such organizations because of the inexperience of their ran ks and the faith of their leadersh ip in the policy of class peace. Today an effective struggle against transna­ tional corporations i s impossible relying on a single cou ntry's efforts alone, as long as trade u nions are concerned abou t only what is happening in their own cou ntry . A con tradic­ tion exists between the transnational expansion of corporations and the national orien tation of trade u nions. The world trade u nion move­ ment has not yet been able to achieve u nity in its struggle to curb the powers of TNCs for a number of reasons. A mong them is the fear among workers in the capitalist world of losi ng their jobs as a result of the relocation of factories to developi ng cou ntries . The strategies pu rsued by the transnationals have resu lted i n curtailing em ployment in the cou ntry where their headquarters is located . This has driven trade u nion leaders in the i ndustrialized cou ntries to seek guaran tees against the further reduction of the nu mber of j obs. Many transnational corporations h ave striven to disrupt ties between em ployees of foreign subsidiaries and the mother company, cau sing fragmen tation of the trade u nion movement. Such transnational corporations as I nternational B usiness Mach ines and Eastman Kodak, b y paying employees of their cen tral e nterprises h igh wages, have prac tically sue-

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ceeded in dividing workers. I n some countries, strikes and boycotts called to show solidarity with workers abroad are banned . Tran snational corporations are much better organized for conducting an international struggle against workers than trade u nions are. I t is very difficult for trade u nions to coordi­ nate simultaneous strikes at • different sub­ sidiaries of the same TNC located all across the globe . These difficulties are compounded by the division of the trade u nion movement at the national level , due to the presence of several trade u n ion cen ters, often ideologically opposed , within a single country. The world's largest trade union organization , despite their dissimilar political views and approaches to the problems of development, have agreed on a common strategy for the im plementation of a new i nternational economic order. I ts main poin ts are : - the broad participation of workers and trade u nions in all stages of the drafting and carrying ou t of developmen t plan s ; - public control, including t h e nationaliza­ tion of the key sectors of the economy ; democratic management of enterprises in the state sector; - the carrying out of an agrarian reform with the active pa rticipation of the p� asan try and agricultural workers ; - industrialization aimed at raisi ng the population's standard of living;

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- the adoption of a mandatory Behavior Code for all TNCs having the force of law ; - international regulation of tech n ology transfe r ; - reform of t h e inte r nat i onal monetary and financial syste m to eliminate the domination of monopoly capita l ; - equitable a n d mu tually-profitable interna­ tional economic cooperation ; dismantling of the barriers to the ex pansion of trade and a n a d j ust m ent of the system of preferential trade st a tus in favor of developing cou n tries ; - provision of trade u nions with access to essen tial i n form a tion ; - entitling workers to conclude internation ­ al collective agreements ; - increased aid t o the developing cou ntries and cancellation of their foreign debt; - implemen tation of effective measu res to combat unem ployment; h alting of the arms race and effective cuts in military budgets, with a share of the money thus saved to be sent to the developi ng world as aid. The issue of d i sar m a m ent occupies a cen tral place in th is strategy. The arms race draws eno r mous resou rces away from development programs. H u ndreds of billions of dollars are s pent on armaments each year, not only in the i n dustrialized cou ntries but in the developing world as wel l , where the pace of this spending is r apidly growi ng. The 'total military spending -

6-633

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WHAT A R E TRA D E U N I O N S ?

now exceed s $ 1 00 billion a year. As a resu lt, sources of funds for socio-economic develop­ ment and i ndustrialization are shrinking, infla­ tion and external debt mou nt, and democratic processes are being rolled back. Another harmful side effect of the arms race is that more than a quarter of all scien tists and researchers i n the world h ave been drawn into the defense industry . This branch of industry is the largest single consumer of non­ replen ishable natural resources . This explains why the advocates of a new international economic order call for deep cuts in military spending. No t o A p a rt h e i d !

All people are born equal irrespective of the color of their skin . Yet there a re those who would like to perpetuate inequality and racism. The i ndigenous population of Sou th A frica is fighting for l iberation from racial discrimi na­ tion and the yoke of capital under tyran nical conditions . Only wh ites have the right to vote there . Sixteen percent of the population own 86 percent of the land and all natural re­ sources. More than 1 ,600 Blacks are arrested daily for the violation of passport laws, which proh ibit the free migration of B lacks through­ out the coun try. Most of the B lack population has been d riven into bantustan s wh ich resem­ ble concentration camps, where h unger and

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disease are rampant. Three in five infants die from malnutrition before they reach the age of two. The situation i n South Africa has significan t­ ly worsened in recent years during which a new wave of reprisals was lau nched . The racist regime considers it normal to lock innocent people away in jail without trial, among them trade u nion leaders, the clergy and students. Many have died i n police tortu re chambers . The trade u nions play a pivotal role in the struggle agai nst apartheid . The racists make every effort to undermine the B lack trade u n ions and place them u nder their control. U nder the pretext of reforming the trade u n ion system, South African au thorities have stepped up their assault on u nion rights of the B lacks. U nder the 1 97 9 law , the B lack trade u nions were gran ted the right to be officially registered . In fact, however, only those organ­ izations are legally recogn ized wh ich have pledged to abandon political struggle and resigned themselves to aparthei d . The same law placed strict con trol over the activities of Blac k u nions , thus preserving the p ri m ac y of the wh ite minority. The officially recognized u n ions are closed to a majority of the B lack po pu lation , forcing the African proletariat to set up their own unions whose members work p re d o m i nantly in the mining and man u factur­ ing indu stries , communications, trade and the services and transportation sector.

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The Sou th African trade union movemen t has witnessed major changes over the last few years. There were more strikes in South Africa i n the first hal f of I 985 alone than there h ad been in all of I 982 , the previous record year for the n umber of stri kes. In N ovember I 985 the South African Congress of Trade U nions (SACTU) was bor n , a national federation of B lac k and anti-racist trade u nions with a combined membership of more than half a million workers . Total u nion membership in the cou n try is close to one mil lion : in l 979, when unions were first legalized , membe rsh ip stood at no more than 1 6 ,000 workers . Major stri kes of mine workers were held in 1 984 and 1 985 , which were ruthlessly suppressed by authorities. The first strike by Black miners took on a general character , demon strating the enormous power possessed by B lac k workers . I n 1 985 , for the first time in the h istory of the South African trade union movement, B lack and white workers who h ad banded together made joint demands on the magnates of industry ; they h ad called for an increase in pay , the introduction of a 40-hour working week (it is currently 50 hou rs) , and greater employee social security ben efits. The success of the workers i n ac hieving u nity forced the racists to mount an offensive. The au thori ties backed by ultra-right qu arters lau nched a broad campaign against freedom fighters. H owever, this new on slaught fou nd

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t h e wh ite popu lation divided , with government officials and skilled workers in favor of pre­ serving apartheid but with some businessmen and the majority of teachers and students opposed . The opposition of the busi ness com­ m u n ity was more economic than poli tical. Having ex pa nded together with foreign capi­ tal, Sou th African industrialists felt constrai ned within national bou ndaries ; they were faced by a shortage of s killed workers among Blacks, made even worse by restrictions on their movement in the cou ntry , etc. Recent years h ave seen changes in the nature of the strike movement at foreign ente rprises in Sou th Africa . A fraid for their profi ts , the transnational corporation s have called for the lifting of restriction s on the movemen t of B lacks and for the granting to Black businessmen of the right to engage i n business i n white districts . Foreign corporation strategists hope that such measu res would be i n s t r u mental in the emergence of a B lack bourgeoisie that wou ld act as a class ally and be a breeding grou nd of conciliatory political and t rade u nion leaders. They also hope to form in this wav a social base for the strengthening of their ow n domi nance. A grad ual relaxation has followed the restrictions on B lac k businessmen i n th e t rade sector, for d rawing credi ts, in buying land, etc . The ultimate goal of all this is to divide the B l ack popu lation , cou nter the growing influ-

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ence of the working class in the d rive against apartheid , smash the strike movement and try to smooth over the con tradiction s between labor and capital . TNC strategists hope that the Black population will be con ten t with su perficial reforms in the A partheid system and that, by granting small i ncreases in pay and social benefits, they can con tinue to exploit it, as of old . The transnational corporations are prepared to make concessions to the trade u nions in order to steer them onto a reformist path and confine their demands to narrow economic interests. At the same time, the monopolies in alliance with the white minority regime apply harsh rep ressive measures to deal with the trade u nions. In one such case , direc tors of the I mpala platinum mine in the B lack bantustan of Bophuthatswana dismissed 2 0 ,000 em­ p loyees after they had demanded recognition of the righ t to form independent trade u n ions and pay hikes m a strike that lasted five days. The u psu rge of the class stru ggle prec1p1tated the formation of SAC T U , which de­ manded the immediate disman tling of the system of apartheid. Representing nearly a half million workers from 33 independent trade unions, SACTU , wh ich is a member of the anti-Apartheid United Democ ratic Front, has consisten tly called for the seizure of for­ eign assets in the coun try and the im position

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of international sanction s on the racist regime. The workers of Sou th Africa are joining multiracial trade u nions i n increasing n umbers and have s poken out against the common enemy from class positions. I n j ust one of h u ndreds of similar cases, union activist To­ zamile Gweta was eight times arrested by the South A frican secret police and thrown in jail. His house was torched by " u nidentified per­ sons , " killing his mother. During her fu neral at which more than 3 , 000 mourners attended, police opened fire. I n South A frica whites who oppose A par­ theid are also killed. Typical i n this respect is the murder of Neil Agget, a trade u nion figure who was opposed to A partheid and was an active participant i n the multiracial trade u nion movement. Agget was the first white political p ri soner murdered by security officials after the i ntroduction in 1 96 3 of a law allowing arrest and imprison ment without court order . Although strikes by B lacks are banned i n the country, the workers have attracted i ncreasing su pport from b road segments of the popula­ tion , especially from among students, the clergy and farmers. The coordination of economic struggle with political activity h as allowed the workers to achieve greater organ ­ izational u nity and effec tiveness. The Zionists of Tel Aviv act as true racists in respect to the i ndigenous population of I srael and their trade u nion organizations, and also

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to the popu l atio n of the occu pied Arab lands. Trade union ac t i v ity is paral y z ed by an atmo­ spher e of terror and violence and the flouting of the elemen tary rights of workers . The Palestinians, their organizations, including trade u nions, are harassed and persecu t ed in every way . Thousa n ds of innocent Palestinia n s have been arrested . I sraeli j a i lers are infamous for their use of tortu re on prisone rs subject­ ing them to electric shock , beatings with rubber clubs or metal rods, dog attac ks, h a n gi n g head down and cigarette b urns to the skin. A m ong the pri s oners who a re tortured are many t rade u nion act i v ists I n s pi te of the terror and violence and the repression of Arab trade unions , the Palesti­ nians have waged a stubborn figh t for libera­ tion . Demonstrations and strikes involving the en tire indigenous popu l ation are a regu l a r occurrence on the A rab l ands occu pied by the I s raelis The trade u nions play an active role in these protests . ,

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T r a d e U n i o n s i n C o u n t r i es of S o c i a l i st O r i e n t at i o n

The eme rgence of a whole g rou p of states opting for the socia l i s t path of dev e lopment was the result of the further advance of the n ationa l liberation movemen t and the rei n­ forcement of its social thrust. From the strug­ gle of former co lon ial na t ions for national and

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social inde pendence a strategy of national development emerged that embraced the M arx­ ist-Leninist theory on the possibility of the non-capitalist development of states which were formerly victims of im perialist plunder. This strategy is aimed at fostering rapid economic growth , the creation of a socio­ economic base through the expansion of the state sector, discarding of the former interna­ tional division of labor foisted on the colonies by imperialism , and the building in the future of a society relying on socialist principles. Following this strategy should lead to the ach ievemen t of economic independence by way of changing and diversifying industrial output, organizing agriculture into cooperatives and realigning foreign trade to give priority to trade with socialist cou ntries. The states of sol·ialist orientation are con­ fronted by a tangle •Jf complex socio-economic problems. They must focus their energies on gaining control of key economic sectors such as industry , tran sportation , communication s, con­ struction, foreign and domestic trade, ban king, finance and insurance. Doi ng so u sually re­ quires time and much patience. The ultimate success of these states i n their endeavor depends largely on how well they ex ploi t the advan tages they have over develop­ ing states which have embarked on a capitalist path of development. Amon g the advan tages at their disposal is the possibility, relying on

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broad segments of workers, of achieving great­ er consolidation of classes within society; centralization and economic plan ning based predominan tly on the state sector ; experience by other socialist cou ntries ad j u sted to fit local conditions ; the broad application of the mechanism of state fi nance as well as credit and currency policies; the financing of state programs by confiscating part of the income of the rich , expropriating the assets of foreign and local private companies who sabotage the policies of the revolu tionary govern ment and nationalizing the property of former colonizers who fled abroad ; economic activity cen tered in the burgeoning state sector, mostly i n the key b ranches of the economy ; extensive economic and moral support from the socialist camp and from all progressive forces i n the world . The carryin g ou t of poli tical and socio­ economic reforms in states of socialist orienta­ tion is a far from smooth affair. Progress in instituting reforms is i mpeded by internal contradictions, some inherited from the pre­ vious regime, others a natural outcome of the tran sition to a society free from exploitation bypassing the capitalist phase of development. States of socialist orien tation also face difficul­ ties emanating from abroad . The i mperialists h ave yet to resign themselves to the breakaway of these states from the world capitalist system. Trying to block the national and social libera­ tion of peoples, they present things as if the

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changes in t h e developing world were the resu lt of "international terrorism , " and not objective processes. With the help of these cynical assertions, the im perialist powers hope to j ustify their policy of destabilizin g progres­ sive regimes and flou ting the elemen tary rights of peoples and stem the tide of an ti-capitalist changes in the developing world . I n the war against monopolies and their minions much depends on the size, strength and activeness of workers' public organizations , among wh ich trade unions play a prominent role. While in the capitalist states severe persecu­ tion of trade u nions is a normal occurrence, in the cou n tries of socialist orien tation the situa­ tion of trade u nions is entirely different. The policies of the trade u n ions, which act here i n the interests of millions of workers , dovetail with the policies of the ru ling political parties and the goals of the government. In these states the labor movement is expanding briskly, as is i ts contribution to the buildi n g of a new society and the raising of the working classes' standard of living. In the People's Republic of Congo, the Congolese Trade U nion Federation has a membersh ip of nearly 1 00 ,000 workers, or 1 5 percent of the country's work force. There are also trade u nions for seven differe n t indu stries. T h e confederation sees i t s goal a s ral lying workers behind t h e Congolese Labor Party's program for expanding the economy

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and ensuring a h igher standard of living for workers and of raisi ng their culture. The trade unions of Ethiopia, including the All-Ethiopia T rade U n ion (AETU) with over 300 ,000 members, ac tively participate in the socio-economic reforms taking place in the cou n try. The same can be said of the national trade u nion organ izations in Angola, Mozambi­ que, Benin, Afghanistan , Kam puchea and other cou ntries of socialist orientation . The main purpose of A fghan trade unions is to promote the increase of labor productivity and the im provement and expansion of indus­ trial output, encou rage labor competition amon g workers and foster prosperity of the working people. Engaged i n this endeavor are 30 provincial-level trade u n ion cou ncils re pre­ sen tin g 700 primary organizations and 1 70 ,000 workers. Membership in the cou n try's trade u nions conti nues to grow . The Federation of Kam puchean Trade U n­ ions, founded i n 1 9 7 9 after the cou n try was liberated from the bloody Pol Pot regi me, has done much to revive the operation of more than 300 enterprises, eliminate unemployment and illi teracy and i mprove the people's work­ ing and living conditions. I n A ngola , the cou ntry's work force , led by the trade u nions, which encou rage patriotic com petition among workers, is intimately i n ­ volved in fu lfilli ng t h e n ational five-year economic and social develop ment plans.

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The labor movem ent in cou ntries of social ist ori en tation still have many u n resolved prob­ lems. Some lack organ izational zeal , others face the problem of recru iting new members from among the e merging wo rk force. Yet, what is important for all of them is that their activities a re in line with t he interests of the working people and that they are free to ac t, having the su pport of their peo ple's govern ments . The speci fic challenges lying ah ead of the trade u n ions in cou ntries of socialist orienta­ tion stem from the nature of the tasks facing the whole nations. Past experience in the developing world shows that in the first few years of development, when the work ing class has yet to assume political power, progressive reforms aimed at erasing feudal privileges and property, nationalizing the assets of local and foreign ca pital and building up the state sector can be successful only if these reforms h ave the su p port of workers . It is here that the trade u nions can and must play a key role. By calling for the restructuring of the system of inequ itable economic relations left over from the age of imperialism to make it more fair and democ ratic, workers and trade u n ions make a contribu tion to the common struggle of the developi ng cou n tries for poli tical and social liberation. In this stru ggle they receive con­ tinuous aid and s u pport from the Soviet U nion and other socialist cou ntries.

Chapter I V

U N D E R S O CIALI ST C O NDITIO N S

U nder capitalism working people possess many formal rights that are not tran slated into life. Trade unions have to wage a dogged figh t to see that these rights are u pheld . The situation is com pletely different u nder socialism. Trade unions in social­ ist cou ntries -by virtue of their influence on political and economic decision-making and active participation in tackling social matters, as well as their efforts to involve workers broad ­ ly in the managemen t of govern ­ men tal and public affairs - a re key in the development of democ­ racy, primarily in the productive sphere, the main area in which man applies his creative abili ties .

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T ra d e U n i o n s i n t h e S oc i a l i st P o l i t i c a l Syste m

U nder socialism trade u nions are a chief constituent of the political system of society and of the system of socialist democracy, ensuring that the working people's power is used to foster the building of socialism and communism and the progress of all h u man­ kind. A trade u nion , said Len i n , "is an organization designed to d raw in and to train ; i t is, i n fact, a school : a school of ad ministratio n , a school of economic management, a school o f . com munism . " l U nder socialism changes took place i n the content and class essence of trade u nion activities. They became a more active creative force , a direct participant in the building of a new society. They work hand in hand with the socialist state and conduct their activities under the guidance of a M arxist-Leninist party . The foes of socialism assert, inter alia, that since trade u nions i n socialist cou ntries recog­ n ize the guiding role of the Communist Party in socialist society , they are therefore i ncapable of independent decision-making. But the ex­ perience of the building of socialism refutes these conjectu res . The triumph of the G reat October Socialist Revolu tion in 1 9 1 7 ensured the creation of the I V. I.

Len i n , " O n the Trade U n i on s , "

Vol . 3 2 , 1 9 7 7 ,

p. 20.

Collected Works,

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world's first state of workers and peasants . The Russian working class became the dominan t , ruling class . Lenin defined t h e new role a n d tasks of trade u nion s : " Yesterday the chief task of the trade u n ions was the stru ggle against capital and defence of the class independence of the proletariat. Yesterday the slogan of the day was distrust of the state , for it was a bou rgeois state . Today the state is becoming and has become proletarian . The working class is becoming and has become the ru ling class in the state . The trade unions are becoming and must become state o rganization s wh ich have prime res ponsibility for the reorgan ization of all economic life on a socialist basis. " 1 The creative process of build ing a new society and improving socialism is unthinkable without the guiding role of the Com munist Party, whose augme n ted i n fluence was a reflec­ tion of the clear need for the advance of socialist society . The Party exercises ideological and political guidance of both state and public o rganizations. We might ask , in what way does the Party guide the activities of trade u nion s ? Trade unions a r e t h e bac kbone of t h e Party, its active helper. In working with broad segme n ts of the popu lation , trade u nions , guided b y t h e Party Program , assist the Party m its multiform efforts to guide society . 1 V . I. Lenin , "Version of the A rticle 'The I m m e d iate Tasks ' , " Collected Works, Vol. 27, 1977, p. 2 1 5.

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Trade u nion s are organizationally indepen­ dent. They act i n compliance with their char­ ters and on the basis of decisions made independently and democratically . The Party respects the organizational independence of trade u nions and takes stock of this i n its activities ; the Party does not meddle in the ongoing affairs of trade u nions . But the Party has no policies or ideology in which the vital interests of workers , of all working people in general are not reflected . The Party Program is a guide to action for the en tire working class and the entire nation -and, logically , for the trade u nions. In some socialist cou ntries there exist more than one political party, each of wh ich repre­ sen ts the interests of different segments of the population. Yet these parties always act as a single bloc and are i nvariably guided by a Marxist-Leninist party - the political vanguard of working people . U nder socialism, relations between trade u nions and the Party are always close ; in this relationship the Party exercises the guiding role and the t rade u nions have full organiza­ tional independence. Also, trade u nions play a key role in preparing for and holdi ng elections to state power bodies. Many represen tatives of state power are elected from among the trade union leadership and rank-and-file activists. Soviet trade union represen tatives, for example , par7�3

98

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unpate in the work of the Soviet govern ment and the government of the constituen t republics , of various ministries and agencies and of Soviets of People's Depu ties. Economically, cooperation between trade u n­ ions and the state u nder socialism is based on pu blic ownersh ip of the means of p roduction and orr the socialist system of managemen t . T h e Soviet Constitution a n d other legal acts define the legal framework for such coopera­ tion . Typically, no legislation has ever been passed i n the Soviet Union that has restricted the rights of trade u nions. On the contrary , their au thority has steadily grown . T h e socialist state provides wide-ranging assistance to trade u nions in the area of managing production. Questions regardi ng worker participation i n the production process are the joint responsibility of state bodies and trade u nions. The corresponding rights of citizen s , work collectives and trade unions, the duties and respon sibilities of state economic bodies and their officials, are all legally pro­ tected by the Constitution , Labor Code and other legislation of res pective socialist cou ntries and are spelled ou t in the Rules of trade u nions and in the resolutions of their central organs. One i ndicator of true democ racy in exercis­ ing the fu nctions, rights and practical activities of trade u nions is that matters affecting only the trade u nions themselves and questions of

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internal democracy (the internal structure of trade u nions , the rights and duties of their members, j urisdiction , the forms and methods of work , etc . ) are regulated only by the norms laid down by the trade u nions themselves in the form of the Trade U n ion Rules , the Rules of particular occupational u nions or b y other trade union reglamen tations. Enforcement of these Rules and reglamentations lies not with the state but with trade unions, wh ich may impose d isciplinary measures in the event of their violation . The socialist state does not meddle in the affairs of trade u nions but even provides legal guarantees of their right to independent deci­ sion-making. Thus, as can be seen , trade u nion s u nder socialism are built and operate on a genui nely democratic fou ndation . Sov iet trade unions, with a membersh ip of more than 1 38 million people , are the si ngle largest mass organ ization in the country . They bring together on a voluntary basis members of work collectives of industrial and agricultur­ al enterprises, of agricultural cooperatives and state i nstitutions as well as students of h igher and secondary special and vocational ed uca­ tional i n stitu tions , irrespective of ethnic back­ grou nd , sex or religious con victions. Soviet trade unions are made up primarily of mem­ bers of the working class . I n recent years collective farmers have accounted for an in­ creasi n g share of trade u n ion members .

1 00

WHAT A R E TRADE U N IONS ?

Trade unions are built along the lines of democratic centralism. U nder this system, all trade union bodies - central as well as prim­ ary - are elected by the trade union member­ ship and report to it. This also means that trade u nion organizations decide all u nion matters i n accordance with the trade u nion Rules and the decisions of h igher u nion bodies. Decision s of trade u nion organizations are considered adopted if they receive the approval of a majority of the organization's membersh ip; lower trade union bodies submit to the decisions of h igher trade union bodies. Trade u nions are arran ged on an occupa­ tional principle. This means that workers of the same enterprise , i nstitution or cooperative belong to the same trade union . Primary trade union organizations (in enter­ prises, institutions, etc.) are the main organ iza­ tional u nit; they are ru n by elected u nion committees. I n addition to occupational trade union bodies, regional organizations exist, perm itting regional peculiarities in trade union work to be more fully accou nted for. I n socialist cou ntries trade union s are headed by cen tral trade union cou ncils (in the Soviet U nion , the All-U nion Central Cou ncil of Trade U nions). As a primary constituen t of the political system in socialist society, trade u nions carry out the following main fu nctions: economic - that of influencing economic

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growth a n d the resolu tion o f economic and production tasks, a result of the all-round development of the democratic principles of managing production and heightening the labor activity of broad segments of the popula­ tion ; protective - that of improving social rela­ tions, showing concern for the legitimate inter­ ests and rights of workers and for bettering their work and living conditions ; ed ucational - th at of carrying o u t measures to improve the general education and raise the cultural standards and skills of workers ; international - that of fighting for peace, fostering international cooperation , participat­ ing i n the international working-class and trade union movement. I n vo lv i n g W o rke rs in the M an ag e m e n t o f P rod u ct i on

Communist and workers' parties and trade unions in socialist cou ntries pay particular attention to broadening the participation of the working class in the management of produc­ tion. The trade u nions are i ncreasingly involved i n the development of socialist pu blic self­ management, an idea that is being widely encouraged i n the socialist cou ntries . Lenin defined self-management u nder socialism as a

1 02

WHAT ARE TRADE U N I O N S ?

system u nder which "the people are their own rulers . " 1 Worker participation in the manage­ ment of production is a form of developing democratic pri nciples in the management of production and at the same time i ntended to bring about bette r efficiency of prod uction . All this falls within the realm of trade u nions. Many forms of worker participation in the management of production are practiced in the socialist cou ntries . This participation may i nvolve attendance of en terprise trade-u nion meetings or other u nion conferences or partici­ pation in socialist competition , the inventors' and rationalizers' movement or tech nical re­ searc h . In some socialist states production con ferences are held to adopt decisions on current production matters and working people's everyday conditions . In Hungary , for i nstance, union represen tatives take part in production management through conferences, and in B u lgaria and Romania, working people's cou ncils are con vened . Special groups may also be formed, comprised of workers and other em ployees, engi neers and tech nical staff to decide current financial or production matters . Another key fu nction of trade u nions is to assist in the planning of social production. This participation relates to nearly every aspect of I V. I. Lenin, "Petrograd C ity Conference , " Collected Worli.s, Vol. 24, 1 974, p. 1 46.

U N D E R SOCIALIST CONDITIONS

1 03

socio-economic developmen t and takes place at all levels, from the compilation of enterp rise plans to the d rafting of a national economic plan . Drafts of enterprise production plans are reviewed at general meetings of workers, who may propose alterations i n the plan. State and economic bodies give consideration to the opinions of trade union representatives when discussing d raft plans. Trade u nions not only initiate the discussion of draft plans i n work collectives but also assist in collecting and summarizing the proposals of workers . Diverse forms of worker participation can be observed in the drawing up of plans. This goes for the d rafting of individual plans of workers, the coherent plans of teams and the creative plans of specialists as well as for the adoption of socialist obligations and cou nterplans.* I n most socialist cou ntries a radical shift has been made in economic policy in order to boost production through acceleration of tech­ nological re-equ ipmen.t, a restructuring of the economic mechanism and the i ntrod uction of the cost-accou nting system , a method of plan­ ned management of the socialist economy under which an enterprise's prod uction costs are compared with its outpu t level and * A counter p lan is a p lan adopted at the initiative of the work collective designed to increase the output of goods and improve their quality and raise labor p roduc

tivity.

­

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economic results. Accordingly , all costs must be covered by revenues, allowi ng the interests of society as a whole to be satisfied simultaneously with those of a specific work collective and i ndividual worker. The changes in economic policy were natur­ ally followed by sh ifts in the activities of trade unions. Trade u nions are stren uou sly working to bring about radical changes i n the way workers and work collective relate to the quality of their ou tput. In the Soviet U nion , for instance, up to 80 to 85 percent of all output will match world standards by the year 1 990, as will nearly I 00 percent of all newly­ developed products. To promote this t rend, trade u nions have set u p in every en terprise quality control grou ps, show concern for raisi ng the skill level of workers, and hold con tests between workers and establish occupational training schools d rawing on the experience of leading enter­ prises and work brigades. Socialist competition i s a key component in the mechanism for managing the country's economic and social processes . Organizing socialist competition , defining its terms, sum­ ming u p its results, confe rri ng awards on the outstanding workers and work collectives and disseminating advanced experience - all this is part of the duties of trade u nion organizations and their central bodies. Socialist com petition is carried ou t according

U N D E R SOCIALIST C O N D I T I ON S

1 05

to three principles which were formulated by Lenin. They are : broad pu blicity abou t the competition, comparison of its results and the dissemination of advanced experience. The discussion of coun terplans and socialist obligations and the course of their fulfillment are widely publicized at meetings attended by workers ; workers are informed about the work collectives' obligations and about the criteria for j udging the competition. Workers are regularly informed abou t the course of the com petition and the fulfillment of obligation s and abou t the competition 's moral and materi­ al incentives. Wall newspapers and poster displays at en terprises, as well as city and regional newspapers and radio are widely employed for this purpose . The second principle i nvolves comparing the results of work of individual workers in adjacent work collectives for which nearly identical criteria of socialist competition have been establish ed . Dissemi nation of advanced experience in­ cludes the sharing of i n formation on labor achievements and technological i nnovations, the rendering of assistance to lagging work collectives or enterprises and the demonstra­ tion of advanced experience at exhibitions , d uring occupational con tests a n d production conferences and in employee associations. Trade unions summarize the advanced ex­ perience of i nnovators and front-ran k workers

1 06

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

and propose concrete ideas for u tilizing this experience . They arrange for advanced experi­ ence to be studied at seminars and at small informal gatherings of groups of workers, engineers and tech nical staff who are thus able to u pdate their skills and k nowledge. They dispatch individ ual workers or entire work teams to other enterprises, conferences and so forth to study advanced experience . And they make recom mendations on ways to materially and morally stimulate workers who h ave suc­ cessfully disseminated or utilized advanced experience. Trade u nions strive to come up with more and more effective kinds of competition for stimulating scien tific and technical ingenuity and applying these ideas in industry. Some of them i nclude encouragement of competition among inven tors and rationalizers , the holding of shows and contests to find solu tions of scien tific and technical tasks, assigning indi­ vidual projects to s pecialists on raising the tech nological level of i ndustry, and the signing of cooperation agreements between production associations and enterprises on the one hand and research institution s and educational estab­ lish ments on the other. I n the Soviet Union, socialist competition is aimed not j ust at raising labor productivity , but at raisi ng it to the h ighest level for the given industry ; not only at economies of material resources but at achieving an i ncrease in

U N D E R SOCIALIST CONDITIONS

1 07

outpu t through resources-saving; not only at boosting the manufacture and above-plan pro­ duction of goods but at upping the share of high-quality goods among total output and ensuring the mandatory fulfillment of all con tractual obligations. Trade u nions make every effort to foster technical ingenuity among workers. Various public associations exist for this pu rpose . Among them are i nnovators' cou ncils, public design bureaus, complex creative teams and public institutions of advanced experience. The activi­ ty of these associations is geared to the developmen t and application i n industry of scientific and tech nological innovations that help to raise labor productivity and improve the quality of goods . I n socialist cou ntries t h e state h a s a vested interest in promoting scientific and technical ingenuity and encouraging the activities of i nven tors and rationalizers . I n man y of these cou ntries programs have been lau nched to speed u p progress in science and tech nology and codify existing legislation concerning in­ ventions and streamlining proposals with the ultimate aim of providing i nnovators with more righ ts. Trade u n ions are also involved i n the effort to engage workers in a creative pursuit. They encou rage a wide category of workers to display creativity i n finding ways to raise the technical level and improve the organization of

1 08

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

production . They contribute to the acceleration of scientific and tech nological progress by utilizing inven tions and streamlining rationaliz­ ers' proposals i n the economy as quickly as possible and reward the creative pursuits of workers with moral and material incentives. As a result, workers show greater technical in­ gen uity and their ideas h ave a bigger effect on the economy. The efforts of i nnovators are steered primarily toward the searc h for complex solu­ tions wh ich would bri n g about substantial changes i n the technological basis of industry and produce the largest possible economic effect. One of the cri teria used to evaluate the activity of work collectives engaged in socialist competition is the specific con tribution of inventors and rationalizers toward lowering the cost and raising the quality of output and boosting labor productivity , economy and thrift. Also taken into accou nt are successful attempts at lowering production costs , economizing on manpower and i ncreasing the share of high-quality goods produ ced through the introduction of i nnovations. In the Soviet U n ion the All-Union Society of I n ventors and I nnovators (VOIR) has a mem­ bersh ip of around 1 4 million people. B esides this there are another 24 scien tific or technical societies representing various occupational grou ps with a total membershi p of 1 2 million .

U N D E R SOC IA LIST C O N D ITIONS

1 09

I n Bulgaria, i nnovators are prodded to discover economic solutions by means of the i ntroduction of personal thrift passbooks, and holding of competitions for the right to bear the honorary title of " m illionaire " (con ferred on workers or managemen t personnel whose proposals saved the economy more than a million leva) , and the broad disc ussion of the best streamlining proposals . I n H ungary , an estimated 7 to 8 percen t of all industrial profits in the country were achieved as a result of the utilization of pro­ posals by inventors and rationalizers. Thanks to them , energy and raw materials costs h ave been reduced by 2 5 percent, and the cou ntry's trade unions h ave set a goal of eventually reducing these costs by 60 percen t , which they hope t o accomplish through the broad introduction of the ex perience of the most productive work collectives and the mounting of exhibitions of innovators' contrap­ tions. I n the GDR, the number of innovators has been growing at a n annual rate of 8 to I 0 percen t ; today one in three workers is - a rationalizer. As for C zechoslovakia, it ranks sixth i n the world i n the sale of patents on inventions. Each en terprise and research institute has its own program for promoting technical ingenui­ ty and utilizing the ideas of inventors and rationalizers . Each program specifies a particu-

1 10

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

lar level of tec hnical i n novation that should be aimed for. Joint creative pu rsuits are taking on increas­ ing significance for socialist economies. Experi ­ ence shows that teams com prised of specialists and workers possessing a broad range of skills are exceedingly capable of meeting even the most perplexing tech nological challenges. Workers , engineers and technical staff i n the GDR, for example, have a h igh sen se of creative cooperation . This i s largely due to the fact that before the socialist obligation s of work collectives are adopted , they are first coordi­ nated with the individual work plans of en­ gineers and technical staff. I n addition , various types of work teams are assembled in wh ich workers , en gineers and technical staff work together to solve scientific or tech nological tasks. There are more than 600,000 different types of in novator collectives i n the country. The economic effect achieved from imple­ menting the ideas developed by these collec­ tives i s 6 to 7 times h igher than that achieved th rough utilizing proposals by individual i n­ novators. Com plex brigades of rationalizers h ave re­ ceived broad development in Czechoslovakia. Today there are more than 1 7 ,000 of them, u niting 1 65 ,000 workers , engineers and tech ni­ cal staff . In Bulgaria, the government launched a nationwide program to boost the socio-

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economic effectiveness of the inventors' and rationalizers' movement. The program 1s aimed at expanding the ranks of i nnovators and the number of ideas p roposed by the m , thus boosting the economic effect from them. The program also envisages teaching workers to act creatively and disseminating broadly the positive experience of i nnovators. Twelve schools have been opened in the cou ntry to teach methods of tech nical ingenuity, and a national research center has been established to study problems related to the scien tific and tech nical ingenuity of workers. In H u ngary, governmen tal and trade u nion bodies sign con tracts with regional trade u nion cou ncils and the State B u reau for I n ventions, as a result of wh ich innovators' contests are held between factories and inventors' righ ts protection weeks are p roclaimed i n various cities whose ceremonies are attended by offi­ cials of the State B u reau for I nventions and economic bodies. At the enterprise level , trade union com mittees help in the formation of i nnovators' collectives and ensu re that the necessary conditions exist for carrying out creative work , and the enterprise managemen t keeps the trade u nion organization informed abou t the results of the fulfillment of contracts and coordi nates with it the conditions and procedu res for offering incentives to m ­ n ovators . I n Roman ia, the most widely practiced

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WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

method for spurring tech nical ingenuity at the en terprise level is the formation of teams of innovators, whose work is su pervised by the en terprise trade u nion com mittee. Together with other committees on which sit engineers and tech nical staff, these teams draw up development plans and keep inven tors and rationalizers u p to date on the latest innova­ tions in science and tech nology . With the expansion of democratic manage­ ment of socialist enterprises the work collective h as taken on added significance. The work collective's duties are spelled out by a collective agreement, a bilateral agreement between the enterprise management and the trade union , which acts in the name of the work collective . The collective agreement defines the mu tual obligations of the management and the work collective relative to plan fulfillment, the or­ ganization of socialist competition and the economies of raw materials and energy. All points agreed in the collective agreement are fi nanced out of enterprise funds. The work collective holds general meetings attended by workers and management person­ nel which furnish workers with the opportuni­ ty to take a direct part i n the management of production . At these meetings members of the work collective evaluate the performance of the enterpri se , criticize any existent shortcom­ ings and offers su ggestions for overcoming them. These proposals are studied by the

U N D E R SOCIALIST C O N D I T I O N S

1 13

management and the trade union committee , who then decide whether and how to act on them . These meetings also pro v ide a n occasion for fi nan c ial and trade u n ion officials to report to the work collective abou t the measu res being taken to improve the l iving condi tions of workers and management person nel, organi ze their leisure and raise their educational level. In t he GDR, permanen tly fu nction ing pro­ duction con ferences are com prised of rep­ rese ntatives of the management and Party, trade un ion and youth leaders, engineers, technical staff and leading workers. Workers make up from 60 to 70 percent of the con ferences . Members of these con ferences are i nvolved in the co m p ilation and discussion of p roduction p l ans as well as plans for accele rat ing scie n ti fic and tech nological progress , intro­ ducing high tec h , improving conditions of work, etc. They outline measu res to elimi nate shoddy work mansh i p and the wastage of job time, ensu re the more efficient use of equip­ ment and improve work condition s and job sa fety. They also discuss proposals for raising the skill level of workers and impro v ing the placement of person ne l At the in itiative of the tra d e u nions and with the ap proval of the Party leade rsh ip a system has been established in the G D R , under wh ich workers keep s pec ial notebooks i n wh ich t hey make comments on how the en terp r ise is 1·u n . These range from comments on why job ­

.

,

8-633

114

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

time is lost and why equipment breaks down to suggestions on how work and the production process can be better organized . These com­ ments a re systematically analyzed at special commissions on which one of every th ree trade u nion me mbers sits. The commissions must not only examine each com ment but make a written evaluation of it and determine whether i t merits adoption or should be further elabo­ rated . H ungarian trade u nions have successfully lau nched a new scheme intended to raise quality and reduce shoddy workmanship wh ich they call " work without mistakes . " At each enterprise the i mplementation of this progra m , which affects a wide range of production matters and includes more than a hundred points, is supe rvised by a cou ncil headed by the en terprise trade u nion com m ittee leader that works in conjunction with the en terprise managemen t. The cou ncil is charged with formulating a plan for implementing the " work without mistakes" progra m , wh ich stipu lates various measures to ensure the strict com pliance with tech nological standards and improve the quality of repair and mai n tenance work . I n B ulgaria , general assemblies of workers or represen tatives acting on their behal f are authorized to make decisions on general ques­ tions of en terprise development. At these assemblies an economic council of the enter-

U N D E R SOCIALIST C O N D I T I O N S

115

prise is elected , having a mandate for two years. The cou ncil , comprised of from 1 5 to 2 1 members, no more than half of wh ich can be engineers or technical staff, dete rmines the structure of the enterprise and its man age­ ment, approves the enterprise budget, ex­ amines the course of plan fulfillment, and , together with the trade union committee , settles disputes over the evaluation of economic performance. The council reports back to the general meeting of workers or their authorized representatives. In Roman ia, enterprise management is exer­ cised through the vehicle of the general meeting of workers, or, at large enterprises, of worker represen tatives . The assembly approves the socialist obligations adopted by the work collectives and the plan of organizational and technical measu res for realizing them and also the collective agreement. The meeting elects workers to sit on the enterprise's collective management body - the Workers' Cou ncil, which is charged with approving annual and five-year plans, determining the organizational structure of the enterprise and deciding supply and sales matters. Collective enterprise managemen t bodies exist on a wide scale in H ungary . One such body , the director's council, is made u p of the en terprise director, who chairs the cou ncil , his depu ties, the heads of production divisions, and two workers c hosen by the trade u n ion s•

1 16

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

committee . The director's cou ncil is em pow­ ered to make decisions regard ing the enter­ prise man agement syste m, the sale and pricing of part of the enterprise's outpu t, settlements with other e n terprises and production associa­ tion s, adoption of the basic indices of the annual plan and the balancing of accou nts, and the purchase and sale of goods abroad. The adoption in the Soviet U nion of the Law on the State Enterprise significantly broadened the du ties and authority of trade u nions . U nder this law, which grants legal p rotection to new forms of self-management based on a combination of planned production and cost accou nting, any surpluses i n the wage fund of an en terprise can be used by the enterprise to reward the hardest working members of the work collective. If output targets are met using a smaller nu mber of workers than provided for in the plan , these u nspent wage funds can be used to give pay rises to the workers who contribu ted the most to the fulfillment of the plan . Under socialism , where unem ploymen t is non-existent, it is the workers who benefit from such schemes. All these measu res are regulated by the trade union commi ttees, who take into account the opinions of the work collectives. The Law on the State Enterprise and the Law on Work Collectives expand the influence of the work collective - a key component of the political, economic and social system of

U N D E R SOCIALIST CONDITIONS

117

socialism - far beyond production matters . The Law on the State Enterprise, for example, provides for the election of managers by the work collective and the open discussion of candidates . It also grants work collectives the right to participate in the drafting of the enterprise's prod uction and social development plans, thus promoting involvement of its mem­ bers i n public and political affairs. The greater participation of work collectives in manage­ ment enables the proper balance to be reac hed between the interests of society, the work collective and the individual worker. Work collectives exercise their variou s rights and duties relative to the management of production at general meetings and con fer­ ences, which are the h ighest representative organ of the work collective. These righ ts are exercised without infringing on the rights of the management or the collective's pu blic organizations , wh ich meet regularly to seek out and act on the views and proposals of the public. Special sign ificance is attached in the Soviet U nion to the participation of workers in the su pervision of production and distribu tion . Trade u nion organizations call on workers and other em ployees to help supervise the fulfill­ ment of production plan s, the meeting of hou sing construction and mu nicipal serv ices development targets and monitor the work of trade, pu blic catering and municipal services

118

WHAT A R E T R A D E U N I O N S ?

enterprises . More than th ree million pu blic inspectors and members of the correspondi ng commissions of the trade union com mittees are involved in the monitori ng of lahor protection and job safety standards. Increasing reliance on workers to manage production in the socialist cou ntries is prompt­ ed by objective factors. Changes h ave occurred in the nature of work , and today's workers are more educated and have more trai ning than their predecessors. As a resu lt, workers are now capable of u nderstanding production matters, and have a greater interest in and feel more respon sible for the end results of the enterprise or production association and mod­ ernizi ng production . Soviet trade unions are deeply i nvolved i n orgamzmg a n d im proving t h e work o f cooperative organizations i n t h e production and services sectors and i n instituting the family con tract system i n agricu ltu re . Trade u nion committees of indu strial en terprises help work­ ers to set up personal subsidiary and collective orchards and gardens. Workers who join gardening cooperatives are alloted plots of land free of c harge (all land in the Soviet U nion is socially owned) , and trade u nion organization s provide assistance i n the pur­ chasing of building materials, garden tools, seed s , etc . , the h arvest grown on these plots are the property of those who raised it. Thus, in socialist cou ntries, trade unions, to

U N D E R SOC I A L I S T C O N D I T I O N S

1 19

promote the active involvement of workers in the management of production , focus their energies on the following poi nts : increasing the role o f trade u nions in ex­ panding the participation of workers i n the drafting and fulfillment of economic and social development plans. This is being achieved by combining centralized planning with planning " from below , " providing workers with details on current state plans and perspective develop­ ment plans of the en terprise , the adoption by workers of ann ual and five-year socialist obli­ gation s , pu blic influence on the collective's scientific , tech nological, and social develop­ ment plan s , the proper application of th e work collective's vast array of resources, and the develo pment of a system for reviewing plan targets at the in itiative of the workers ; establish ing genuine worker con trol over the production process and all economic activities. This is promoted by the systematic evaluation of daily, ten-day and monthly socialist competi­ tion results, the disclosu re and elimination of sh ortcomings i n the cou rse of the work, trade u nion con trol of the com pliance with execu­ tive, labor and production discipline, and the public evaluation of the profession al , ethical and political qualities of management, en­ g ineers and tech nical staff; heighten ing public influence on the measure of labor and renumeration . This is accom­ plished by evaluating the labor contribution of

1 20

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

the work collective and of individual workers in the overall economic performance of the en terprise and by differen tiating the size of bonuses on the basis of indices that assess the job atti t udes of individual worke rs ; creating a system of public management bodies at enterpri ses, i ncreasing trade u nion con trol over this system, boosting th e role of collective agree ments in the economic life of enterprises, and d rawi ng up l o ng te rm as well as yearly agreements covering a wider range of activities ; utilizing widely the experience of trade u nions m soc i a l ist cou ntries i n developi ng initiati v e amon g workers and their active in­ volvement in economic management. -

P e rfect i n g S oc i a l R e l a t i o n s

Participation of workers in t h e management of prod uction implies more than just the solving of production tasks. A large part of work of trade unions is devoted to protecting the i n t erests of workers. Workers' interests are protected by trade u nions through con trol ling work quotas and wage rates and material and moral i ncentives; enforcing complian ce with labor legislation and job sa fety stand ard s ; seein g that favorable working conditions exist and that hazardous, unsafe and man ual labor is minimized by

U N D E R S O C I A L I S T C O N D IT I O N S

1 21

means of mec hanization and au tomation of prod uction ; supervisi ng the social maintenance syste m ; initiating health -bu ilding measu res : en­ suring the fair distribution of hou sing; raising the standard of municipal services ; con trolling the w ork of trade, p ublic catering and services en terprises ; en forcing com pliance with labor discipline and the rules and norms of socialist society . Primary trade union organizations possess considerable rights in the setti ng of work quotas and wage rates. Only the trade u nions institute the way of enumerati ng labor, raise or lower the skill category rating of workers and laydown the rates and rules for paying bo­ nuses ; institute new or alter existing work quotas (sched ules) , au thorize the combining of professions and additional payment for this, and a pprove estimated ou tlays for housing construction , cultural and public activities and the proced u res for distribu ting material incen­ tives funds. Why are trade u nions involved in the setting of work quotas ? Rapid advances in science and tech nology today have brough t correspondi ng changes in job con dition s. As new equipment is installed and old equipment refu rnished , ad­ vanced tech nologies are introduced , prod uction processes mechanized or au tomated and j ob organization i mproved , new work guotas are i ntroduced . Work quotas can also be reviewed i f the production process is reorga nized and _

1 22

WHAT A R E TRADE UNION S '

job respon sibili ties are c hanged , or if the j ob skills or professional abilities of workers rise . The revision of work quotas and wage rates is the responsibili ty of a special commission whose work is supervised by the trade u nion committee . The commission is staffed by work­ ers , en gineers and management and technical person nel . With the declaration of a new economic policy based on the principle of cost accou nt­ ing which has brou ght enterprises greater au tonomy , Soviet trade unions have begun to monitor more closely the introduction of pay rises and a more rational use of public consu mption fu nds. U nder the new policy, deductions from enterprise profits are used to form various material incen tive funds, whose distribution is con trolled by the work collective . While ex ploitation of man by man, unem­ ployment, and ethnic or social righ tlessness are non-existent under socialism, trade u nions nonetheless h ave to perform a protective fu nction . Why, we might ask , do the workers' in terests need to be protected if the govern­ ment, the Party and all other pu blic institutions ac t in the interest of workers ? The answer is, workers need protection from bureaucrats and other individuals who in fringe labor legislation. Some examples of violations are u nwarran ted overtime work , poor j ob safety and delays in reviewing complaints by workers . Trade u nions su pervise the compliance by enterprise man-

UND E R SOCIALIST COND ITIONS

1 23

agement with labor legislation , offer workers legal aid and explain to them the meaning of various laws. Trade u nions play a large role i n ensuring safe work conditions. All j ob safety regulations m ust be approved by the trade union com mit­ tee of the enterprise wh ere they are instituted . Such regulations cover a wide ran ge of areas , including the locatin g of enterprises, the heat­ ing, ven tilation , ligh ting, waste disposal and water supply systems, noise and v ibration levels, and the pr o vision of lounge and shower facilities. Labor protection regulations have legal force. Charged with en forcement are inspec­ tion commissions wh ich are assisted by volun­ tary public inspectors and also labor protection com missions attached to trade u nion commit­ tees. The amou nt of resources to be allocated for improving work cond itions is established by the collective agreement. Workers are issued spe­ cial protective clothing and safety gear free of charge according to fixed norm s. Workers are also familiarized with safe job practices and job safety standards as well as san itary and h ygiene r egulations . T h e shift toward two- a n d three-shift work sc hed u les to derive maximum use from plant equ ipmen t has com pelled trade unions to focus t h eir energy on reorganizing the work of pu blic transportation , the trade and services

1 24

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

industries , and school and pre-school institu­ tion s. Under this plan workers who work evening and nigh t shifts will get added pay . As an added i ncentive, workers of all sh ifts will have access to hot meals and lou nge and shower facilities. Th e changeover to multi-sh ift work benefits above all workers . If advanced machinery and tech nology are loaded to max imum capacity, outmoded or hazardous machinery can be removed from operation quicker. Also, money earmarked for building new factories or indus­ trial shops can be reallocated for housing con ­ struction and the development of public ser­ vices. Trade unions are also involved m the administering of social security. I n socialist cou ntries , state social security programs pro­ vide material maintenance i n old age , in case of ph ysical disability' and in other cases pro­ vided for by law. The social security system is financed by the state out of public consu mp­ tion fu nds - no deductions are made from the paychecks of workers. I n the Soviet U nion and other socialist cou ntries , the social security system is administered by the trade u nions. Trade unions see as one of the primary tasks of social security the prevention of general and occu pational illn esses and injuries. Preventing ill nesses means above all ensuring good work conditions. U nder socialism , the wide-scale mechan ization and au tomation of production

U N D E R SOCIALIST C O N D I T I O N S

1 25

not only results in higher labor productivity, but also is conducive to better job safety, the rational u se of h u man labor, the elimi nation of many occupational illnesses and a lower inci­ dence of on-th e-job inj uries . I n an effort to prevent occupational illnesses , Soviet trade u nions have been instru mental in creati ng for indu strial enterprises a network of preven tive treatment clinics known as prophylactic sanatoria . Withou t having to use their annual vacation time, workers go to these clinics after their working day at the enterprise to rest or undergo treatment in conditions similar to that of sanatoria. Prophylactic sanatoria are built with enterprise funds and are open to all en terprise em ployees. All mainte­ nance and treatment expenses are covered by the enterprise. Sanatoria and rest homes play a considerable role in protecting and fortifying the health of workers . Sanatoria a re special proph ylactic and medical treatment centers i n wh ich patients are treated mai n ly by natural means such as drinking mineral water, taking mineral baths and therapeutic muds in combination with other methods. For those not in need of medical treatment there exist rest homes which offer com fortable lodgings, meals and c u ltural and sight-seei ng services . Each year more than 50 million Soviet workers and me mbers of t h eir family spend time in rest homes and sanatoria.

1 26

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I ON S ?

The bulk of the cost of staying in rest homes and sanatoria is covered by soc ial security funds. In the Soviet Union , ten percent of the stays in rest homes and 20 percent of those in sanatoria a re paid in full by trade u nions . As a rule office and factory workers and collective farmers pay only 30 percent of the cost of such stay s ; the rest is picked up by the trade u nions. Also, social security fu nds are u sed to provide some 3 million people with special diets. Trade u nions also ad minister an entire network of You ng Pioneer, sport and other camps whic h host child ren over the summer h olidays. The Young Pioneer camps range from sanatoriu m-type camps, where rest is combined with medical treatment, to sport cam ps and camps where you ng people both work and rest . Another area fi nanced out of social security funds is tou rism. Trade u nions are responsible for developing this industry . I n t h e Soviet Union the provision of pen­ sion s is one form of security for the aged and p hysically handicapped. Pensions a re defrayed entirely ou t of social security funds or out of the fu nds of pu blic (collective farm) organiza­ tions. Women are eligible for a pension upon reaching the age of 5 5 provided they have worked not less than 20 years (or 25 years for childless women), and men can collect a pension upon reaching the age of 60 provided they have worked not less than 25 years.

U N D E R SOCIALIST C O N D ITIONS

1 27

Trade u nion organ izations are natu rally interested in seeing that state social security funds are spent according to their designa­ tion - for helping those who are really in need . That is why trade u nions work tirelessly to en sure that these funds are spent fru gally, relying on various forms of control. The success of the trade u nion s in ad minis­ tering the state social secu rity system is at­ tributable to the fact that trade u nions have at their disposal vast powers and are au thorized to act as the initiator of legislation - in particu­ lar, to submit for the approval of higher bodies d rafts of laws, decrees and resolutions on major social security matters. Trade U n ions are also charged with drafting and issuing instructions and regulations pertaining to pro­ cedu res for estimating soc ial security incomes and ou tlays, assigning and disbursing benefits and awarding free stays i n sanatoria and rest homes and with resolving matters concerning the organization of health resorts and proph ylactoria. Trade unions administer the state social security syste m using non-paid volunteers . Virtually every social security question arising in primary trade union organizations is resolved without calling in paid staff members. I n t rade u nion grou ps, such work is assigned to delegates special izing in social security matters, w ho are charged with su pervising measu res to i m prove job con ditions , assisti ng health wo r k -

1 28

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

ers in carrying out examinations of workers , certifying the validity of tempora ry sick leaves, pa rtici pating in the drafting of illness and inj u ry preven tion measures and visiting sick employees at home. Trade union committees are also i nvolved in housi ng matters. All housing built with enter­ prise funds is distributed in accordance with a waiting list that is approved jointly by the enterprise management and trade u nion co m­ mi ttee . The enterprise trade union committee keeps a list of the workers most in need of housing and distributes housing according to this list. The trade u n ions also monitor the distribu­ tion of h ousing built with state fu nds to protect the workers' interests agai nst possible infri nge­ ments. Trade u n ion represen tatives sit on housing commissions attached to local Soviets of Peo ple's Deputies. Officials who violate the accepted procedures for distributing hou sing may cause the public to lose con fidence in the m . I n 1 986, on the demand of the public more than 500 officials in the Sov iet U nion were re pri manded for committing violations in the distribution of housin g, arou nd a h u ndred of which were removed from office . The u rban housing fund in the Sov iet U nion i s charac terised by a h igh level of mo dern con veniences : 90 percent of all hou ses are eq uipped with ru nning water, 88 percent with a sewage system, 87 percent with central heat-

1 29

U N D E R SOC IALIST CONDITIONS

ing and 79 percent are supplied with natural gas. N early two-thirds of the maintenance costs of housing and public utilities are paid for by the state. Add to this the low apartment ren ts in the country . While A mericans spend up to 30 percen t of their i ncome on housing the B ritish arou nd 2 5-30 percent and the Japanese arou nd a third , in the Soviet U nion housi ng ren tal costs represent only abou t three percent of the average working family's i ncome. Trade u nions are represen ted on govern­ ment housing co mmiss ioning boards, where they exercise full au thority. Local trade u nion committees help to supervise housing construc­ tion fi nanced from th e enterprise's housing construction and social development fu nd. This fund is formed by deductions from enterprise profits, which encou rages workers to work harder, for the harder they wor k , the more money there will be for building houses and satisfying other social and cultural needs. Trade u nion committees provide assistance in the constr u c tion of individual and coopera­ tive housing and youth housing comlexes. M aterial assistance is provided for such pro­ j ects from en terprise incentive funds. Trade u nions are also involved i n the development of trade and public services. With t rade union support, the network of trade and service ou tlets located at places of work is steadily expanding. These i nclude laundry reception points small workshops for repai ring ,

,

9-{j))

1 30

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

such things as shoes, clothing and household appliances, etc . Trade u nion s also exercise control over the quality of services . All service and trade enterprises are u nder the jurisdiction of trade union committees of factories and institutions. Public inspectors are appointed from among workers. Their work is su pervised by the trade u n ion housing and public services commission , whose task is to ensure the smooth ru nning of public service outlets. A W o r k e r' s U p b ri n g i n g

The building of a new society assumes not only the c reation of a modern material and tech nical base of s ocie ty but also the form a tion of a harmonious, publically active citizen dis­ tinguished by his spiritual richness, moral pu rity and physical perfection . In this respect, much importance is assumed by the activity of trade u nions directed at developing and u tiliz­ ing the h uman factor. The h u man factor is one of the basic characteristics and q ualities of human labor ­ the primary productive force o f society. Great­ er emphasis of the human factor - man ifested in the creation of cond itions under wh ich workers can apply their creative abilitie s to the maximu m - has caused workers to fun da ment­ ally rethi n k their attitude toward work.

U N D E R SOCIALIST CONDITIONS

131

The i ntensi fication of production now bei ng carried out under socialism can not be achieved u nless each worker takes an interest in his job, works conscien tiously and with initiative , u nless each worker h as the desire and the ability to think in a new way . Trade u nions are cal led on to play a special role in the greater emphasis of the h u man factor . The task of the Party , the state , the trade u nion s and other public organisations is to instill in citizens the proper political, ideologi­ cal and moral principles and the work ethic and develo p their ability to be active partici­ pants in public life. The d issemination amon g the masses of M arxist-Leninist ideology, know­ ledge of the laws of social development and the ability to apply them i n the building of socialism and commu nism play a large role in the u pbri nging of workers . With the active pa rticipation of trade u nion s illiteracy was wiped out in the Soviet U n ion in an historically short period of time. A national system of education was created which guaran­ tees eve ry Soviet citizen a free education . U niversal compulsory secondary ed ucation was introduced . The enrollment of secondary spe­ cial ed ucational i nstitutions and h igher educa­ tional institutions grows wi th every year . Many workers are enrolled i n even i n g courses or correspondence courses , con tinuing their eduation wh ile working. The ideological educational work of trade

1 32

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

u n ions encompasses al most every aspect of workers' lives . I n the Soviet Union six million trade u nion activists are involved in this work . They have at their disposal over 2 2 ,000 clubs and cultural centers, and 326,000 other facilities located in factories and residential districts where they can hold lectures or organize performances of amateur artistic grou ps. Together with ministries and govern­ ment agencies , the trade unions publish 1 0 newspapers and 2 6 poli tical educational or trade journals with a total circulation of more than 40 mill ion copies. Trade u nions con trol a vast network of people's u niversities in variou s branches of k nowledge. Enrollment i n them is open to all workers irrespective of their previous educa­ tional training. Another importan t sou rce of political and economic knowledge is the system of schools o f commu nist labor and economic management, where workers can learn the latest method s of socialist economic manage­ ment. Millions of workers and collective farm­ ers take advan tage of these opportu nities for broadening their k nowledge of economics, which is combined with practical knowledge acquired on the j ob. J ob trai ning is a main area of trade u nion work. A key direction in job trai ning is the in troduction of new forms of collective labor. At present the bulk of the Soviet labor force work in work-tea ms. These tea m s are respon si-

U N D E R SOCIA LIST CONDITIONS

1 33

ble for planning job tasks and setting work quotas , and assigning job responsibilities within the tea m, ensuring qu ality and distributing wages accord ing to the personal labor con ­ tribution of each worker. U nder such a system, each worker benefits from working hard . A key poi nt in the collective agreement concluded between the management and the work collective is the obligation to comply with labou r discipli ne. Work collectives may take discipli nary action against lax workers who have violated this obligation . The violation may be exam ined at an informal comradely cou rt, and i f su fficien t grou nds are fou nd, the worker may be deprived of a pay bon us, etc. The work collective has at its disposal a wide choice of means to stren gthen discipline at the work place: it may cajol, encou rage or con­ demn, or even pu nish . Trade unions are actively involved in provid­ ing you ng people with job training. This is accomplished th rough job appren ticeshi ps , whereby experienced craftsmen help you n g workers acquire t h e secrets of the trade. At many enterprises there are special committees an d councils concerned with young workers . There are also occupational museu m s , where young workers can meet with leading members of their profession and learn about thei r su ccesses and accomplish ments. Trade u nions devote much of their time to work with women. A fter women achieved

1 34

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

formalised equal social and j ob status with men , including equal pay , they became much more in terested i n working. Society also has an interest in seei ng them work i n addition to raisi ng children and doing household chores. In the Soviet U nion nearly two-thirds of all specialists with a secondary or h igher educa­ tion are wome n . Nearly two million Soviet working women have been awarded Orders or medals for their work activities, including 5 ,000 who have earned the title of Hero of Socialist Labor and nearly 1 ,000 who have become Lenin or State Prize winners. Fou r i n five Soviet women either work or study. The number of women engaged i n wh ite-collar work is growing particula rly fast. Women are e mployed in nearly every sector of the economy with the exception of those that pose , a special risk to women . An importan t area of trade u nion work is the organ ization of workers' rest and leisure. By setting up variou s clubs and h obby groups and sponsoring lectures, debates and confer­ ences , trade u nions help to raise the cultural level of workers and influence the psychologi­ cal climate in work collectives. Trade u nions also organize special appear­ ances by performers at enterprises, sponsor mobile art exhibitions, music, son g and da nce festivals, literary presen tations and poetry readings, and help set up people's theaters and artistic grou ps.

U N D E R SOCIALIST CONDITIONS

1 35

Another field in wh ich trade u mons are involved is ph ysical training and sport . Trade u nion s own stadiums and sport complexes and direct voluntary sport societies to wh ich mil­ lions of workers belon g. They also offer travel services which can offer vacation packages to any of the n umerous trade u nion tou rist com plexes , cam ping grou nds and hotels. C o o p e rat i o n betwe e n T r ade U n i o n s o f S oc i a l i st C o u n t r i es

U nder modern condition s the international activities of trade u nions in socialist cou ntries and the deepening of cooperation between them are of i ncreased importance. The similar­ ity of their economic and poli tical systems and ideological convictions and the task of building socialism and commu nism sh ared by them provide a basis for closer ties between trade u nions of socialist cou ntries . Cooperation has become especially dose between the trade u n ions of the member-countries of the Cou ncil for Mutual Economic Assistance . Cooperation between CMEA cou ntries' trade u nions has become quite extensive and is carried out at all level s - from national trade u nion cou ncils to the trade u nion committees of similar factories. Th is cooperation especially concerns produc­ tion matters . Among other things, trade unions

1 36

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

sponsor v1s1ts by leading workers and teams to other cou ntries to share their prod uction experience. This form of cooperation is widely prac ticed. Also popular are conferences at which foreign trade u n ion re presen tatives de­ liver reports on such topics as social security, labor protection , health and vacation resorts and trade u nion publication s. Another area of cooperation is the holdi ng of international work competitions, which is being developed under the direct leadersh ip of C M EA cou ntries' trade u nions. This refers mainly to competitions between work collectiv�s from different cou ntries en­ gaged in the joint construction or exploitation of industrial proj ects built within the framework of long-term economic cooperation con trac ts between C M EA countries . Also in­ volved in com petition are work collectives of enterprises and organizations which make de­ l iveries on a special contrac t or on a coopera­ tive basis to C M EA member-countries . I nterna­ tional competition encompasses in addition work collectives servicing international pas­ sen ger trains and railway stations, airline work­ ers serving on international flights, em ployees of international cru ise and cargo ships as well as ports handling freight from socialist cou n­ tries. As a result of socialist competition between the Bulgarian state airlines B alkan and the airlines of the Soviet U nion, the G DR, H u ngary and Poland, the quality of

U N D E R SOCIA L I S T CONDITIONS

1 37

serv ice h as been im proved , flights have become more regular, and more flights have been added , maintenance time has been reduced , and fuel costs have declined . Finally , competi­ tions are h eld between enterprises manufactur­ ing the same types of goods , and between research institutes. International socialist competition is a key factor in the broadening and strengthening of the material base and political u n ity of the socialist commonwealth . I n ternational com peti­ tion promotes the realization of production tasks and at the same time helps instill i n workers a feeling o f i nternationalist brother­ hood and friendsh ip, a sense of personal responsibility to workers in other countries. I n ternational competition encourages workers to think about their socialist community as a whole, and not j ust abou t themselves or their own cou ntry . This is yet another aspect of the relations between socialist countries.

Chapter V

T H E I NTE R NAT I ONAL T RADE U N ION MOVE M E NT

The international trade u mon movement is linked with the formation of international trade union associations. The u nity of the world trade union movement is the natural result of the international charac­ ter of the international working­ class movement. The most rep­ resen tative and effective workers' organ ization is thus the World Federation of Trade U n ions (W FTU). The WFT U , fou nded in 1 94 5 , rose t o play a major role in the world trade u nion movement be­ cause of the class position it takes on . key issues affecting the vital interests of workers and the struggle it wages agai nst im­ perialism, colonialism , racism

T H E I N T E R NATIONAL TRA D E U N I ON MOV E M E N T

1 39

and fascism and for peace , democracy and radical social reforms. The W FTU represents 8 3 national trade union organizations from 7 6 cou ntries with a total membership of 206 mil­ lion workers. The WFTU Constitution recognizes the fol­ lowi ng principles : the trade u nion organiza­ tions belonging to the WFTU must be demo­ cratic ; the member organizations must remain in constan t con tact and assist one another ; they must systematically share information with other organizations on trade u nion work with an eye to stren gthening the solidari ty of the international working-class movement; they must coordi nate actions by workers' or organ­ ization s to further the realization of their international goals and tasks. The WFTU consistently upholds the inter­ ests of the working class, rebuffs atte m pts by imperialist reaction to weaken the trade u nion movement and directs the struggle of workers to u nite in the face of capitalist exploitation and the policies of monopolies . The World Trade U nion Congress , the governing body of the WFT U , at its Congress in 1 98 6 adopted several resolutions aimed at defending the interests of workers all over the worl d . I n response to the web of problems engendered by the revolu tion in science and tech nology, wh ich in capitalist states h as i n ten­ sified u nemployment, the exploitation of labor and environmental hazards, the Congress for-

1 40

WHAT ARE TRADE UNIONS?

mulated concrete measures to help trade un­ ions con trol the i ntroduction of new t ech­ nolo gies. The measu res include the h olding o f coordinated demonstration s to protest the actio n s of transnation al corporations and blockin g the transfer of capital to cou n tries where inter national labor regulations are violated . The Congress also discussed meas ures to check the growth of unemploy ment, re­ duce the work day and lower the mandatory re tireme n t age to make room for you nger wo rkers. Of considerable i n fluence in the world trade u n ion movement are the Trade U nion I n ter­ nationals (TU is) , associations of trade u nions representing s pecific occu pations fou nded on the in itiative of the World Confederation of Labor. There are separate T U l s for the steel , textile, chemical , food and other ind ustries . Members include trade u n ions from capitalist, socialist and developing cou ntries. Each of the T U i s has its own charter and r uli n g bod ies and h old confe rences and e xch a n ge delega­ tions. The TU i s work to u nite workers of similar occ u pations i n d ifferen t cou ntries i n orde r t o g u a rd th ei r interests; they coordinate the strugg le to improve socio-economic condi­ tions and o f fer practi cal assistance to t ra de u nion organ izations i n va riou s cou n tries i n org anizational matte rs a nd i n fig h ti ng fo r p eace a n d democracy. The T U ls' diverse activities h e l p to b o l s ter th e i nflue nce o f t he

T RAOE U N I ON M OV E M E N T TH E I NTE RNATIONA L

141

WFTU and strengthen the unity o f t h e world tr ade u nion movement. The WFTU works to establish and st re ngthen progressive and democratic trade u nions in the former colonies of Asia, A frica a n d Latin Ame rica. It is particularly involved i n the defense of trad e u nion rights and social p rogram s and in improving work and living con ditions of the population . The World Con­ g res s of Trade U n ions in 1 95 3 recommended t h at the trade u nion organizations of colonial a n d semi-colonial cou ntries be given assistance orgam zmg regional con ferences. Three in year s later, in 1 956, a conference was held in Da mask attended by trade u nion represen ta­ ti ves from Egypt , Lebanon , Libya and Syria at which was founded the I n te rnation al Confed­ eration of Arab Trade U n ion s . And at a con ference held i n Cotonou in 1 95 7 , the first association of A frican trade u nions was fou nd­ ed , the General U nion of Workers of B lac k A frica, u niting the trade u n ion organ izations of Western and Equatorial A frica . I n 1 96 1 the first united democratic trade u nion organization of the African proletariat was founded - the All-African Trade U n ion Federation . However, a year later , African reformist trade u nion leaders set up their own organ ization , the African Trad e U nion Con­ federation . This rift lasted u n til 1 97 2 , when with the backing of the Organization of A frican U n ity the two organizations fused into

1 42

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

the Organization of African Trade U nion U nity, bri nging together trade u nions of vari­ ous direction s. The trade union movement also made head­ way in other regions of the worl d . For example, i n 1 964 in B rasilia the Permanent Congress of T rade U nion U n ity of Latin American Workers ( PCTUULA W) was fou nd­ ed furthering the expansion of relations be­ tween Latin American trade u nions and trade u n ions on other continents, and their p artici­ pation i n an ti-im perialist struggle . The PCTU U LA W supports joint actions in defense of workers' rights, the nationalization of foreign monopolies , de mocratic agrarian re­ fo rms and planned socio-economic develop­ men t in the interest of workers. The PCTU U LA W is comp rised of the Trade U nion Confederation of Cuban Workers , the Con fed­ eration of Colu mbian Trade U n ions, the Con­ federation of Ecuadorian Workers, the N ational Confederation of Costa Rican Workers, the N ational T rade U n ion Council of Panaman ian Workers, the N ational Confederation of Peru­ vian Workers, the U n ity Trade U nion Center of Venezuela and others. Also associated with the PCTU U LA W are professional assoc1auons created with the help of international trade u n ion associations, the Latin American Confed ­ e ration of Petroleum Industry Workers, and others. The I n tern ational Confederatio n of Free

T H E I NT E R NATIONAL TRADE U N I O N MOVE M E NT

1 43

T rade U nions ( I C FTU), fou nded in I 949 by B ritish and A merican reactionary trade union leaders who h ad split with the WFT U , repre­ sen ts the reformist wing of the world trade union move ment. In 1 982 it cou nted a mem­ bership of 1 29 organizations from 92 cou n tries and territories i n the capitalist and developing world . The ICFTU leadership supports a concilia­ tory policy and a " soc ial partnership" with the capitalists. In recent years, however, the I C FT U has come u nder fire for its acquies­ cence in the face of an offensive by monopolies agai nst the social rights and economic interests of workers . This was in part due by the sharpening of contradictions between a wide segment of the working people and state­ monopoly capitalism . The need to rebuff the monopolies offensive on the living standards and rights of workers compelled trade union s of various h ues to coordinate their actions. Lately the I CFTU has su pported the position of the WFTU on a number of issu es, and a growing number ot trade u nion organizations affiliated with the ICFTU have begun to establish ties with trade union organ izations of socialist cou ntries . Another major reformist trade u n ion associ­ ation is the World Confederation of Labor (WCL), until 1 968 called the World Confedera­ tion of C h ristian Trade U nions . As of 1 98 2 , t h e W C L represen ted 85 national trade u nion

1 44

WHAT A R E T R AD E U N I O N S 1

organizations from 82 countries with a total membership of 1 5 million workers. It has regional organisations in Latin America and Asia. The WCL's political platform is based on class cooperation between labor and capital, although from time to time i t has de manded certain socio-economic concessions from the capitalists. On the foreign policy front , the WCL campaigns for peace and disarmament. On some issues, mainly concerning the prob­ lems of war and peace, the WCL has joined forces with the WFT U . I n recent years the international working­ class and trade u nion movement has been affected by considerable changes in the power balance in favor of peace, progress and social­ ism. The necessity of halting the arms race and achiev ing disarmament has given new mo­ mentum to the efforts of the peace-loving public and the international trade u n ion move­ ment. T h e Peace S t ru g g l e

T h e struggle o f trade unions for the preser­ vation of peace h as deep socio-economic roots. Only if there is peace can the demands of t rade u nions aimed at improving the living conditions of workers be realized . Advances i n weapons technology are accom­ panied by a rise in their cost, with each new

THE INTERNATIONAL TRADE UNION MOVEMENT

1 45

generation of weapons costing nearly double that of the generation it replaces. The arms build-up consumes billion s and billions of dollars more each year. The burden of the arms build-u p is borne by workers, whose standard of living is severely affected by con tinuous tax hikes and price rises and cuts in social programs. The arms build-up also causes unemployment to i ncrease , for the same amou nt of money invested in the defense sector produces two times fewer j obs than if this money were i nvested i n the civilian sector. M ore than 400 million people belong to trade u nions throughout the world . Involve­ ment in the struggle for peace and disarma­ ment and against the arms race h as u nited trade unions of varying political orientations u nder the same banner. Playing a major role i n the an ti-war struggle is the WFTU and other intern ational trade union associations affiliated with it. They campaign for the h alting of the arms race, which every minute consumes more than a million and a half dollars. Enormous sums are being spent on the manufacture of arms wh ile in capitalist cou ntries great n umbers of people are out of work , more than a billion people do not know how to read and write and 50 mil­ lion people die each year from h unger and disease . Capitalist cou ntries spend 30 times more each year on the military " needs" than they spend on economic assistance to the 10-633

1 46

WHAT A R E TRADE U N I O N S ?

developing world . And now the U nited States and its allies, sold on the Star Wars program, th reaten to transfer the arms race to outer space . The W FTU has issued an appeal to the workers of the U nited States and their trade unions to join their fellow workers in other cou ntries in the campaign to halt the Star Wars program. The trade u nions demand that the money being spen t on arms be used for peaceful purposes, in particular, for the crea­ tion of new jobs in sectors of the economy where u nemployment is especially high. I n our day , not a single rank-and-file trade union member or a trade u nion leader, irre­ spective of their political views, can remain apathetic to questions of war and peace . Trade u nions have lau nched a peace campaign under the ban ner of " Working People and Trade U n ions for Peace and Work . " The stated objectives of this campaign is to promote the signing of international agreements on an i mmediate cut in military spending of at least 10 percent, the cessation of all military R & D work , the halting of all n uclear tests, a ban on deploying weapons in space , the h alting of the arms race on Earth and cuts in nuclear arsenals to be followed by the complete liqui­ dation of all n uclear and chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction. The success of the trade u nions' peace i nitiative depends pri marily on how closely these demands will be linked to socio-economic

1 47

T H E I NT E R NATIONAL TRADE U N I O t< MOV E M E NT

demands. The cam paign , if successful, will indisputably leave the trade u nions at an un precedented level of u nity . It is for this re a son that progressive trade unions join forces with other trade union orga n izations irrespective of their c l a ss or poli t ical orien ta­ tion in the stru ggle for peace. Actively involved in t h e peace movement are trade u nion organization s of West Germany , Great B ritai n , Belgiu m , N orway, and also the N a tion a l Labor Con federation of France , the Portuguese I n tersyndical , the Workers Com­ missions of Sp a in and the I talian N ational Labou r Conference, and others. A Congress of the Europea n Confederation of Trade U nions held in 1 985 in M il a n came ou t a gai nst the milita rizat ion of outer space and the deploy­ ment of n uclear weapons in Europe , and su pported the idea of creating non-nuclear zones on the continen t. The calls made at the Con gress have already produced concrete re­ sults. In Western Europe 250 cities have proclaimed themselves n uclear-free . And one of th e large&t national trade u n ion association , the Canadian Labour Congress , jointly with its provi n ci a l affiliates condem ned the U . S. Administration's Star Wars program . The trade u nions of many developing countries also t ake a consistent line in respect to issues of war a n d peace . Peace issues h ave consi s tentl y been raised at r egional trade u nion con ferences, bringing '

10-

1 48

WHAT ARE T RADE U N I O NS ?

together trade union organizations from the B altic , the Pacific Ocean , I ndia , Asia and Oceania, the Caribbean and Latin America. At the 26th Working Conference of B altic coun­ tries , N orway and Iceland held in 1 98 5 , for example, th e proposal was approved of holding regional trade union meetings to discuss the creation of non-n uclear zones and of con vening a conference of Europe­ an trade u n ion organizations to draw u p a comprehen sive program to p romote close coope ration of trade unions in the peace strug­ gle. At a recen t Delhi Conference, a special resolution was adopted to turn the Pacific Ocean into a non-nuclear zone and declare the Indian Ocean a zone of peace. Another popular foru m has been interna­ tional conferences wh ere workers of the same professions meet to discuss schemes for dis­ mantling the military production and tran sfer­ ring its resources to civilian sectors. The 1 1 th World Congress of Trade U n ions, held i n 1 986, appealed to the leaders of the Soviet U nion , the United States and the U nited N ations to take immediate steps to conclude international agreements that would halt the arms race, i mpose a ban on all n uclear arms tests , order the destruction of n uclear and other weapons of mass destruction , and direct the resources thus released i nto an acceleration of socio-economic development.

T H E I N T E R NATIONAL T R A D E U N I ON M O V E M E N T

1 49

Trade u nion s, in their capacity as the most representative organ izations of workers , are a key factor in uniting all toilers in the stru ggle for the right to work , for pros perity and for peace on Ea rth .

G LOSSARY ABSOLUTE AND RELATIVE DECLIN E OF THE PROLETARIAT'S POSITION. A b so l ute decline i s brought on by a drop in the proletariat's standard of living, rising unemployment and inflation , and more work for less pay ; relative decline is a result of the shrinking share of national i ncome and national wealth accounted for by the working class . ANARCH O-SYNDICALISM, an opportunist trend in the workers' movement. Followers of this trend reject political struggle and the guiding role of proletarian political pa rtie s , believing instead that trade unions are the highest form of the working-class organization and should therefore control the means of production. AUTOMATION OF PRODUCTION PROCESSES, the in troduction of highly advanced and efficient machinery in the production process which is operated by automatic means, reducing workers' functions of control, mainte­ nance and a dj u st me n t U nder capitalism automation is used to increase exploitation of workers and results i n the growth of unemployment, while in socialist society automa­ tion is carried out in a planned manner and in circu mstances of full employment. .

BOURGEOISIE, the ruling class of capitalist society who of production and exploit wage labor.

ow n the means

1 52

WHAT ARE TRADE UNION S ?

CLASSES, large grou ps of people d istinguished by the place they occupy in the histori c ally definite system of social production , by their relation to the means of production , by their role in the social organization of labor and, consequently, by the way they acquire public wealth and their share thereof. C LASS STRUGGLE, a struggle between classes whose interests are either incom patible or antagonistic. The struggle of the working class under the guidance of its political party leads to a socialist revolu tion . COMPETITION, an antagonistic struggle between pri­ vate manufacturers to increase their profits and gai n a larger share of the market. Compecition is a result of private ownershi p of the means of production and under capitalism serves as a spon taneous reg u lator of social production . DEMOCRATIC CENTRALI SM, a principle central to the activities of the party, the state and public institutions in admi nisteri ng socialist society u nder which r uling bodies are elected from top to bottom and must make periodic reports to the organizations they govern, the minority submits to the majority, and all decisions of h igher bodies are binding on lower ones. D ICTATORSH I P OF THE PROLETARIAT, a regime of the working class established after the victory of a socialist revolution for the purpose of b u i l ding a socialist society that ";ll ultimately result in com m u nism. The dictatorship of the proletariat i m plies leadership of the working class in alliance with the peasantry and other democratic elements aimed at fostering broad democ racy for workers and quelling the resistance of the ex ploitati ve classes. ECONOMIC CRISIS, a phase in the economic cycle u nder cap i talism marked by a decline i n ou tput, a reduction in production capacities, a rise in unemployment and havoc in the sphere of credit and currency operations.



G LOSSARY

1 53

EXPANSION, the broadening of the sphere of domina­ tion by monopolies or a capitalist state through economic means (the export of capital , crippling loans, etc.) or by force (armed annexation). EX PLOI TATION , the appropriation of the results of someone else's labor without remuneration. U nder socialism ex ploi tation disappeared with the eradication of private ownership of the means of production and the exploiter classes.

I M PERIALISM , monopoly capitalism, the high e s t and final stage of c a pi ta l i s m , the eve of a socialist revolution. U n d e r imperialism society is dominated by a financial oligarchy that has concentrated in its hands the joint capital of industrial and banking monopolies. Various factions within the financial oligarchy are locked in a battle for sa l e s markets, sources of raw materials and investment opportunities, and create international monopolies (trans­ national corporations). I N FLATION, a phenomenon peculiar to capitalist economy whereby the overcirculation of paper currency puts upward pressure on prices and causes, the devalua­ tion of currency in relation to gold and the decline of real wages. I NTEGRATION, ECONOMIC, an objective process of national economies m e r g i ng and conducting coordinated inter-state economic policies, a form of internationalizing economic life. an

INVESTM ENT, the long-term investment of capital in economic branch at home or abroad.

LABOR I NTENSITY, a measure ment of the labor input of a worker per unit time. LOC KOUT. a method of stru ggle used by capitalists against the working class to quell strikes involving the closing of a business or wholesale dismissal of e mpl o y ees by the e m p loyer to pressurise them into obedience.

1 54

WHAT A R E TRADE U NI O N S

MONOPOLY , a capitalist assoc1auon having exclusiv control over a p articular market by virtue of a concentr< tion of material or financial resources for the purpose c deriving monopoly profits and establishing monopol prices.

M ONOPOLIES. I NTERN ATIONAL, large capitali! firms with active assets abroad, or associations of firms c different countries who establish a monopoly over particular segment of the world capitalist economy i order to derive maximum profits.

N ATIONAL I NCOME, the total value or the part of th aggregate social product in kind corresponding to i produced in the sphere of material production during on year calculated less the cost of producing these goods.

N EOCOLO N I ALISM , a system of inequitable econom and political relations imposed by imperialist states o developing cou ntries.

N EW INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER, a economic policy designed to guarantee every natio equality, the right to self-determination , free choice of a economic and social system, territorial integrity, fu sovereignty over its national resources and economy an outlaw the use of force to acquire territory and interfe' ence in the i nternal affairs of other states.

N ON-CAPITALIST PATH OF DEVELOPM ENT, revolutionary process creatin g the preconditions for th building of socialism in conditions of economic and soci: backwardness found in man y of the former colonies i Asia, Africa and Latin America.

PRODUCTIVE FORCES, the means of production ph laborer, comprising a system that expresses man's intera' tion with nature and the mastering and development of i riches.

G LOSSARY

1 55

REFORM ISM IN THE WORKI NG-CLASS M OVE­ MENT, a political trend rejecting the necessity of a socialist revolution, and the dictatorship of the proletariat, instead urging class collaboration and the institution of bourgeois reforms to tum capitalism into a socially just society. RELATIONS OF PRODUCTION , the sum total of the material and economic relations between people in the social production process reflecting the mode of ownership and consequently determining the distribution of the means of production and also distribution of people in social production . REPRIV ATISATION, a policy of bourgeois states whereby once nationalized property such as enterprises , banks, land and stocks are turned over to private control . SOC IO-ECON O M I C FORMATION, a specific stage of h istorical development. The entire history of society is a process of the development of successive social formations: primitive society is replaced by slave-owning, slave-owning by feudalism, feudalism by capitalism, and capitalism by commu nism , each of them having its own specific laws of origin and development. Not all cou ntries and peoples must necessarily pass through all of these stages. Today several nations are embarking on the building of socialism bypassing the capitalist stage. SOCIAL SEC U R I TY IN SOC IALIST COUNTR I ES, a state system of material maintenance for the aged and physically disabled ; every citizen is eligible. The system is fi nanced from public consumption fu nds ; no deductions are made from paychecks. STATE-MONOPOLY CAPITALISM, an advanced stage of monopoly capitalism u nder which capitalist monopolies and the state u nite forces to preserve and strengthen the capitalist system, enrich the monopolies, suppress the workers' and national liberation movements, and unleash aggressive wars.

1 56

WHAT A R E TRADE UN IONS ?

STRIKEB REAKER, a person who takes part in breaking a strike recruited from among declassed or politically ignorant elements and also from among the unemployed . STRIKE PICKET, a group of striking workers who stand guard outside an enterprise to block access for strikebreakers. TRADE U N IONISM, a trend in the workers' and trade u nion movement in capitalist states which advocates limiting the objectives of the workers' movement to gaining pay increases and better job conditions and urging the introduction of limited reforms in the bourgeois state. WAGES (under capitalism) , a system of renumerating labor u nder which a pare of labor remains u npaid for and which conceals relations of capitalist exploitation .

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