International Transport Federation pass motion in support of Cuba

Campaign News | Thursday, 19 August 2010

Report by Greg Hewitt, CSC executive member and RMT

Report from the 42nd International Transport Federation Mexico City - 5 - 12 August 2010

Amid the great upheavals in the Mexican government and it’s attacks on the trade unions of Mexico, in particular, the out of hand, sacking of 44 thousand electricity workers and their struggle for reinstatement. The 42nd International Transport Federation met at the Hilton Reforma Hotel in Mexico City.

As part of its progressive policies the ITF wishes to rise to the challenge of embracing countries like China, Vietnam and Cuba that are seen by some, as ideological enemies. If the ITF are truly to become a global organisation it cannot continue to ignore the trade unions in these countries. To this end on the very last day of conference the ITF passed a resolution proposed by the British Rail & Maritime Transport Workers Union (RMT), pointing out Cuba’s ongoing medical cooperation and ongoing involvement in the Haiti earthquake disaster, it also called for the involvements of the Cuban trade unions into the ITF and a wider programme of educating ITF members about the day to day struggles of the Cuban people due to the illegal blockade of Cuba. Also to promote solidarity visits to Cuba.

As part of the RMT’s delegation and a member of the Cuba Solidarity Campaign’s executive committee, I was given the honour to move the motion in front of over 600 international delegates. I am pleased to say it was welcomed by delegates. Many of whom approached me after the motion was carried, stating unanimously that we needed to embrace Cuba and the Cuban people.

It was quite clear to me that the overwhelming majority delegates were of the opinion that “It was about time”.

We cannot rest on our laurels, we need to keep the issues alive and pursue them on the worldwide stage. Cuba and the Cuban people deserve no less.

Full text of the motion:

Motion 28:Cuba

1. Congress notes that the cuban doctors were at the forefront of the humanitarian medical effort in response to the tragic earthquake that occured on 12 January 2010 in Haiti.

2. Congress further notes that this Cuban committment to Haiti is not a one off or only a responce to a humanitarian tragedy; 344 Cuban health specialists were present on the island prior to the earthquake - and today 938 Cuban medical staff are volunteering on the island, including 400 Cuban trained Haitian doctors all of whom received free medical scholarships to Havana's Latin American MedicL School.

3. Congress welcomes that once again Cuba has shown it's committment to international solidarity once again, and believe the ITF must play it's part in promoting cooperation and engagement with Cuba and seeking an end to the blockade of Cuba.

4. Congress agrees to:

a. To help educate our members and the public about the reality of life in Cuba, and the day to day difficulties the Cuban people face;

b. Promote solidarity visits to Cuba as a means of encouraging co-operation and engagement.

Submitted by RMT, Great Britain

Amendment no. 32

Amendment proposed by: SATAWU, South Africa

i.Amend by adding a clause 4c: "Encourage union to union contact in the transport sector, including exposure of the Cuban transport trade unions to ITF policies and activities, with a view to eventual affiliation"

We accepted the amendment from the South African Transport & Allied Workers Union.

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