The Committee for Free Trade Unionism(CFTU)is asking trade unionists around the world to help the Coalition of Independent Unions of Cuba (CSIC) obtain affiliation to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).
Affiliation will be brought before the General Council of the ITUC at its meeting in late October in Amman, Jordan.
In Cuba, the government only allows one federation to exist openly, the government-sponsored Cuban Workers Federation (CTC). The International Labour Organization (ILO) has, on eight occasions, called the CTC a “minority minion.”
The CSIC was formed to speak with one voice, denouncing what the International Labour Organization(ILO)describes as the “monopoly unionism” imposed by the government of Cuba. The CSIC wants free trade unions in Cuba, and for workers to have unions of their own choosing.
If you are a delegate to the ITUC General Council, please help the movement for free trade unionism in Cuba by voting YES for affiliation of the CFTU.
The Coalition of Independent Cuban Unions (CSIC) is made up of three federations, grouping workers from light industry, the health sector, teachers, bicitaxi (pedicab) operators, food workers and the self-employed. One of the three, the Unitary Council of Trade Unions of Cuba (CUTC), is already an Associate Member of the ITUC, by virtue of its longtime membership in the World Confederation of Labor, prior to the merger of the World Confederation of Labour(WCL)with the ITUC.
The unions support a labor training center and maintain an alliance with the independent library network of Cuba, and they provide orientation, advice and counsel to individual workers about work problems. Each of the federation is governed by its elected officers and an elected executive board, which is made of representatives from fifteen of the nineteen provinces of Cuba.
All of these activities are supported by an intense educational activity based on the documents of the ILO and ITUC in efforts to promote the rights of workers to democracy and freedom. The Coalition has pledged to fully support the principles and goals of the ITUC, and applied for ITUC membership in November 2011.
The 2011 ITUC Report on Denial of Trade Workers’ Rights in Cuba
“Basic trade union rights (in Cuba) are not adequately protected…. Workers’ rights are thus subordinate to political objectives. There is only one officially recognized trade union, the Central de Trabajadores de Cuba (CTC), which has a monopoly with respect to representation of workers. The number of politically motivated arrests was estimated to have reached 1,224 in November 2010, which discourages the formation of independent trade unions, as the authorities view exercising freedom of association as a political activity.”
CUBA and the ILO –In 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012
ILO Committees have cited the Cuban government’s failure to recognize the independent unions, its maintenance of “monopoly unionism”, its failure to provide workers the right to strike and have called upon the Cuban Government to free twenty-four trade unionists who had been arrested in 2003. After eight years they were finally released and sent into exile in Spain in 2011. Some refused to accept exile and were allowed to stay in Cuba. One member of this group is now the General Secretary of the Independent Confederation of Cuban Workers (CTIC). Meanwhile, the Cuban government continues to refuse to comply with the basic Conventions of the ILO.