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1st May – International Worker’s Day : "LET'S BUILD A JUST, FRATERNAL AND SUSTAINABLE SOCIETY"

Fair and decent work for all, regardless of your skin colour, gender, religion or country of birth, that’s the struggle of the World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW) with its movement members.

Since 1889 (May 1stchosen as Labour Day), many workers from all around the world take to the streets on May 1st to commemorate the fight that led to better and more dignified working conditions to the unionists in Chicago, during which several protesters were killed. With this call, the WMCW want to remind how little the situation in some parts of the world has changed since that time and how necessary is to continue to actively engage in order to improve the situation.

Despite the many statements and demands for decent work, described for example in the social encyclicals of Popes, in numerous publications of the ILO and many other documents, there is often exploitation and slavery-like working conditions. Most people in poor countries work without any rules regarding working hours, safety at work and remuneration.

That’s the case of the maid of a wealthy family in Mali who was told she would get paid at the end of the year. When that time arrived, she was told that she had broken so many things like glasses and crockery that there was no more money left from her salary. She worked 7 days a week and had to be constantly available. In the end, she had worked a whole year for no pay. This example represents many people around the world. The member movements of the WMCW bring this to the public’s attention, register it at the State institutions (Police) and help the victims to take action in order to improve their situation.

In many countries, regulations are easily removed by turning employees into "independent" workers, which are just as dependent as before but instead have almost no rights. An example of this are the package deliverers who have to buy their own vehicle and assume all risks involved. They often drive more than 10 hours a day and it is only with difficulty that they can feed a family. If the car breaks down, they have to take out a loan, so they become even more dependent than before.

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8th MARCH – INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY WOMEN: BUILDERS OF NEW REALITIES

In our still-patriarchal society, women, although discriminated, keep struggling. They build new realities and make a difference. They suffer from social stigma, oppression, family pressure and abuse, but they persist in the fight for a world in which they all have a voice and everyone has a decent life.

Women, mothers, girlfriends, sisters, partners, godmothers, wives, aunts, grandmothers, cooks, laundresses, nurses, teachers, nurses... Women are present in the entire lifetime. They participate and change situations. The world is full of women’s synergy and only they/we transform the reality and weave new pathways of fraternity. All of this is despite the fact that the situation of the world’s women is still worrisome: Two out of three illiterate persons in the world are women,we constitute 60% of the workforce on the planet but we do not earn more than 10% of the global income, only 1% of women own land, and domestic violence is the leading cause of death for women between 14 and 44 years.

The conquest of rights and solidarity with women in the world of work are the fundamental way to a world of justice.

There are many countries where women join hands with other movements and organizations to commemorate the importance of their fight for a fairer world free from violence against women. A world where all woman, from their different approaches, have a right to life with dignity, free from any oppression or repression.

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WMCW Statement on the Occasion of the International Action Day for the Right to Strike - February 18th

 

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) has called for a global day of action on 18 February against the position of one group of employers in the International Labour Organization (ILO) attempting to end this law.

As Christian workers, men and women, concerned about the constant attacks on social and labour rights of persons and families worldwide, we recall the message of the Church on the right to strike and the trade unions:

“Striking is one of the most difficult victories won by labour union associations. (...) The Church's social doctrine recognizes the legitimacy of striking “when it cannot be avoided, or at least when it is necessary to obtain a proportionate benefit”, when every other method for the resolution of disputes has been ineffectual.

The Magisterium recognizes the fundamental role played by labour unions, whose existence is connected with the right to form associations or unions to defend the vital interests of workers employed in the various professions. Unions “grew up from the struggle of the workers — workers in general but especially the industrial workers — to protect their just rights vis-à-vis the entrepreneurs and the owners of the means of production”. (Compendium of the social doctrine of the church, 304-305)

In view of the Magisterium of the Church, from the World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW) we joined this day of global action and strongly support. At the same time, we show our absolute rejection to criminalize the actions of men and women trade unionists in defence of the rights of working men and women.

Our faith in Jesus Christ makes us fight for a just, fraternal and sustainable society and we understand that the international trade union, with its lights and shadows, continues to make an unavoidable contribution to achieving universal justice in all parts of our world.

 

(Image: ITUC)

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Another World is possible !

This new edition of INFOR gives a voice to the men and women who take action across the world. They oppose an inevitable destiny of poverty, injustice and hate. They resist, lead projects and build the world that WMCW longs for. They demonstrate that human rights are not restricted by geographical boundaries and that any action, no matter where it may take place, can drive humanity forward.

In Pakistan, the movement (here you will find the presentation) has stood up and demanded that those who ordered the burning alive of two Christians for blasphemy be found and brought to justice. In Egypt, the Sabah of Cairo has announced his confidence in a better world despite all the obstacles in the way. In South America, there has been a revival with renewed coordination efforts.

The MTC in Brazil has organised training to champion a united economy. It has spoken about Dilma Rousseff’s story during the dictatorship. In Central America, an international congress bringing together Spain’s HOAC, the Guatemalan movement and other civil society organisations gave the opportunity to debate the issues of unemployment, exploitation and slavery.

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Final Statement of the ECWM Seminar, Lisbon, October 2014

The meeting of the European Christian Workers Movement (ECMW) held in Lisbon from 16th to 19th October, ended with a statement about two issues as hot as the Transatlantic trade between the US and the European Union and the police raid "Mos maiorum”. Similarly, the European coordinator reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against unemployment.

Seminar: Fighting against unemployment

The European Christian Workers Movement (ECMW) shared the current reality of unemployment in many European countries in its annual seminar in Lisbon. The shared reality shows how critical the situation is for many people, but also the small signs of hope that exist in our environments. Despite the current crisis in the employment throughout Europe we believe that there is work for everyone. We recall that the priority of labour over capital (Laborem Exercens). "Money must serve people, not the other". Therefore it is necessary people who have jobs, are aware that the work is something more than employment. But the job created has to be decent to break these dynamics, and besides everyone has the right to a minimum income, independently whether they have employment or not. For reversing this situation, we propose the following actions:

  • A joint program in Europe that addresses the creation of jobs. A program which ends the current austerity measures in favour of public spending and investment will lead to millions of new jobs and decent work for everybody. The creation of decent work will contribute to build full rather precarious lives and it will encourage people to contribute to society as a whole.
  • We will also continue to promote the World Day for Decent Work on 7th October of each year. Decent work must be at the center of the political agenda of the EU.
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"Sowing Fraternity"

In this new installment of INFOR we offer a lot of information: news of the movements of their ac­tions with men and women of "good will" as well as texts for analysis and reflec­tion that can help us in our team meetings. We also co­llect profound words of Pope Francis that, against the tide, calls society to wake up, to go out of its sel­fishness and to act for the reception of refugees.

Among all this wealth, we wish to emphasize the testimony of Antoinette from MCW of Central Afri­can Republic. How not to get excited with the value of this woman, affected by war and her daughter's de­ath, who took refuge in a convent and, in appalling conditions, mobilized all her forces to help others, to provide them support and comfort.

The WMCM emphasises the concept of "fraternity", in particular in the prepara­tion of the 2015­2016 re­gional seminars. It is not al­ways easy to live as brothers and sisters of the same family, the great hu­man family. We have to overcome many obstacles, disagreements and fears. But when we look around us, we see that there are men and women around the world whose daily ac­tions, without much noise, allow to restore that frater­nity we all yearn.

According to Antoinette and many other members of the Central African MCW, we refuse to consi­der others as enemies, we resist against the pernicious ideas that lead to whom was your brother yesterday, today is your enemy.

Throughout the world, we see a rise of intolerance, racism, rejection of neigh­bour. The economic crisis plaguing the working and popular world leads to self­absorption. How to resist and to fight against all when the person is being destroyed?

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STATEMENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL MOVEMENTS – 17 JUNE 2014

 

On 17 June 2014, we – the international leaders of the International Movements of Catholic inspiration, comprising IMAC, ICYCW, MIJARC, IYCW, WMCW, Pax Romana, and MIAMSI – gathered in Paris. The purpose of our meeting was to renew old ties grown distant with time.

The event provided us with a number of opportunities; we were able to take time to get to know each other, and to share the lives of international organizations today, but also to look to the future, and to outline our plans for long-lasting collaboration.

Each movement shared its reality, including its joys, challenges, and action plan. Through this dialogue we were able to see similarities and important issues that are relevant to all the International Movements. These include such examples as the international dimension, the openness of the Church, and recognition of our movements by the Church and its institutions, as well as financial issues, which can affect the stability of movements and their future.

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