Translated by Orlando Martins CUT leader, Vagner Freitas, says the confederation is “what the unions wants it to be.” He highlighted the early days of the organization, created in 1983, but noted that the current role must be different. “The situation …

Andrew

Translated by Orlando Martins

CUT leader, Vagner Freitas, says the confederation is “what the unions wants it to be.” He highlighted the early days of the organization, created in 1983, but noted that the current role must be different. “The situation is another.” Now, according to the current situation, the union movement must take a leading role in international forums. In a meeting with Dilma Rousseff earlier this month, the CUT union said that the president will defend a space for the confederation on the next G20 meeting in September in St. Petersburg, Russia. Freitas identifies “rulers lost” in the middle of a European crisis.

Trade union movement must assume the role of protagonist, says Vagner Freitas, CUT leader.

In the year that the CUT has emerged, the situation, in fact was quite different. The start of the political situation: Brazilwas still under a dictatorship, the government’s last president-general, João Baptista Figueiredo. Among the main demands, were the breaking with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the end of National Security Law (LSN). Also protesting against law 2.045, which limited wage increases to 80% inflation. The government intervened in the Metalworkers unions of São Bernardo do Campoand Diadema (now ABC) and Oil unions of Bahia. On July 21, there was a general strike.

Almost at the same time that the Congress ended where was decided the creation of the CUT, the DOPS São Paulo survey participants also indicated in a meeting held in July, in which they discussed the general strike. Among those indicted were Jamil Murad (president of the Association of Physicians, a former congressman), Clara Ant (Union of Architects), advisor to Lula, and Jair Meneguelli (president of the CUT), current president of the National Council of Sesi.

The origins of the CUT come from the 1st National Conference of the Working Class (Conclat) held in 1981 in Praia Grande, São Paulo coast. There, the discussion of creating a confederation was divided. The participants performed another Conclat (now signifying congress) in August 1983 in São Bernardo, on ABC, when the CUT was created. 5059 delegates attended from 912 entities.

In 1984, it was held the 1st National Congress of the CUT (Concut), also in São Bernardo. The first executive meeting,  Meneguelli was president, Avelino Ganzer (rural workers Santarém), Vice, and Paulo Paim (metallurgical Canoas-RS), the Secretary-General – Paim is now senator  for PT (Labour Party) gaucho. Ganzer attended today’s meeting of the national leadership of the CUT, which marked the beginning of the celebrations for the 30th anniversary of the centre. Also there was Delubio Soares, who was part of the first executive as vice president for the Midwest region. He was greeted with “a fraternal embrace” by Vagner Freitas.

All former presidents attended the meeting today. Lula highlighted the pioneering Jair Meneguelli also metallurgist, who headed the Confederation for 11 years, from 1983 to 1994. “It was a golden moment for CUT, with goods and bads,” he said.

Meneguelli’s successor, the current congressman Vicente Paulo da Silva, “the Vicentinho” (1994-2000), another metallurgical from ABC, inaugurated the period of so-called citizen unionism – promoting other movements besides labour. After a four-month temporary period, with Kjeld Jakobsen, Paulo Joao Felicio was elected in 2000 in a period of heightened confrontation with the so-called neo-liberal policies of the government – in particular, with a project design to give flexibility to CLT and gave the union movement “the dubious benefit of free negotiation.” In 2003 was elected the metallurgical Luiz Marinho, who became minister of Lula’s government (Labour and Welfare). Last year, he was re-elected to the city ofSão Bernardo. From 2006 to 2012, the leadership of the CUT was at the hands of Artur Henrique from Campinas, who was replaced by banker Vagner Freitas from Sao Paulo.

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