Published: 01/05/2024

In 2024, workers in more than 60 countries will journey to the polls, from India to South Africa to the EU to Mexico to the US, to participate in elections, an important aspect of democracy. We know that these elections will have major consequences for workers’ rights, economic inequality, and the climate crisis. While IUF affiliates worldwide will play a key role in many election activities this year, we also understand that elections are only one aspect of the fight for peace, democracy and human rights that we debated at the IUF’s 28th Congress last year.

This has been a difficult year for democracy. Our affiliates in Myanmar and Ukraine are fighting a daily existential battle. Our affiliates in Argentina have been joined in unprecedented numbers by others from across Latin America to protest the dismantling of social protections built over decades by the trade union movement. The Israel-Hamas war has destroyed countless lives and dismantled much of the work to build a strong labor movement. Our comrades in Hong Kong, Belarus, Cambodia remain in prison. Extreme right governments are driving an anti-worker, anti-union, anti-women, anti-LGBTI, anti-migrant, anti-rights agenda across the planet.

Despite these threats to our shared vision of peace, democracy and human rights, the IUF continues our daily work to organize, to fight and to win. Fighting for our future is more than a slogan. It’s the spirit that animates our focused everyday work to ensure access to rights including the right to organize and associate freely, the right to collective bargaining, the right to a workplace free from discrimination, the right to a safe and healthy workplace, the right to a world of work without gender-based violence and harassment. We fight each and every day for a democratic workplace, because we understand that it is the foundation of any democratic society.

Wars, extremism and disasters both manmade and natural have threatened the trade union movement before. The IUF, together with our affiliates, will meet this moment as we have for over 100 years with tenacity, creativity and boldness. Despite the myriad crises, we celebrate the resilience and power of our movement from the youngest young worker to the oldest, from each and every corner of this beautiful planet, with all our different ideas and visions for a better, more equitable future. Happy May Day! Viva the IUF, viva the trade union movement, and solidarity forever.

Happy May Day! Viva the IUF, viva the trade union movement, and solidarity forever!