The murder of George Floyd on 25 May 2020 is the most recent manifestation of the systemic racism, violence and inequality that has oppressed people of colour historically in communities worldwide. This latest act of violence in the US, despite its long history of civil rights activism, comes as another shocking reminder of the ongoing gravity of this international crisis.
Trade unionists and the labour movement have led with our commitment that “An injury to one is an injury to all”. This foundational principle – and organising and rallying cry – is at the heart of campaigns against racial, ethnic, gender-based, religious, political and industrial abuse, discrimination and exploitation.
It was central to the ITF industrial campaign in the South African struggle against apartheid amongst many other campaigns. Echoes of these struggles now ring in the ears of the victims of violence inflicted on African-Americans, on people of colour, on ethnic minorities, on the poor, and on workers across America and of course in many other countries across the globe.
Racism, violence and inequality are workplace and community issues. All workers and their unions must fight for equality, peace and justice for all. This always has been, and always will be union business.
The killing of George Floyd is the latest abhorrent, deeply divisive and unacceptable face of a deeply embedded racial divide in the world, and the US specifically. The coronavirus death rate across US where African Americans have died from the disease at almost three times the rate of white Americans is reflected in many other countries due to poverty, poor social support and economic and political discrimination. This lies at the heart of deeply-rooted racial inequality and injustice.
The world’s transport workers have a long, proud history of being part of civil rights, human rights and social justice movements. Over the weekend, union bus drivers in Minneapolis and New York refused to transport police officers or protesters to jail. We are deeply proud and honoured to stand beside and behind these workers, our members and our affiliated unions who are bravely acting in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement.
The ITF, and the almost 20 million transport workers we continue to represent, unreservedly support the struggle for justice personified in George Floyd’s death with every fibre of our historical courage and determination.
We stand steadfastly in solidarity with the oppressed and their communities in the US, and all workers similarly discriminated against around the world.
An injury to one remains an injury to all!
Paddy Crumlin, ITF President
Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary