Kholodmash factory workers letter applauds international solidarity
International solidarity organised by the Committee for a Workers’ International (CWI) played a big role in two recent disputes in the former Soviet Union (CIS). Residents in the Shanyrak shanty town, in Alma-Ata, in Kazakhstan, have at least temporarily succeeded in pushing back attempts by the Alma-Ata city government to evict them from their homes. This was, in large part, due to their decisive actions (see previous reports on socialistworld.net), but also because of the international protests sent to the authorities.
In the same way, workers at the Kholodmash refrigeration plant, in Yaraslavl city, in Russia, were inspired by the protests that flooded to the factory’s bosses from all over the world. This followed the workers appeal for international support in their fight for unpaid wages and to save the factory from closure (see socialistworld.net for background information).
The Kholodmash workers report that protest and solidarity letters were sent from more than 30 countries, from sections of the CWI and from trade unions, political parties and social movements, and from individuals in these organisations. The Kholodmash workers mention the British trade union, Unison, the Communist Party of India, the immigrants’ movement in Portugal and the students’ union at Harvard University, USA, as some examples of this marvelous global solidarity. The workers also received important support from organisations and individuals in Brazil, Australia and Canada, and from several West European countries.
As a result, the Kholodmash factory workers wrote a letter thanking all those who aided their struggle, which we post below.
“Struggle has its reward”!
Letter of thanks from the ‘Kholodmash’ workers to all those organizations and individuals who answered the Kholodmash solidarity campaign:
The workforce of Kholodmash thanks all comrades for their moral support during our struggle with the arbitrary and illegal actions of the management of our factory. Our problem is the same problem that is faced by workers in thousands of factories, small and large, in Russia and abroad. Private ownership of the means of production is leading to a sharp reduction in the rights of workers. This is not only in the workplace in Russia. The right to free and quality higher education is restricted. Housing laws are being changed to deprive millions of the right to their own home. It is practically impossible to get good free health care. Even the basic right to work, the only means of guaranteeing human existence, is under attack.
What is now taking place in Russia can only be called [a social form of] ‘genocide’. And that is why more and more people are drawing the conclusion that we have to fight for our rights. But to win we need solidarity! We call on all progressive people, all who are concerned for the problems of others, to unite in the struggle for justice.
We, the workers Kholodmash workers, thank you, our friends, for showing you are not indifferent to our fate, even though we are so far away. The struggle changes people. It gives its own reward. The experience we have gained makes us confident that victory will be ours.