International Trade Union Confederation

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International Trade Union Confederation (logo).svg
Full nameInternational Trade Union Confederation
Founded1 November 2006 (2006-11-01)
Predecessor ICFTU and WCL
Members207 million in 163 countries (2018)
Key people
Office location Brussels, Belgium

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC; French : Confédération syndicale internationale (CSI); German : Internationaler Gewerkschaftsbund (IGB); Spanish : Confederación Sindical Internacional (CSI)) is the world's largest trade union federation. It was formed on 1 November 2006, out of the merger of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and the World Confederation of Labour (WCL). The Founding Congress of the ITUC was held in Vienna and was preceded by the dissolution congresses of both the ICFTU and the WCL. The ITUC has three main regional organizations – the Asia-Pacific Regional Organization, the American Regional Organization, and the African Regional Organization. [1] The Trade Union Development Cooperation Network (TUDCN) is an initiative of the ITUC whose main objective is to bring the trade union perspective into international development policy debates and improve the coordination and effectiveness of trade union development cooperation activities. [2]

French language Romance language

French is a Romance language of the Indo-European family. It descended from the Vulgar Latin of the Roman Empire, as did all Romance languages. French evolved from Gallo-Romance, the spoken Latin in Gaul, and more specifically in Northern Gaul. Its closest relatives are the other langues d'oïl—languages historically spoken in northern France and in southern Belgium, which French (Francien) has largely supplanted. French was also influenced by native Celtic languages of Northern Roman Gaul like Gallia Belgica and by the (Germanic) Frankish language of the post-Roman Frankish invaders. Today, owing to France's past overseas expansion, there are numerous French-based creole languages, most notably Haitian Creole. A French-speaking person or nation may be referred to as Francophone in both English and French.

German language West Germanic language

German is a West Germanic language that is mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, South Tyrol (Italy), the German-speaking Community of Belgium, and Liechtenstein. It is also one of the three official languages of Luxembourg and a co-official language in the Opole Voivodeship in Poland. The languages which are most similar to German are the other members of the West Germanic language branch: Afrikaans, Dutch, English, the Frisian languages, Low German/Low Saxon, Luxembourgish, and Yiddish. There are also strong similarities in vocabulary with Danish, Norwegian and Swedish, although those belong to the North Germanic group. German is the second most widely spoken Germanic language, after English.

Spanish language Romance language

Spanish or Castilian is a Romance language that originated in the Castile region of Spain and today has hundreds of millions of native speakers in the Americas and Spain. It is a global language and the world's second-most spoken native language, after Mandarin Chinese.


The ITUC represents 207 million workers through its 331 affiliated organizations within 163 countries and territories. [3] Sharan Burrow is the current General Secretary. [4]

Sharan Burrow Australian trade unionist

Sharan Burrow is the General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and a former President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) (2000–2010). She is the first woman to become General Secretary of the ITUC since its foundation in 2006, and was the second woman to become President of the ACTU.

The ITUC traces its origins back to the First International (also known as the International Workingmen's Association) and in 2014 commemorated the 150th anniversary of the founding of the International Working Men's Association at its own world congress held in Berlin. Also in 2014, the ITUC debuted the Global Rights Index, which ranks nations on 97 metrics pertaining to workers' rights, such as freedom from violent conditions and the right to strike and unionise. [5]

Inaugural congress 2006

The founding congress of the ITUC was held from 1 to 3 November 2006 in Vienna, Austria.

The first day of the congress saw the formal creation of the ITUC followed by an address [6] by Juan Somavia, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

International Labour Organization Specialised agency of the United Nations

The International Labour Organization (ILO) is a United Nations agency whose mandate is to advance social justice and promote decent work by setting international labour standards. It was the first specialised agency of the UN.The ILO has 187 member states: 186 of the 193 UN member states plus the Cook Islands(South Pacific) are members of the ILO. The tripartite structure is unique to the ILO where representatives from the government, employers and employees openly debate and create labour standards.

Day two included Pascal Lamy, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) responding to panel discussions on the impact of globalisation, including the topics "Cohesion and chaos - the global institutions" and "Global unions - global companies". Technical difficulties limited Lamy's satellite video link participation.

Pascal Lamy French businessman and political advisor

Pascal Lamy is a French political consultant and businessman. He was the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) until 1 September 2013. His appointment took effect on 1 September 2005 for a four-year term. In April 2009, WTO members reappointed Lamy for a second four-year term, beginning on 1 September 2009. He was then succeeded by Roberto Azevêdo. Pascal Lamy was also European Commissioner for Trade and is an advisor for the transatlantic think-tank European Horizons, as well as currently serving as the Honorary President of the Paris-based think tank, Notre Europe.

World Trade Organization organization that intends to supervise and liberalize international trade

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization that is concerned with the regulation of international trade between nations. The WTO officially commenced on 1 January 1995 under the Marrakesh Agreement, signed by 124 nations on 15 April 1994, replacing the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT), which commenced in 1948. It is the largest international economic organization in the world.

Leadership and officers were elected on the final day of the congress. Guy Ryder, the former general secretary of the ICFTU, was elected to the same position in the new organisation. [7] Sharan Burrow was elected president. A Governing Council was established, with 70 elected members, and 8 additional seats reserved for youth and women’s representatives.

Guy Ryder British trade unionist

Guy Ryder is a British political scientist and union organiser who is the tenth and current Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO). He was previously General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) (2006–2010) and previous to that position, Ryder was General Secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) (2002–2006).

A Council of Global Unions was also formed on the final day of the congress. It was established jointly with ten global union federations and the Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC).

The Council will enable us to mobilize global membership around political and strategic initiatives and actions in order to confront global forces that work against the interests of working people and families.

Guy Ryder [8]

Second congress 2010

The second congress of the ITUC was held from 21 to 25 June 2010 in Vancouver, Canada.

On 25 June 2010, at the conclusion of the congress, Sharan Burrow (then ITUC President) was elected General Secretary, succeeding Guy Ryder (who had been elected as Deputy Director General of the International Labour Organization). [9] In anticipation of her election, Burrow had resigned from her position as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions effective 1 July 2010. [10]

Speaking to the Congress after her election, Burrow paid tribute to her predecessor and emphasised the continuing role of organised labour in the world's emergence from the Global Financial Crisis. She also made special mention of the significance of her election as the first female leader of the world's largest trade union (against a background of high workforce participation by women and a Congress 50% of whose delegates were women [11] ):

I am a warrior for woman and we still have work to ensure the inclusion of women in the work place and in our unions. The struggles for women are multiple – too often within their families for independence, then in the workplace for rights and equal opportunity, in their unions for access and representation and then as union leaders. But the investment in and participation of women is not only a moral mandate it is an investment in democracy and a bulwark against fundamentalism and oppression. Organising woman is and must continue to be a priority for the ITUC. [12]


Countries in light blue have an ITUC affiliate ITUC.png
Countries in light blue have an ITUC affiliate

The Pan-European Regional Council (PERC), a European trade union organisation within the ITUC was formed 19 March 2007. It consists of 87 national trade union centres and a total membership of 87 million. It works closely with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), and Bernadette Ségol is currently the general secretary of both organisations. The ITUC raises capital through charging dues to its member organisations. [13]

See also

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  1. "About Us". International Trade Union Conferation. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  2. "Development (TUDCN)". International Trade Union Confederation. ITUC-CSI-IGB. Retrieved 2017-11-15.
  3. "International Trade Union Confederation". Retrieved 2018-09-28.
  4. "About us". ITUC. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  5. Kevin Short (28 May 2014). The Worst Places On The Planet To Be A Worker. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 29 May 2014; see also: ITUC Global Rights Index: The world's worst countries for workers.
  6. "ILO Director-General lauds formation of new global union federation". ILO Online press room. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  7. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 3 February 2015. Retrieved 31 January 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  8. "Council of Global Unions formed [...]". ITUC Online. Retrieved 3 November 2006.
  9. "Sharan Burrow Acceptance Speech". ITUC Online. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  10. "Executive - Australian Council of Trade Unions". ACTU Online. Archived from the original on 29 June 2010. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  11. "Second ITUC World Congress concludes by electing its first female General Secretary". ITUC Online. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  12. "Sharan Burrow Acceptance Speech". ITUC Online. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  13. Rehli, Florian (2010). "International Trade Union Confederation". International Encyclopedia of Civil Society. SpringerLink. pp. 894–895. doi:10.1007/978-0-387-93996-4_409. ISBN   978-0-387-93994-0.