World Federation of Trade Unions

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World Federation of Trade Unions
World Federation of Trade Unions logo.svg
Predecessor IFTU
FoundedOctober 3, 1945;75 years ago (1945-10-03)
Headquarters Athens, Greece
Location
  • International
Members
92 million from 126 countries (2016) [1]
Key people
Website www.wftucentral.org

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) is an international federation of trade unions. WFTU was established in 1945 to replace the International Federation of Trade Unions.

Contents

History

Rise

Its mission was to bring together trade unions across the world in a single international organization, much like the United Nations. After a number of Western trade unions left it in 1949, as a result of disputes over support for the Marshall Plan, to form the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, the WFTU was made up primarily of unions affiliated with or allegedly sympathetic to communist parties. In the context of the Cold War, the WFTU was often portrayed in the West as a Soviet front organization. [2] A number of those unions, including those from Yugoslavia and China, left later when their governments had ideological differences with the Soviet Union.

Decline

The WFTU declined as a result of the collapse of the Soviet Union and socialist governments in Eastern Europe, in particular in Europe, with many of its former constituent unions joining the ICFTU. That fall seems to have come to an end since the congress in Havana in 2005 where a new leadership was elected with Georges Mavrikos, a Greek union activist from PAME, leading member of the Communist Party of Greece (KKE), at its head.

In January 2006 it moved its headquarters from Prague, Czech Republic to Athens, Greece and reinvigorated its activity by putting focus on organizing regional federations of unions in the Third World, by organizing campaigns against imperialism, racism, poverty, environmental degradation and exploitation of workers under capitalism and in defense of full employment, social security, health protection, and trade union rights. The WFTU devotes much of its energy to organizing conferences, issuing statements and producing educational materials and courses for trade union leaders.

In recent years, the WFTU has successfully managed to recruit several trade unions of importance in Europe, amongst which the Rail Maritime Trade Union in Great Britain, the Unione Sindicale di Base in Italy. In France, the CGT National Federation of Agri-Food and Forestry has maintained its affiliation with the WFTU. The CGT National Federation of Chemical Industries sent delegates to the last congress in Athens in 2011. In 2013, two local CGT railway workers branches have taken steps to become affiliates with the WFTU.

The different offices of the WFTU across the different continents organize regular exchanges and militant visits of trade union activists from an affiliate to another in order to further discussions, foster internationalist ties, establish an international activity of its affiliates around shared objectives and campaigns, against common adversaries.

In Africa, unions of major importance such as COSATU in South Africa have affiliated with the WFTU.

As part of its efforts to advance its international agenda, the WFTU develops working partnerships with national and industrial trade unions worldwide as well as with a number of international and regional trade union organizations including the Organization of African Trade Union Unity (OATUU), the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions (ICATU), the Permanent Congress of Trade Union Unity of Latin America (CPUSTAL), and the General Confederation of Trade Unions of CIS countries.

The WFTU holds consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations, the ILO, UNESCO, FAO, and other UN agencies. It maintains permanent missions in New York, Geneva, and Rome.

WFTU poster urging solidarity with the Bolivian Workers' Center Fsm-cob-poster.png
WFTU poster urging solidarity with the Bolivian Workers' Center

Affiliates

National Affiliates

Example of National affiliates of the WFTU include: [3]

2 national federations of the French CGT 🇫🇷 (confederation general du travail) are affiliated to the WFTU : Food and wood processing federation, and the National Federation of Chemical Industries.

Trade Union Internationals

The TUI system has gone through a number of transformations in its over 60 years of existence. The earliest TUI was the [ clarification needed ]. The following Trade Unions Internationals are constituted within the WFTU: [5] [ clarification needed ].

During the late 1940s, the WFTU unsuccessfully tried to reach an agreement with already existing international trade secretariats. When the Union split in 1949 they were left without an organization at the level of specific industries. Therefore, they created the:

Over time, some of these original eleven would expand their bases, change their names or merge:

Other than the initial eleven, two new TUIs were formed during the course of the Cold War:

Post-Cold War developments

After the dissolution of the Eastern bloc, the Trade Unions International of Energy Workers and the Trade Union International of Metal and Engineering Workers temporarily suspended operations. In 1998 a conference was held in Havana which merged these two organizations and the Trade Union International of Chemical, Oil and Allied Workers in a new group, Trade Union International of Energy, Metal, Chemical, Oil and Allied Industries. This organization was reorganized again as the Trade Unions International of Energy Workers in 2007. This left the metal workers an opportunity create a new TUI the next year, Trade Union International of Workers in the Mining, the Metallurgy and the Metal Industries. [14] [17]

In 1997 the Trade Union International of Agroalimentary, Food, Commerce, Textile & Allied Industries was formed by the merger of the Trade Union International of Agricultural, Forestry and Plantation Workers, Trade Union International of Food, Tobacco, Hotel and Allied Industries Workers, Trade Union International of Workers in Commerce, Trade Union International of Textile, Leather and Fur Workers Unions. [17]

The Trade Union International of Workers in Tourism and Hotels [18] was founded in 2009, the Trade Union International of Banks, Insurance and Financial Unions Employees [19] in 2011 and the Trade Union International of Pensioners and Retired Persons in 2014. [20] In 2020, a new Trade Union International of Textile-Garment-Leather was founded. [21]

Leadership

General Secretaries

1945: Louis Saillant
1969: Pierre Gensous
1978: Enrique Pastorino
1982: Ibrahim Zakaria
1990: Alexander Zharikov
2005: George Mavrikos

Presidents

1945: Walter Citrine
1946: Arthur Deakin
1949: Giuseppe Di Vittorio
1959: Agostino Novella
1961: Renato Bitossi
1969: Enrique Pastorino
1975: Sándor Gáspár
1989: Indrajit Gupta
1990: Ibrahim Zakaria
1994: Antonio Neto
2000: K. L. Mahendra
2005: Shaban Assouz
2016: Mzwandile Makwayiba

See also

Related Research Articles

General Confederation of Labour (Argentina) Trade union in Argentina

The General Confederation of Labor of the Argentine Republic is a national trade union federation in Argentina founded on September 27, 1930, as the result of the merger of the USA and the COA trade unions. Nearly one out of five employed – and two out of three unionized workers in Argentina – belong to the CGT, one of the largest labor federations in the world.

The Trade Union International of Agroalimentary, Food, Commerce, Textile and Allied Industries is one of ten Trade Union Internationals of the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).

The Trade Union International of Chemical, Energy, Metal, Oil and Allied Workers (CHEMISTRY-ENERGY) is a sectoral body affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU).

The International Federation Textile-Clothing (IFTC/FITH) was an International Trade Federation of the World Confederation of Labour (WCL).

ICFTU Inter American Regional Organisation of Workers

The ICFTU Inter American Regional Organisation of Workers was the regional organization of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) for the Americas.

International Federation of Trade Unions

The International Federation of Trade Unions was an international organization of trade unions, existing between 1919 and 1945. IFTU had its roots in the pre-war IFTU.

The Trade Union International Public Service and Allied is a section of the World Federation of Trade Unions representing public sector workers.

The Trade Union International of Transport Workers (TUI-TRANSPORT) is a sectoral federation of workers in the transport industry, affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions. It was formerly known as the Trade Unions International of Transport, Port and Fishery Workers.

The Trade Unions International of Miners was a trade union international affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions.

The Trade Union International of Food, Tobacco, Hotel and Allied Industries Workers was a trade union international affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions.

The Trade Union International of Workers in Commerce was a trade union international affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions.

The Trade Union International of Textile, Leather and Fur Workers Unions was a trade union international affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions.

Trade Unions International of Chemical, Oil and Allied Workers

The Trade Unions International of Chemical, Oil and Allied Workers was a trade union international affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions. It was often known by its French initials, ICPS.

The Trade Union International of Workers in the Metal Industry was a trade union international affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions.

Trade Union International of Agricultural, Forestry and Plantation Workers

The Trade Union International of Agricultural, Forestry and Plantation Workers was a trade union international affiliated with the World Federation of Trade Unions.

The Confederación de los Trabajadores de América Latina (CTAL) was a continental trade union federation for Latin America in the mid-20th century.

Pierre Gensous was a French trade unionist.

The Trade Union International of Textile-Garment-Leather is a sectoral federation affiliated to the World Federation of Trade Unions.

References

  1. "WFTU Report of Action 2011–2016" (PDF). 2016. Retrieved 2017-02-08.
  2. Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union , Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN   0-8179-9102-6, p.84
  3. "Presidential Council". World Federation of Trade Unions. Retrieved 2020-11-25.
  4. https://labortoday.us/
  5. TUIs CONTACT DETAILS
  6. Facts about international Communist front organisations 1957 p. 55
  7. Coldrick, A. Percy and Jones, Philip. The international directory of the trade union movement New York : Facts on File, [1978] pp. 170–71
  8. Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions Washington Office of International Labor Affairs, June 1955 pp. 47–49
  9. Facts about international Communist front organisations pp. 31–32
  10. Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions 1955 p. 48
  11. Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions Washington Office of International Labor Affairs, December 1958 p. 52
  12. Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions 1955 p. 49
  13. Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions December 1958 p. 56
  14. 1 2 Project for Articles of Association p. 16
  15. Coldrick, A. Percy and Jones, Philip. The international directory of the trade union movement New York : Facts on File, [1978] p. 183
  16. The World Federation of Trade Unions, 1945–1985. Prague; Published by the WTFU in cooperation with PRACE Czechoslovak Trade Unions 1985 pp. 156–7
  17. 1 2 Europa World Year Book London; Taylor & Francis, 2004 p.342
  18. Report of Action 2006–2010 p. 106
  19. Report of Action 2006–2010 p. 116
  20. Initial intervention of Congress Founding – Feb. 5, 2014
  21. "On the Foundation of the Trade Union International (TUI) of Textile-Garment-Leather of WFTU". WFTU. 9 March 2020.

Bibliography