Unions start new global federation


Delegates from trade unions worldwide have launched a new global labour federation, vowing to fight for workers' rights in the era of globalisation.
Organisers said that the International Trade Union Confederation, which was formerly known as the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, would reinvent and modernise itself to better tackle fresh challenges to the rights of workers and to strengthen its efforts to stamp out forced and child labour.
"Trade union unity at the international level is now essential to ensuring more effective representation of the rights and interests of workers in the global economy," said ITUC leader Guy Ryder, was was appointed yesterday after the old union and the World Confederation of Labour were formally dissolved.
Officials said that the new umbrella group, which is the world's labour federation, represented more than 150 million members from 241 affiliated organisations in 156 countries.
It replaces the Brussels-based ICTFU, which was founded in 1949 when reformist-led unions broke away from the World Federation of Trade Unions, complaining of communist domination.
The new confederation brings together a wide and diverse range of major union organisations, including Britain's Trades Union Congress, the US AFL-CIO, France's CGT, Germany's DGB and dozens of others from five continents.
A conference in Vienna attended by 1,600 delegates approved the ITUC charter on Wednesday, which takes a firm position against globalisation and decries violations of the right to strike and engage in collective bargaining.
Fomer European Trade Union Confederation head Emilio Gabaglio urged the world's trade unions to "go on the offensive" and combine forces to improve conditions, particularly for poor workers in developing countries.
Thanks to the Morning Star for this report.