International Trade Union Confederation

International Trade Union Confederation
ITUC logo.png
Full name International Trade Union Confederation
Founded 1 November 2006
Members 175 million in 155 countries (2010)
Country International
Key people Michael Sommer, President
Luc Cortebeeck, Deputy President
Nair Goulart, Deputy President
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary
Jaap Wienen, Deputy General Secretary

The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is the world's largest trade union federation. It was formed on November 1, 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 represents 175 million workers through its 311 affiliated organisations within 155 countries and territories. Sharan Burrow is the current General Secretary.[1]


Inaugural Congress

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

The first day of the congress saw the formal creation of the ITUC followed by an address[2] by Juan Somavia, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO).

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

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 organization.[3] Sharan Burrow was elected president.[4] A Governing Council was established, with 70 elected members, and 8 additional seats reserved for youth and women’s representatives.

A Council of Global Unions was also formed on the final day of the congress. It was established jointly with the 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.[5]

Second Congress

The second congress of the ITUC was held on 21-25 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 Organisation).[6] In anticipation of her election, Burrow had resigned from her position as President of the Australian Council of Trade Unions effective 1 July 2010.[7]

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[8]):

"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." − Sharan Burrow.[9]


The Pan-European Regional Council (PERC), a European trade union organization within the ITUC was formed March 19, 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 John Monks is currently the general secretary of both organizations.

See also

Syndicalism.svg Organized labour portal


  • Fabio BERTINI, Gilliatt e la piovra. Il sindacalismo internazionale dalle origini ad oggi (1776-2006), Roma, Aracne, 2011


External links

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