World Federation of Trade Unions

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World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)
WFTU logo
Full name World Federation of Trade Unions
Founded October 3, 1945
Members 78 million workers of 210 trade union organizations, from 105 countries across all five inhabited continents (2011)[1]
Country International
Affiliation International
Key people
Office location Athens, Greece
Website www.wftucentral.org

The World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU) was established in 1945 to replace the International Federation of Trade Unions. 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 sympathetic to Communist parties. In the context of the Cold War, the WFTU was often portrayed 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.

History[edit]

The WFTU has declined precipitously in the past twenty years since the fall of the Communist regimes in the Soviet Union and 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, at its head. In January 2006 it moved its headquarters from Prague, Czech Republic to Athens, Greece and puts focus on organizing regional federations of unions in the Third World, campaigning 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 continues to devote much of its energy to organizing conferences, issuing statements and producing educational materials.

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 federation of food processing industry has maintained its affiliation with the WFTU. The CGT 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.

In Africa, unions of major importance such as COSATU in South Africa, are debating the issue of affiliation 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.

Affiliates[edit]

National Affiliates[edit]

National affiliates of the WFTU include:

Trade Union Internationals[edit]

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:[3][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 together:

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

[14]

Post-Cold War developments[edit]

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 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.[12][15]

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.[15]

The Trade Union International of Workers in Tourism and Hotels[16] was founded in 2009, the Trade Union International of Banks, Insurance and Financial Unions Employees[17] in 2011 and the Trade Union International of Trade Unions of Pensioners and Retired Persons in 2014.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WFTU Report of Action 2006-2010". 2011. Retrieved 2011-04-07. 
  2. ^ Richard Felix Staar, Foreign policies of the Soviet Union, Hoover Press, 1991, ISBN 0-8179-9102-6, p.84
  3. ^ TUIs CONTACT DETAILS
  4. ^ Facts about international Communist front organisations 1957 p. 55
  5. ^ Coldrick, A. Percy and Jones, Philip. The international directory of the trade union movement New York : Facts on File, [1978] pp. 170–71
  6. ^ Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions Washington Office of International Labor Affairs, June 1955 pp. 47–49
  7. ^ Facts about international Communist front organisations] pp. 31–32
  8. ^ Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions 1955 p. 48
  9. ^ Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions Washington Office of International Labor Affairs, December 1958 p. 52
  10. ^ Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions 1955 p. 49
  11. ^ Directory of World Federation of Trade Unions December 1958 p. 56
  12. ^ a b Project for Articles of Association p. 16
  13. ^ Coldrick, A. Percy and Jones, Philip. The international directory of the trade union movement New York : Facts on File, [1978] p. 183
  14. ^ The World Federation of Trade Unions, 1945-1985. Prague; Published by the WTFU in cooperation with PRACE Czechoslovak Trade Unions 1985 pp. 156–7
  15. ^ a b Europa World Year Book London; Taylor & Francis, 2004 p.342
  16. ^ Report of Action 2006-2010 p. 106
  17. ^ Report of Action 2006-2010 p. 116
  18. ^ Initial intervention of Congress Founding - Feb. 5, 2014

Bibliography[edit]

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

External links[edit]