Brussels, 25 February 2011 (ITUC OnLine): It was with deep sadness that the ITUC learned of the death this week of Harm Buiter, general secretary of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions from 1967 to 1971.
Born in Tubbergen, the Netherlands, in 1922, Harm Buiter’s studies in economics at the University of Amsterdam were interrupted by the Second World War. After the war, he joined the Metalworkers’ union affiliated to the NVV (now FNV) national centre, where he worked until 1956. He then served as general secretary of the European trade union structures, which later expanded to become the present-day European Trade Union Confederation. Following his term as ICFTU general secretary, he was elected mayor of the Dutch city of Groningen and served in that capacity until 1985.
“Harm Buiter had a distinguished career, serving the European trade union movement in its early development, followed by his time at the ICFTU, where he focused his energies on building the organisation’s capacity for economic and social policy and action, and then his many years of service to the people of Groningen. He served bravely in the Dutch resistance to Nazi occupation during the war, and his deep and abiding concern for the rights and interests of working people will be long remembered,” said ITUC general secretary Sharan Burrow.
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