ITUC OnLine – June 29, 2007

Brussels, 29 June 2007 (ITUC OnLine): The ITUC General Council, at its second meeting on 20 – 22 June. held a major thematic discussion on “Building the New Trade Union Internationalism”, centred on deepening the involvement of trade unionists at all levels in solidarity actions and international activities, mobilising membership on key international issues, enhancing cooperation between the ITUC and its Global Unions partners, making international cooperation programmes more effective, and working effectively with progressive political and civil society allies.

The Council decided that in implementing the ITUC Programme adopted at the Vienna Founding Congress, special focus would be given to trade union work on climate change, protection of migrant workers and those in informal and unprotected work, action to fundamentally change the course of globalisation, support for workers in Export Processing Zones, and supporting workers’ rights in China. The Council also decided that planning should start for an international trade union day of mobilisation for a new globalisation in 2008.

The meeting also heard progress reports on the creation of unified regional organisations of the ITUC, with the process expected to be completed in Africa and Asia-Pacific by the end of 2007, and the Americas early in 2008. The 87,000-member NHS Croatia was accepted into affiliation.

The Council debated the trade union role in sustainable development and globalisation and agreed on the need for enhanced work both by national affiliates and by the Confederation, in order to make an effective impact on globalisation.

The General Council adopted four special Resolutions:

  • On the PlayFair 2008 campaign; calling on the International Olympic Committee to enter concrete discussions with the ITUC and its PlayFair partners on the IOC’s responsibilities to ensure respect for workers’ rights in the production of all Olympics merchandise and to set the standard on this issue for sports merchandise and sporting events worldwide;
  • Issuing a global warning to pensions funds over negative impacts of private equity and hedge funds, and calling for governments and international agencies to ensure proper regulation, taxation and transparency concerning the activities of private equity and hedge funds;
  • Welcoming the withdrawal by the European Union of trade preferences to Belarus, as a result of flagrant and persistent violations of freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining by the Lukashenko regime; and,
  • On the ongoing WTO negotiations, demanding that developing countries not be pressured to make disproportionate tariff reductions which would seriously affect their industrial development and employment, given the extremely negative impacts that current proposals would have in these areas.

The Council noted with satisfaction the release in April of three detained Eritrean trade unionists, Minase Adezion, Tewelde Ghebremedhin and Habtom Weldemichael, following the intervention of the ITUC with its Eritrean affiliate, the NCEW.

The Council also adopted reports from the ITUC Womens’ and Youth Committees, and reviewed the outcomes of the recent ILO International Labour Conference, including the adoption of new ILO standards for the fishing sector, and discussions on sustainable enterprises and on the future work of the ILO.