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#ISS14: A Start Kit for the International Trade Union Movement

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By Dave Spooner Global Labour Institute Manchester

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international summer school starter kit
The “Global Unions”
• The Global Union Federations (GUFs)
• The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
Global Union Federations
• Based on industry/sector
• Paid for by union subscriptions
The Global Union Federations
• Building & Woodworkers’
International (BWI)
• Education International
(EI)
• IndustriALL
2012 merger of:
ICEM (Chemicals, Energy,
Mining)
IMF (Metal/ Engineering)
ITGLWF (Textiles/Garments)
• International Federation
of Journalists (IFJ)
• International
Transportworkers’
Federation (ITF)
• International Union of
Foodworkers (IUF)
• Public Services
International (PSI)
• Union Network
International (UNI)
#ISS14: A Start Kit for the International Trade Union Movement
Or … the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco
and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF)
• Founded in 1920
• 336 trade unions in 120 countries
• Membership - 12 million workers
• Based in Geneva, Switzerland
IUF
Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide
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#ISS14: A Start Kit for the International Trade Union Movement

  • 2. The “Global Unions” • The Global Union Federations (GUFs) • The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)
  • 3. Global Union Federations • Based on industry/sector • Paid for by union subscriptions
  • 4. The Global Union Federations • Building & Woodworkers’ International (BWI) • Education International (EI) • IndustriALL 2012 merger of: ICEM (Chemicals, Energy, Mining) IMF (Metal/ Engineering) ITGLWF (Textiles/Garments) • International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) • International Transportworkers’ Federation (ITF) • International Union of Foodworkers (IUF) • Public Services International (PSI) • Union Network International (UNI)
  • 6. Or … the International Union of Food, Agricultural, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco and Allied Workers' Associations (IUF) • Founded in 1920 • 336 trade unions in 120 countries • Membership - 12 million workers • Based in Geneva, Switzerland IUF Uniting Food, Farm and Hotel Workers World-Wide
  • 7. • Based in London • Organises seafarers, dockworkers, civil aviation, railways, road transport, urban transport, fisheries, tourism… • 681 unions representing 4,500,000 workers in 148 countries
  • 8. Building & Wood Workers International (BWI) • Based in Geneva • Organises in building, building materials, wood, and forestry industries • 350 unions representing 12,000,000 members in 135 countries
  • 9. What do the GUFs do? • Support international organising – particularly in TNCs • Co-ordinate solidarity actions • TU Development and Education • UN and employer assoc representation • Campaigning • Research • Information exchange
  • 10. International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) • Founded 2006 – merger of ICFTU and WCL • Based in Brussels • Represents national ‘trade union centres’ – the global “TUC of TUCs”
  • 11. Where did ITUC come from? International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Formed 1949 Social-democratic / democratic socialist World Confederation of Labour Formed 1920 Christian (Catholic) in origin
  • 12. What is the ITUC for? • Represents trade union interests at international governmental bodies, particularly at the ILO • Campaigns for workers’ rights • Co-ordinates solidarity actions against trade union repression • Research and union development • DECENT WORK
  • 13. World Federation of Trade Unions Communist Party dominated Formed 1945 Previously based in Prague … now Athens Roots in 1922 Profintern
  • 16. CORE LABOUR STANDARDS Freedom of Association Right to Collective Bargaining Elimination of forced labour Effective abolition of child labour Freedom from discrimination … decent work
  • 17. The political agenda for the international movement Some agenda items for discussion
  • 19. The problem with Europe… The demise of ‘Social Europe’ European Trade Union Confederation & European Industrial Committees – EFFATT, ETF, EFBWW … Unions & the European Commission €…..
  • 20. Climate Change, Energy and the trade union movement
  • 22. The future of public services
  • 23. The rise of precarious work
  • 26. The International Organising Agenda 1970s • World Company Councils • International Shop Steward Committees 1980s • Networking on the Internet • International collective bargaining? 1990s • International Framework Agreements 2000s • Global organising strategies • Global Organising Alliance
  • 27. Where are the politics? Crisis in social-democracy Onward march of Neo-Liberalism and austerity Resurgence of WFTU? Do we have a democratic socialist alternative?
  • 28. “We are not only losing collective bargaining rights, we are now in a labour war effectively across Europe, the U.S., emerging democracies. Why? Because the old stakeholders who drove the neo-liberal economic policies that would seem to be foul policies, the Washington consensus if you’d like, are back in control. We thought the global financial crisis showed them this was a failed economic model. We were wrong. We have now a situation where we are largely engaged in what I can only describe as a labour war”. Sharan Burrow ITUC