ITUC 2020 General Council Meeting

The ITUC General Council meeting of 24 and 25 November has adopted a focused and ambitious programme for the coming year with the endorsement of three Frontline campaigns: A New Social Contract for Recovery and Resilience, Climate- and Employment-Proof Our Work with Just Transition, and Democracies for People.

These campaigns are underpinned by four pillars for action: Peace, Democracy and Rights; Regulating Economic Power; Global Shifts – Just Transitions; and Equality.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “In the face of four convergent areas of crisis – the pandemic; inequality; exclusion based on race or gender; and climate change – these Frontlines campaigns and Pillars for action are the framework for realising an urgently needed new social contract with reconstruction and resilience based on jobs – climate- friendly jobs along with rights, just wages, universal social protection and inclusion. The work of the global trade union movement is vital to meeting these challenges.”

The Council heard reports on workers’ rights violations and expressed solidarity with unions in several countries, including India, where a briefing was given on a 26 November general strike involving all the main trade union federations in the country.

Other solidarity messages were adopted on Belarus, Colombia, Hong Kong and Turkey. The Council congratulated the CUT Chile on their important win in overturning the Pinochet-era constitution and the AFL-CIO on the outcome of the US elections.

The commitment to ensuring that the International Labour Organization (ILO) adopts occupational health and safety as a fundamental workers’ right, which is being opposed by employers, was reinforced. The Council recognised that multilateral reform is an imperative, beginning with the World Trade Organization (WTO) reshaping global trade by guaranteeing that human rights, labour rights and environmental standards are the basis of a fair competition floor backed by compliance.

Reports from the Women’s and Youth Committees focused on ILO Convention 190 on Violence and Harassment in the World of Work, the disproportionate impact of the pandemic on women and young people, and government and employer responses to the pandemic.

Briefings from the ITUC Regional Organisations focused, in particular, on government and employer actions related to the pandemic and attempts in many countries to use the global health crisis to further erode workers’ rights.

Updates from the Committee on Workers’ Capital and an ad-hoc working group on amendments to the ITUC Constitution were also presented.

The General Council also approved the timeline for preparations for the 5th ITUC World Congress in July 2022 in Melbourne, Australia.

No new organisations were accepted into ITUC affiliation.

The 2020 Dorje Khatri Award for Climate Justice, which recognises outstanding contributions to the fight for sustainability and Just Transition, was given to IndustriAll Europe for their groundbreaking work to bring Europe’s industrial policy in line with the demands of the Paris Agreement to reduce emissions in the mining, gas and steel sectors.