ITUC General Council Celebrates 150th Anniversary of British TUC in London

A special ceremony to mark the 150th anniversary of the British TUC, the first national trade union centre established in the world, took place during the 18th meeting of the ITUC General Council at the TUC headquarters in London on 25 May.

The ceremony, chaired by ITUC Deputy President Maria Fernanda Carvalho Francisco and addressed by ILO Director General Guy Ryder and TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady, also touched on highlights of trade union action around the world, and concluded with a panel discussion on democracy, rights and peace involving trade unionists from each region.

Panellists in the session moderated by ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow included Lee Cheuk Yan (Hong Kong CTU), Antonio Lisboa (CUT-Brazil), Nana Koomah Brown-Orleans (TUC Ghana, ITUC Youth Committee Chair) and Luca Visentini (ETUC). A statement of appreciation to the TUC was given by Zahoor Awan (PWF Pakistan) for their support to him during his exile from the military dictatorship in his country. The Council also received a special video message from former KCTU Korea President Han Sang-gyun on his release from a prison sentence imposed under the corrupt government of deposed Korean President Park Geun-hye.

The main part of the General Council’s discussions, chaired by Deputy President Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson, concerned preparations for the 4th ITUC World Congress, which will take place in Copenhagen on 2 – 7 December this year, with the theme “Building Workers’ Power: Change the Rules”. The Congress plenary, which will conduct the formal business of Congress, including amendments to the draft Congress Statement, amendments to the ITUC Constitution and elections, will be complemented by three parallel sub-plenary sessions on the following topics:

The Future of Work
Financial Inequality

The format for the Congress proceedings will be structured in such a way as to promote dynamic and interactive debates.

The Council discussed a revised draft Main Congress Statement, which was prepared following a special meeting of the ITUC Executive Bureau on 28 March. Amendments from member organisations are now being incorporated into a new version of the draft Statement, which will be circulated to affiliates in advance of Congress and be the subject of debate and further possible amendments in the Congress plenary.

A series of proposed amendments to the ITUC Constitution were endorsed, to be submitted to Congress under the authority of the General Council.

A target proposed by the ITUC Youth Committee for participation of workers under the age of 35 in the Congress, of not less than 15%, was approved by the General Council, which also endorsed changes to the terms of reference and rules of procedure of the ITUC Women’s Committee.

No new organisations were accepted into ITUC affiliation at the meeting.

The General Council also voted unanimously to congratulate the Irish Congress of Trade Unions on its strong stance in favour of repeal of the 8th Amendment of the Irish Constitution, which denied the right of women in Ireland to reproductive choice.