ITUC General Council: Fighting for Democracy Priority for 2024

The ITUC General Council, chaired by President Akiko Gono and meeting in Brussels from 12- 14 December, has approved a proposal to put the defence and promotion of democracy at the centre of ITUC action in 2024 and beyond.

“Democracy is under attack in every region of the globe and we, as the world’s largest democratic movement, are developing along with our member organisations a comprehensive campaign plan to defend democracy where it is under threat and to extend it where democratic rights are suppressed. Democracy at work through freedom of association and collective bargaining are central to any genuine and healthy democracy. Where workers’ rights are suppressed, democracy suffers, and it is no coincidence that authoritarian and far-right forces target these rights so they can claim and hold power,” said ITUC General Secretary Luc Triangle.

The Council reviewed activities undertaken over the past year and plans to take forward the mandate for a New Social Contract adopted at the ITUC Melbourne Congress, closely connected to the democracy campaign. It endorsed reports from the ITUC Regional Organisations and Structures, the Council of Global Unions, the Committee on Workers’ Capital and the ITUC Youth Committee. The Council also received a report on the outcomes of the COP28 Climate Conference. Progress in relation to financial issues including the processes for reviewing affiliation-fee setting and financial procedures was also discussed. There was also a debate on trade union engagement with the G20 (through the Labour20) and the BRICS, recognising that while non-ITUC affiliates are part of those engagement processes, the objective should be to ensure that the policy framework of the ITUC and also the positions of the OECD Trade Union Advisory Committee (TUAC) in relation to the G20, are the central reference points.

Discussion on ILO issues, including reports from the Human and Trade Union Rights Committee and the ILO Workers’ Group Chair, included the successful move to refer the right to strike issue to the International Court of Justice and on action on Belarus and Myanmar.

The Council adopted proposals to increase pressure for international recognition of a Palestinian state as part of a two-state solution to end the occupation of Palestinian lands and ensure a two-state solution in line with UN Security Council Resolutions 242 and 338, as well as for ending international economic relations with the illegal Israeli settlements.

A proposal to hold a vote of all ITUC affiliates next year to have the next ITUC World Congress in 2027 instead of 2026 was supported by the Council.

Six organisations were accepted into ITUC Affiliation: the Confederación General de Trabajadores de Colombia (CGT), the Confederacion Ecuatoriana de Organizaciones Sindicales Libres (CEOSL, Equador), the Konfederasi Serikat Pekerja Seluruh Indonesia (KSPSI), the Trade Union Congress of Papua New Guinea (PNGTUC), the Unione Sammarinese Lavoratori (San Marino, USL) and the Solomon Islands Council of Trade Unions (SICTU).

“The Council held substantive and detailed discussions and real progress was made on all of the issues. The ITUC is well placed to move ahead with our robust agenda, in unity and with the full engagement of our affiliates,” said Triangle.