Message of greeting of Chancellor Angela Merkel on the occasion of the Founding of the ITUC

This is a historic day for workers’ rights. The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the World Confederation of Labour have done good and important work over the past decades. Nonetheless, both organizations dissolved themselves yesterday in order to pool their resources in a yet larger international trade union movement. With around 180 million members, the newly formed International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) is a great example of transboundary solidarity and cooperation.

I believe this merging of trade union forces to be a logical and forward-looking step given the increasing internationalization of production processes and the division of labour. Globalization has without a doubt changed life for workers around the world. For many it has brought new opportunities and a better future. But it has also brought new fears.

Economic and social progress must always be inseparably linked. For this reason, international competition cannot be allowed to result in workers from different countries being pitted against one another. The fruits of globalization must rather also reach the workers. To guarantee this we need a strong International Trade Union Confederation, which endeavours to strengthen the social dimension of globalization and promote decent work for all. I wish you every success in tackling this crucial, challenging task.