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International Trade Union Confederation

The pace of global economic integration has placed more pressure on trade unions to find effective ways to achieve our mandate on solidarity and development.

After the end of the Second World War, three trade union federations operated globally: the ICFTU, the WCL and the WFTU. In November 2006, a historic step to unity was taken when the ICFTU, WCL and some independent unions merged to form the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

COSATU was part of the founding congress, held in Vienna , Austria . The first President of the ITUC is Sharan Burrow (from the Australian labour movement) and the General Secretary is Guy Ryder. COSATU General Secretary, Zwelinzima Vavi, serves on the Executive Board of the new global federation.

The ITUC is now in the process of integrating the different regional structures into a united one and to better coordinate the activities of the global union federations (such as the ITGLWF) with the ITUC.

On the African continent, ICFTU AFRO and the WCL have merged into a new regional formation under the name International Trade Union Confederation-United African Regional Organisation (ITUC-UARO).

The role of the global unions is intended to be stronger in the new structures of the ITUC. Currently, COSATU-affiliates, SADTU, SATAWU and NUM have leaders serving as presidents of these Global Unions (EI, ITF and ICEM respectively).

ITUC webpage