International Trade Union Organisations

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The global trade union movement covers every continent and involves over 150 million working people. The TUC plays a leading role in international trade unionism, and we are a major founding affiliate of the main global confederations. We are principally involved in:

  • The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU): the ICFTU is the global body for national trade union confederations and was founded in 1949. It is based in Brussels, has a regional structure covering Africa, the Americas and Asia/Pacific, and is in the process of developing a broader trade union movement including the World Confederation of Labour Visit the ICFTU website. [www.icftu.org] The TUC is represented on the Executive Board and Steering Committee as well as the Women’s Committee and many working groups. The General Secretary is Guy Ryder and the President is Sharan Burrow.
  • The International Labour Organisation (ILO): The International Labour Organisation, based in Geneva, is the UN specialised agency for the workplace which seeks the promotion of social justice and internationally recognised human and labour rights. It was founded in 1919, and retains its tripartite character. The TUC has been represented on the Governing Body throughout the ILO’s history. Visit the ILO website. [www.ilo.org] The Director-General is Juan Somavia.
  • The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) represents people at work in the European Union and those countries associated with the EU. In particular, the ETUC lobbies the European Union institutions, ensuring that workers interests are included in decisions about work, the economy and society. Visit the ETUC website. [www.etuc.org] The TUC is represented on the Executive Committee and Steering Committee and all its standing committees and working groups. The General Secretary is John Monks and the President is Candido Mendez.
  • The Trade Union Advisory Committee to the OECD (TUAC): TUAC is an international trade union organisation which represents organised labour’s view to the OECD. Visit the TUAC website. [www.tuac.org] The TUC is represented on the Administrative Board and Management Committee. John Evans is the Secretary General.The Global Union Federations (which together with the ICFTU form the global union family) are sectoral bodies covering specific parts of the global economy. The TUC is not formally involved with the GUFs, as membership is drawn from individual trade unions, but we maintain close links with all of them.
Report of the TUC delegation to the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) world congress in Berlin in May 2014.
14 June 2014
UN staff union briefing on the campaign to restore negotiating rights.
27 October 2013
As the death toll in the Rana Plaza textile factory collapse in Dhaka, Bangladesh two weeks ago tops 900, the TUC has today (Friday) published figures which suggest that the reason costs are cut and wages are low in the Bangladesh textile industry has nothing to do with cash-strapped consumers...
10 May 2013
In advance of the Global Unions week of action in solidarity with Mexican workers, TUC General Secretary Frances O'Grady has written to President Pena Nieto. The letter calls on his government to allow genuine freedom of association for workers in Mexico, an end to the system of ‘protection contracts' that...
14 February 2013
The TUC General Secretary has written to the Foreign Secretary, William Hague, calling for the British government to support for the request tabled at the ILO for a full commission of inquiry into the intensifying violations of labour rights in Guatemala. Since 2007 there have been at least 64 assassinations...
23 January 2013
Once again the trade union movement is outraged at attacks on Turkish trade unionists by the Turkish state. On the 25 June raids took place in some 20 Turkish towns and 71 trade unionists dragged off. For further details read the TUC's letter of protest.
11 July 2012
In a letter to Andrew Mitchell, Secretary of State for International Development, the TUC has asked the UK Government to support the ITUC position at the forthcoming UNCTAD XIII in Doha, Qatar.
16 April 2012
The military regime in Fiji has intensified attacks on workers and their trade unions with the publication of the Essential National Industries and Designated Corporations Regulations on Friday 9 September 2011.
04 October 2011
TUC supporting Sri Lankan garment workers to win better pay and conditions While Nike CEO Mark Parker is deciding what to do with his £8 million compensation package for 2010, the TUC is supporting sportswear workers in Sri Lanka to organise and win an annual wage of around £700 at...
27 November 2010
International Development Matters - Monthly newsletter reporting international development matters and issues affecting trade unionists around the world. Articles for inclusion in International Development Matters should be sent to twarlock@tuc.org.uk
04 October 2010

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