The ITUC – representing workers in the globalised economy

The ITUC – representing workers in the globalised economy


ITUC General Secretary Guy Ryder today presented the theme report of the second ITUC World Congress “Now the People – From the Crisis to Global Justice”. Silence fell over the packed plenary room at the Vancouver Convention Centre as Guy Ryder reflected on the dramatic changes that had taken place since the creation of the ITUC barely four years ago.”Every single one of you, in your countries, are living the consequences of the first systemic crisis of the global economy.” As a result of the financial and economic crisis that began in 2008, 34 million workers have lost their jobs and a further 64 million have been pushed into extreme poverty.
The first part of the theme report sets out the six key challenges the ITUC must meet over the next four years to ensure that the path out of the crisis leads directly to global justice. The world is at a tipping point and there is a real danger, warns the report, that without a clear break from the failed and unfair orthodoxies of the past, the world could slip back into even greater injustice.

The second part of the report looks at what has to be done to meet those challenges. Guy Ryder looked back at the experience of the last four years, since the two international trade union confederations of the day, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions and the World Confederation of Labour, came together in Vienna, Austria, in November 2006 to create the ITUC. The momentum gained from unification has been important and the ITUC can point to significant achievements. However this young organisation has yet to reach its full potential and work has only just begun on making the ITUC the instrument of effective representation for all workers in the globalised economy that it was created to be.

“Now is the moment for the people to prevail, for the fundamental changes in globalisation that the ITUC was created to bring about” said Guy Ryder. “What is at stake is the cause of peace in the world, intimately linked to the cause of social justice.”

Those thoughts were reflected by some of the speakers who took the floor immediately after Guy Ryder’s introduction, including Cándido Méndez of the UGT Spain. He commented on the response of European governments which are adopting unjust, anti-social measures, and called for even greater unity within the ITUC to defend workers rights and global justice.

Congress delegates will have an opportunity to debate the report further during the panel discussions to be held over the next two days.

Read the full report

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