|Emilio Gabaglio, as one of the architects of the ITUC because of his role as |
a mediator between WCL and the ICFTU and promotor of unity,
was one of the very important speakers
at the ITUC founding congress in Vienna 2006.
Because of the lack of coordination between the WCL Secretariat and the International Trade Federations, 4 of them ( WFCW, INFEDOP, FIOST and IFTC) decided to write “an open letter”(July 2005) (also in Germen, Dutch, Spanish and French) to the WCL, as to put pressure on the Secretariat, to negotiate with more conviction and firmness about the position of the ITF's. They prepared also a “Declaration of WCL Trade Action” (also in 5 languages) to be presented during the WCL Congress in November 2005 in Belgium.
“Millions of workers will get homeless at trade union level
The two large world trade unions (World Confederation of Labour and International Confederation of Free Trade Unions) have been discussing for months the creation of a new World Organisation. Their intention is inspired by the fact that, in a world that is globalising more and more, workers need a world organisation that can act as a counterforce and can aim for the realisation of a world society in which there is more justice and more solidarity. In this way, the WCL and ICFTU also want to improve the representativeness of the trade union movement worldwide by organising a maximum number of trade union members worldwide.
Until recently, all organisations affiliated to the WCL started from the conviction that trade union pluralism, effectively realised through the operation of at least two world organisations, was the best guarantee to achieve this objective. It was only at the Confederal Board in Casablanca in October 2004 that it was decided to start discussions with the ICFTU, and this on the basis of a number of conditions that had to ensure that the historic values of the WCL would be preserved, respect would be shown for the WCL and its affiliated members and the principle of pluralism would be effectively subscribed to on the ground.
In this context, the confederal board adhered jointly and unanimously to two conditions that were of particular importance for the WCL’s Trade Action : “A dynamic and structural anchored cooperation has to be established between trade action and inter-trade action. A coordination of trade action beside the inter-trade organisation is considered counterproductive.”
This condition was decided by the Confederal Board, because it was the explicit wish of the latter that an operational link would be maintained between the trade union leadership and the action in the sectors and companies, because a world organisation without members who would be able to strengthen the proposed objectives with their support on the ground, misses the capacity to react quickly and effectively, which is the essence of the trade union movement.
According to the reports that have been meanwhile submitted on the course of the negotiations, no progress whatsoever has been made in this respect.
The idea of a “GUFs Council” is also considered insufficient in this respect, the more so because internal documents have shown that the ICFTU and WCL would have agreed that for each sectoral working field only one professional organisation would be active, and that would be an organisation of the ICFTU family.
“All WCL and ICFTU members have the right to become member of the new organisation.”
This condition was drawn up as a safety net for national and trade organisations that, because of national and professional characteristics, would fall between two chairs.
Apparently, the negotiators reached an agreement about the national organisations, but, as regards the trade organisations, they opted for “one sector one union”, the classical ICFTU option.
You understand that, in this context, the signing organisations (FOUR international organisations out of the eight that are full members of the WCL) cannot agree with this state of affairs.
Millions of workers affiliated to the WCL risk to become thus left without trade union home in the world. The signing organisations have consequently decided to do their utmost to support the attitude they will adopt in this respect. It should be clear that this will show in the first place through their voting attitude at the WCL Congress, where they will demand that all conditions decided by the confederal board in Casablanca should be fulfilled.
Moreover, they are considering the possibility of taking necessary action in the margin of the WCL Congress, with a view to informing public opinion of the consequences unification will have for the representativeness of trade unionism at world level. It should be clear that, if the essential conditions for the trade action are not fulfilled, the organisations will no longer consider themselves bound by the other points submitted.
In the meantime, the signing organisations are working at the development of alternatives to continue their involvement in the interests of their members with firm determination, especially if no further progress is made in the negotiations.”
Signed by Michel Bovy, President FIOST (Transport), Roel Rotshuizen WFCW (Employees), Dirk Uyttenhove IFTC (Textile) and Fritz Neugebauer INFEDOP (public services employees).
The following Resolution for Orientation, with insertion of the position of the WCL’s Trade Action, was approved by the WCL Congress, with 169 votes in favour, 18 against and 10 abstentions. Herewith the road is open to the creation of a new world confederation.
The International Trade Federations of WCL respect the decision of the Confederal Board of Casablanca, take note of the present state of affairs in the negotiations between WCL and ICFTU and observe the following:
- The structures of WCL and ICFTU differ with regard to the position of Trade Action.
- The draft Constitution of the new world organisation confirms the importance of the greatest possible degree of cohesion and effectiveness within the international trade union movement and the fact that this has resulted in the intention to establish a structural partnership with the international industry federations, the forms and operating methods of which shall be determined in agreement with them.
The International Trade Federations of WCL welcome the fact that the importance of the greatest possible degree of cohesion between the inter-trade and the trade level of trade union functioning is confirmed and wish to be closely involved in the further concretion of this cohesion, both at the world and at the regional level. All the International Trade Federations of WCL state their will to consult with the Global Union Federations on forms of cooperation.
The International Trade Federations of WCL note that in the meantime consultations between them and the Global Union Federations have started in a large number of sectors.
These consultations are taking place on the basis of the autonomous powers of the organisations involved, just like also decisions on cooperation, in whatever form, shall be made on the basis of autonomy.
For the International Trade Federations of WCL it is an established fact that consultations between them and the Global Union Federations shall be based on mutual respect for the organisations involved and for their affiliates.
We note that in the meantime Global Union Federations and the International Trade Federations of WCL from a number of sectors have concluded agreements that will or can lead to a unification of global as well as of regional structures.
In other sectors, however, it must be pointed out that there is an insufficient basis for constructive consultations and that the structural difficulties or the conditional ties beyond the possibilities of the organisations and, very often, a lack of respect for the International Trade Federations of WCL concerned, and their affiliates impedes further overtures.
This can result in serious obstacles to the effective realisation of the intended structural partnership between the inter-trade and the trade level of the world trade union movement.
WCL can and will indeed not accept that parts of WCL are excluded as a consequence of changing structures.
So, a transitional period, and appropriate transitional measures, will be necessary to give the International Trade Federations of WCL and the Global Union Federations from all the sectors in which this is not or insufficiently the case the opportunity to proceed, with due respect for each other’s structure and members, to constructive consultations on forms of cooperation of their choice, taking into account the global process.
The International Trade Federations of WCL state their will to have these consultations and call on the Global Union Federations to give content to this, jointly with them.
The WCTA calls unanimously upon the Global Unions Federations to deepen the initiated dialogue with the respective International Trade Federations and to start a constructive dialogue with the organisations that are not yet committed and to promote this dialogue on the basis of respect of the organisations, their history, their principles and values, their criteria for political action. The joint International Trade Federations of WCL will periodically evaluate the progress and report on it to the Confederal Board.
The Congress is invited to endorse the above-mention position.
The resolution was signed by Timothée Boko, FEMTAA (Food & Agriculture), Fritz Neugebauer, INFEDOP (Public Services Employees), Dirk Uyttenhove, IFTC (Textile & Clothing), Roel Rotshuizen, WFCW (Employees), Claudio Corries, WCT (Teachers), Michel Bovy, FIOST (Transport), Stefaan Vanthourenhout, FMTCM (Building & Wood), Bart Bruggeman, WFIW (Industrial Workers), Carlos Gaitán, Acción Profesional CLAT (Latin America), Ernesto Verceles,Acción Profesional BATU (Asia), Chrysanthe Koffi Zounnadjala, Acción Profesional ODSTA (Africa), Kalina Grzelak, Women