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Sharan Burrow re-elected as ITUC General Secretary

The 3rd ITUC World Congress concluded in Berlin today with the re-election of Sharan Burrow as General Secretary of the 170 million-member movement.

Football players, taxi drivers and domestic workers addressed the Congress along with Frank-Walter Steinmeier, German Foreign Minister; Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO; and Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Education.

At the conclusion of the World Congress, unions committed to:

  • Organise over 27 million new members over the next four years to build workers’ power;
  • End modern-day slavery beginning with Qatar;
  • Support a minimum wage on which workers can live with dignity, and end the cycle of poverty wages in supply chains of global corporations; and
  • Demand an ambitious climate deal at the Paris Climate Summit.

The Statement adopted by the ITUC World Congress included three frameworks for action – on Union Growth, Realising Rights and Sustainable Jobs, which set out the ITUC agenda for the next four years.

“Before this Congress, the world’s workers gave us an agenda. They wanted secure jobs and a decent minimum wage. They wanted to tame corporate power. They wanted a voice.

“By sharing our stories and working together we have come up with a plan to change the world for the better.

“We will see our governments have the courage to stand up for working people. We know that politics without an agenda, industrial ambitions without workers’ power, do not work. We want an agenda with politics and we want workers’ power to achieve wages, social protection and all that we all stand for.

“We’ve got work to do. We will build workers’ power and grow the global movement by 27 million workers over the next four years. We’ll ensure workers’ capital is used to promote their agenda – not the vested interests of big business and big finance, and we’ll never turn a blind eye when workers’ rights are attacked.

“It’s an ambitious agenda – but working together, locally and globally, we will do it. The world is relying on us,” said Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of the ITUC.

Emergency resolutions were passed on Turkey, where 301 workers were killed in the Soma mine disaster.

The Congress also called for the de-escalation of the conflict in Ukraine.
The ITUC General Council immediately after the Congress elected João Antonio Felicio of CUT Brazil as ITUC President.

Maria Fernanda Carvalho Francisco of UNTA-CS Angola and Karl-Petter Thorwaldsson of LO Sweden were elected as the ITUC Deputy Presidents.

Jaap Wienen and Wellington Chibebe were elected as the ITUC Deputy General Secretaries.

A new sub-regional structure for the Arab World was established by the General Council.

President João Felicio also accepted, on behalf of the Brazilian affiliates of the ITUC, a banner signed by Congress delegates calling for FIFA to vote again on the 2022 World Cup host, in a sign of solidarity with migrant workers facing exploitation in Qatar.

The next ITUC World Congress will be held in 2018.

The official video record of the plenary sessions and leader speeches is available:

For more information contact Gemma Swart +32 479 06 641 63

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