Independent unions found new Global Union Federation

confederation founding in Parma group picture

In May 2018 the “International Confederation of Labour” was founded in Italy to unite independent unions and worker organisations across frontiers. We interviewed delegates at the congress to hear about their union activities at home and what they hope will come out of the new confederation.

The United Voices of the World union from London, UK wrote a report on their experience from the conference:

“Delegates and observers from Greece, Brazil, Morocco, Bulgaria, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Italy, Catalonia, Spain, Poland, United States, Canada, France, Austria and Argentina sent solidarity messages or attended the Congress, which was organised at the headquarters of the Italian independent USI union.

The idea behind the union confederation is to reignite practical international solidarity between workers in struggle that, in the words of Spanish CNT union organiser Miguel Pérez, 'has to be shown in acts that go beyond issuing communiqués or holding pickets of solidarity.'

Italian USI delegates emphasised the historical anarcho-syndicalist and revolutionary-syndicalist origins of many of the participating unions and collectives: ‘Today, and even more so tomorrow, a combative libertarian international trade union organisation is needed to defend workers effectively, and to build a new, free and equal society independently of the traditional political party and union structures.’

Anna Baum, an organiser with the German Free Workers’ Union in Berlin, explained that the new confederation intended to share resources and information across frontiers among independent unions, focussing on workers who work for the same corporation, but in different countries.

‘An emphasis will be made on sharing campaign aims, for instance in fighting for a collective agreement across sectors that includes protecting migrant workers from immigration checks,’ Anna reported.

‘Campaigning and organising resources will be shared on a joint website or platform, and workshops and conferences bringing workers in struggle in other countries such as China and Indonesia, together with Italians, Germans and Polish workers, for example, will also be held, with unions from the wealthier nations financially supporting workers from low income countries to attend.’

There was discussion about coordinating research on international labour laws, and an idea to register the confederation with the International Labour Organisation so as to be able to take cases of abuse of workers’ rights by multinational corporations to international tribunals.

Several union activists from Catalonia, Brazil and Greece emphasised how workers are more frequently organising wildcat strikes, road blockades and other imaginative acts of resistance to counter the lack of response from official trade unions and traditional political parties which have failed to defend workers’ interests.

Mass workers’ migration across frontiers, combined with the increasing ease of communication technology that allows these workers to stay in contact with struggles back home and connect to struggles in their destination country, mean that independent unions and collective organisations should step up their cooperation and, in the words of Bulgarian Autonomous Workers’ union organisers, ‘look towards building an international resistance movement’.

United Voices of the World organiser Claudia Turbet-Delof concluded that the congress had been ‘an enriching experience, especially for me as a feminist, migrant trade unionist, and has stirred profound reflection on what union organising means to me and what we, as workers, hope to achieve.' "

Taken from https://en.labournet.tv/independent-unions-found-new-global-union-federation

Posted By

Johanna Schellhagen
Jun 22 2018 05:18

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  • ‘An emphasis will be made on sharing campaign aims, for instance in fighting for a collective agreement across sectors that includes protecting migrant workers from immigration checks’

    Anna, union organizer, FAU

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Comments

R Totale
Jul 20 2018 08:53

Does the new confederation have a website, any official points of contact, anything like that?

doug
Jul 20 2018 15:19

I've not seen anything like that. Hopefully there will be more information soon.

It's not very clear in the article above, but there's an interesting short film talking to some of the delegates (from CNT-F, IWW (US) and UVW) when you follow the link.

Baderneiro Miseravel
Jul 20 2018 18:20

It is certainly curious that people from Brazil attended when there isn't any real militant organization in the country that builds this kind of iniitative in workplaces - if there are, I'd like to get in touch hehe. The video is better because it shows some of the real movements building some sort of solidarity across borders and sharing knowledge.

OliverTwister
Jul 20 2018 20:12
Baderneiro Miseravel wrote:
It is certainly curious that people from Brazil attended when there isn't any real militant organization in the country that builds this kind of iniitative in workplaces - if there are, I'd like to get in touch hehe. The video is better because it shows some of the real movements building some sort of solidarity across borders and sharing knowledge.

They had 4 people there (one of the biggest delegations) and it seemed pretty clear that there was a real organization behind them.