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International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU)

Website: http://www.icftu.org/

Category: Labour

Year of Foundation: 1949

Year of Dissolution: 2006

Location of Foundation: London, UK

Location of Headquarters: Brussels, Belgium

Brief Description: ICFTU described itself as 'a Confederation of national trade union centres, each of which links together the trade unions of that particular country.' (Source: http://www.icftu.org/; accessed 20 January 2010)

Founding Rationales:

In the opening speech of the founding conference, H. L. Bullock stated: 'We had high hopes that the World Federation of Trade Unions that was founded in this Chamber in 1945 would have fulfilled its avowed purpose of bringing within its ranks the trade unions of the whole world irrespective of considerations of race, nationality, religion, or political opinion. This is still the guiding aim and declared objective of the World Conference which opens here today...We come together again now to continue - and I hope and believe to achieve - the object we have had all along, an object from which we cannot allow ourselves on any ground to be diverted...We are here to learn by our mistakes, and to see more clearly than we did on that earlier occasion the significance of the contemporary conflict between the democratic and the totalitarian way of life. We must not make the mistake of trying to comprehend in our new World Confederation contradictory and irreconcilable objects and aims. Neither must we confuse the economic and industrial sphere of activity into which we enter as a World Confederation with the political sphere, in which other international bodies have their place...The autonomy of the national organizations which will be in affiliation with this new World Confederation is the corollary of the basic principle of free labour and the independence of trade unions which we take as cardinal doctrine of our faith and practice.'

Source: 'Official Report of the Free World Labour Conference and of the First International Congress of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, London, November-December 1949', pp. 1-2.

Evolution of Membership:

International Confederation of Free Trade Unions Membership Chart

Sources: Trade Union World (special anniversary edition 1999); YIO; EAIO