Season’s greetings

Unions are on the front lines

2018 has been a difficult year for too many affiliates and their members as we witness the shrinking of democratic space in 54 countries and a massive increase in violence with arrests and detentions of trade union activists in 69 countries.

The displacement of people who are forced to become refugees is the highest in our history.

Eighty four per cent of people tell us that the minimum wage is not enough to live on, and attacks on collective bargaining continue in many nations.

There is hope. We are stronger today with more than 207 million members and we are building workers’ power.

The 4th ITUC World Congress has just concluded in Copenhagen, where more than 1,200 participants took part in five days of debate to shape the priorities of a more just world.

We left the Congress united to build workers’ power to change the rules. The international union movement stands for peace, democracy and rights for working people. We must defeat and transform the failed economic model of today. We must defend workers’ and other human rights and demand a new social contract. As the world shifts, with technological and climate change, and as people move because of desperation or from choice, we must see Just Transition. And equality for all people is at the centre of our mandate.

ITUC priorities for the next four years will be based on four pillars: on peace, democracy and rights; regulating economic power; just transitions for climate change, technology change and displacement of people; and equality.

2019 will see the Centenary Conference of the ILO, and we want a strong declaration on the future of work with secure employment, a new social contract and the guarantee of labour rights for all workers. We also want a Convention on the elimination of violence against women and men in the world of work. And a UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights must ensure that the responsibilities of business for human and labour rights are enforced.

We are looking forward to working with our new leadership team Cathy Feingold and Karl- Petter Thorwaldsson as Deputy Presidents and our Deputy Secretaries Victor Baez, Mamadou Diallo and Owen Tudor to support all of you in the coming year.

Enjoy the season, and let’s return strengthened in our determination to organise to change the rules.


Ayuba Wabba
President International Trade Union Confederation
Sharan Burrow
General Secretary International Trade Union Confederation