Jack Straw announces new ties for Foreign Office and TUC

Foreign
Secretary Jack Straw has announced closer ties between the Foreign &
Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the TUC.

Speaking
at a reception to mark Lord Bill Jordan’s retirement as general secretary of
the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, Straw announced the plans
to establish closer links, which include:


an advisory council representing trade unions in the UK and the FCO to explore
areas of joint action abroad


a request to diplomatic posts to offer support to trade unions in their work
overseas


a secondment exchange between the FCO and the TUC to help improve mutual
understanding of EU and international issues

Straw
said: "With a global membership of 157 million, the trade union movement
has enormous impact across the world. Yet neither trade unions here in the UK
nor the Foreign Office has made sufficient use of our shared agenda and
networks.

"I
want the Foreign Office therefore to develop a new relationship of support and
co-operation with trade unions to help mutual understanding and support. The
measures I am proposing today should help start that process."

Commenting
on the plans, John Monks, TUC general secretary, said: "British unions are
well-regarded throughout the international trade union movement and have a wealth
of practical experience they are more than willing to share, both here and in
activities abroad.

"We
look forward to working with the diplomatic service in promoting workers’
rights throughout the world. This is all the more important today, as the ICFTU
publishes its Annual Survey of Trade Union Rights Violations which shows that,
over the last year, 231 trade unionists were killed and some 40,000 detained
for exercising their human rights as workers."

www.tuc.org.uk

By Quentin Reade

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