The international labour movement has unveiled plans to create a single union body by 2006 to ensure that workers’ rights across the world are properly respected.
The world’s largest labour coalition, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU), approved a merger with the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) at its conference in Japan last week.
The confederation is concerned about the trend of outsourcing jobs to countries where workers are forcibly deprived of the benefits of union representation.
The merger has the potential of creating a stronger international organisation, which will speak with a single voice for workers.
The ICFTU represents 148 million staff worldwide in 234 affiliated organisations – of which the UK’s Trade Union Congress is one.
ICFTU president Fackson Shamenda raised the issue of globalisation and its impact on labour markets at the conference.
“Today’s model of globalisation is unbalanced and unsustainable,” he said. “It is not favourable to workers’ interests, and is generating inequality and insecurity.”