(Durban 03.04.2000 - Juhani Artto) ICFTU, the leading body of the international trade union movement, today began its 17th Congress in Durban, South Africa. There is no lack of issues of major importance to a global labour force of three billion people, almost one billion of whom are unemployed or underemployed.
It is a huge achievement for organised labour that ICFTU, with its 215 affiliated federations in 145 countries, currently represents 125 million employees, and that more federations are seeking membership of the ICFTU family. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the cold war, ICFTU has had no major challenger on the trade union scene.
Another brilliant achievement is that the wide variety of 1,200 delegates will be able to consider complex issues in a constructive, non-divisive way, even when many of the affiliated federations are often bitter rivals in their own countries.