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1945-1960 International Trade Unionism
International Trade Unionism

International Trade Unionism

Anti-communism found a place within the international trade union movement, shattering the unity which had been achieved in 1945 when the World Federation of Trade Unions was established. The only national trade union centre which had held aloof from this body from its inception was the American Federation of Labor (AFL), although its then rival the CIO (Congress of Industrial Organisations) did participate along with delegations from 46 other countries. The British TUC hosted the founding conference in London and was enthusiastic about the meeting itself, although more cautious on the prospects for a permanent organisation. The dictates of American foreign policy and its Marshall Aid programme sought busily to divide East and West in every sphere of activity. The European Recovery Programme Trade Union Advisory Committee was the US mechanism for achieving the split in the WFTU which remained as the last symbol of the unsectarian wartime alliance. Arthur Deakin, who was the WFTU president at the time, told the TUC in a remarkable 'about face' that the World Federation was 'nothing more than than another platform and instrument for the furtherance of Soviet foreign policy' and led a walk-out to join the AFL in establishing a new anti-communist international, the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, founded in London in December 1949.

Professor Mary Davis, Centre for Trade Union Studies, London Metropolitan University.
Election Night, 1945 Durham Miners Gala, 1947
  Hungary   Congress House official opening  
  Free Trade Unions form the ICFTU   Down to brass tacks  
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