World Federation of Trade Unions (WFTU)

Reference work entry
Part of the The Statesman's Yearbook book series (SYBK)

Origin and History. The WFTU was founded on a worldwide basis in 1945 at the international trade union conferences held in London and Paris, with the participation of all the trade union centres in the countries of the anti-Hitler coalition. The aim was to reunite the world trade union movement at the end of the Second World War. The acute political differences among affiliates, especially the east–west confrontation in Europe on ideological lines, led to a split. A number of affiliated organizations withdrew in 1949 and established the ICFTU. The WFTU now draws its membership from the industrially developing countries like India, Vietnam and other Asian countries, Brazil, Peru, Cuba and other Latin American countries, Syria, Lebanon, Kuwait and other Arab countries, and it has affiliates and associates in more than 20 European countries. It has close relations with the International Confederation of Arab Trade Unions, the Organization of African Trade Union Unity as well as the All-China Federation of Trade Unions. The 17th Congress was held in Durban, South Africa in Oct. 2016. There are ten Trade Unions Internationals (TUIs) constituted within the WFTU.

The WFTU has 92m. members in 126 countries. It has regional offices in Damascus, Havana, Johannesburg, Libreville, New Delhi and Nicosia and Permanent Representatives accredited to the UN in New York, the FAO in Rome, the ILO in Geneva and UNESCO in Paris.

  • Headquarters: 40 Zan Moreas St., 117 45 Athens, Greece.

  • Website:

  • Email:

  • President: Mzwandile Michael Makwayiba (South Africa).

  • General Secretary: George Mavrikos (Greece).

Copyright information

© The Author(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2019

Personalised recommendations