The International Confederation of Free Trade Unions : structure, ideology and capacity to act
This thesis shows the ways in which the strategies and tactics of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) have evolved, in response to changes in the world economy and society and as part of the development of an international industrial relations system. It uses a series of cases to examine key features of the organisation and to show how it has responded to important challenges. These include: the creation of a separate European trade union organisation and the nature of the ICFTU's relation to it; the relations and the search for unity between the ICFTU and its Christian rival, the WCL; the campaign against apartheid in South Africa and violations of human rights in Chile and other countries; the rise of women's participation and representation within the world body, and most importantly, the development of the international trade union movement's campaign against the multinational corporations and around the theme of 'globalisation'. I conclude that the ICFTU is constrained on all sides as an organisation - through limited independent powers of action, disunity among its affiliates, the decline in the membership and influences of national unions, the scarcity of resources, and other factors - but that it has been able to act effectively under certain circumstances and when certain key conditions are met, such as the willingness to act among affiliated unions that was built up around the problem of apartheid, or the leading role played by the confederation in promoting women's equality.