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41st Congress of the ITF comes to a close

9 August 2006

Randall Howard, Satawu*
Randall Howard speaking during Congress*

The first ITF Congress to be held in Africa ended today with the election of its first President from Africa.

Randall Howard, General Secretary of the South African Transport and Allied Workers’ Union, was elected at the close of the ITF’s four-yearly Congress, held in Durban, South Africa, from 2-9 August.

I want to thank the affiliates for their support and for placing their confidence in me as a somewhat unknown quantity.

Statement by Randall Howard: Full text, see below.

He replaces Umraomal Purohit, of the AIRF Indian railway workers’ federation, who has retired after eight years in office.

Howard, who is an executive committee member of the Congress of South African Trade Unions, thanked affiliates and delegates for placing their confidence him. He listed trade union unity, women and HIV/Aids as his priorities for the ITF.

He added: “I want to express my appreciation to Satawu, to the central executive committee, for making my nomination possible, as they know I will have to share my time between the two.

“Satawu recognises that our international work has strategic importance for our movement. There is a recognition that the most effective way to challenge global capital is through global organising.”

During its final Plenary Session, Congress condemned terrorist attacks on innocent civilians in Mumbai, London and Madrid and commended the professional and courageous response of emergency services and transport staff.

Other resolutions called on:
–    Affiliated unions to support investment in companies that respect human and trade union rights, using the International Labour Organisation’s fundamental principles as a guide;
–    No outside intervention in the internal affairs of Venezuela and Cuba and expressed its support for their sovereignty and right to self-determination;
–    The ITF and its affiliates to prioritise the participation and involvement of women throughout their organisations;
–    The ITF to take initiatives promoting further dialogue and constructive engagement with Chinese transport workers and their unions.
–    Solidarity initiatives to strengthen trade union rights in Pakistan and called on the Executive to draw attention to the serious violations of human and trade union rights experienced by Pakistan’s transport workers.

Some of the ITF’s most valued campaigners and former servants were honoured during the final session. Eleven individuals received the ITF Gold Badge in gratitude for their service to the organisation. They included outgoing President Umraomal Purohit, along with the ITF’s former Dockers’ Section Secretary, Kees Marges, and African Regional Secretary Ben Udogwu, who retires in December.

The other eight Gold Badge recipients, with their unions, were:
Peter Baranowski, Verdi (Germany)
Dieter Benze, Verdi (Germany)
John Bowers, ILA (US)
Dave Morgan, MUNZ (New Zealand)
Bill Morris, TGWU (UK)
Peter Sand Mortensen, 3F (Denmark)
Francis Mungroo SWWTU (Trinidad & Tobago)
Richard Rosser, TSSA (UK).


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