The Voice of Coloured Labour. George Padmore (editor) 1945
After the protracted discussion on the text of the telegram to the Big Three, Sir Walter Citrine, Secretary of the Trades Union Congress and leader of the British Delegation, addressed the Conference on the question of the New International. He submitted a Ten-Point Programme as the basis of the new federation:
I have suggested that the Committee should be composed of eighteen members: United States of America, 2; Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, 2; Great Britain, 2; France, 2; Rest of Europe, 1; China, 1; British Commonwealth, 2; Latin American Federation of Labour, 2; International Federation of Trade Unions, 2; International Trade Secretariats, 2.
The Committee would have power to co-opt on the principle already adopted by this Conference such other interests as circumstances may require who are represented in the Conference.
I present these proposals on behalf of the British T.U.C. delegation, and I believe that they will effectively bridge the intervening period that must necessarily ensue before an all inclusive Trade Union International can be established.
I suggest that these points be remitted to the Commission for consideration.
Mr. T. A. Bankole (Nigerian Trades Union Congress): Fully conscious of my duty as a representative of the working-class movement of Nigeria I come forward to place on record the viewpoint of the workers of that country on the important question of the formation of an international Trade Union organisation in which all the Trade Unions or Trade Union groups of the world will eventually take a place, no matter whence they derive. At this juncture in world affairs, when labour has adorned its own history with glorious achievements in the struggle to overthrow Fascism and to establish enduring peace, the workers of the world cannot but come together in order to be in a position to contribute collectively to the establishment and maintenance of that peace: That is why I think the formation of an international Trade Union organisation is at this moment a prime necessity and I have no doubt this Conference is unanimous on that point. The essential thing, then, is the basis on which such an organisation should be formed if it must be expected to supply the collective needs of the world’s working-classes and at once foster universal peace and concord. This is the supreme task at the moment, and we must grapple with it in a spirit befitting sincere planners of the future destiny of common peoples. Our international Trade Union organisation must be founded on the basis of equal treatment for all affiliated bodies and their representatives regardless of the countries from which they derive, and must be nurtured in an atmosphere of mutual regard, discipline and candour. It must keep an open door for all approved Labour organisations functioning in all lands.
It will be the task of our international Trade Union organisation (a) to encourage the growth of the Trade Union Movement in all lands by preventing such discrimination against associations of indigenous workers as his hitherto been the case in such countries as South Africa, Northern Rhodesia and the United States of America with particular reference to the A.F.L.; (b) to ensure that all workers, particularly those of dependent areas, are employed under conditions favouring general prosperity; (c) to devise means of harmonising the workers, the employers and their respective Governments with a view to fostering labour efficiency and collective bargaining, and (d) to give reasonable backing to the aspirations of colonial workers to internal self-government in their respective countries. It is also important that our international Trade Union organisation should declare itself solidly in favour of the declarations of Philadelphia and the Atlantic Charter and should urge their progressive and steady application to conditions in Colonial areas as its surety that it will be able, as an international body, to advertise itself as sincerely motivated and determined to usher in a new world order devoid of unemployment, intolerance, poverty and want, ignorance and economic and political insolvency. Our international Trade Union organisation must boldly face the great task of demanding that all the territories that have been called upon so unswervingly to combat Fascism (these including the colonies) shall enjoy to the full the approaching peace and such advantages as are likely to follow in its wake. But our international Trade Union organisation should see the wisdom not of despising any existing International, but of appreciating its work and drawing upon its wealth of valuable experience so as to ensure rapid progress and success.
Finally, I am fully convinced that our international Trade Union organisation, founded on the basis of equality, justice and equity, will be able to contribute substantially to the establishment and maintenance of that lasting peace of which the world has hitherto stood in need and to ensure for every working person an acceptable living standard. Comrades, let us address ourselves to this great task with equally great determination.