Italy’s largest union confederation CGIL has recently finished its congress. After eight years at the helm, Susanna Camusso, as per the statutes, is stepping aside.

Instead, she takes over the role as an international secretary, with responsibility for issues concerning, among other things, the ITUC.

Camusso received 50.2 million votes, against Sharan Burrows 54.7 million, during the ITUC Congress in December. She maintains that the election wasn’t fair.

“The member organisations received no information, either via the ITUC website or the congress’ newsletter, that there were two candidates. And the alternative candidate had no opportunity to present their proposal.”

Nevertheless, Camusso considers her campaign a victory. The Congress adopted a resolution on the initiative of the unions that supported her.

“It aims to improve respect for internal rules and union democracy,” she says.

Camusso states that the close vote was also a recognition of her views, which the leadership must now take on board.

“Over these months, I learned how widespread dissatisfaction with and criticism of the ITUC was among member organisations, especially in developing countries,” she says.

“It explains the unexpected success of my campaign and has set in motion a participatory process that can’t be stopped.”

Will CGIL support Sharan Burrow now that she is elected?
“CGIL will do what it takes to strengthen the unity of the ITUC. We believe that working for changes to the ITUC regulations and activities is an important contribution to the unity that has been threatened by top-down leadership in recent years,” says Susanna Camusso.

“But it is up to the new secretariat, and the Secretary-General, to demonstrate their capacity to represent the entire organisation and build stronger internal solidarity.”

Translation: Liselotte Geary