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The World Confederation of Labour
(WCL) was an international labour organization founded in 1920 and based in Europe. Totalitarian
governments of the 1930s repressed the federation and imprisoned many of its leaders, limiting operations until the end of World War II
. In 2006 it became part of the International Trade Union Confederation
(ITUC), ending its existence as an independent organization.
The WCL was founded at The Hague
in 1920 under the name of the "International Federation of Christian Trade Unions" (IFCTU) as a confederation of trade unions
associated with the Christian Democratic
parties of Europe
. Originally catering to Roman Catholic
constituencies, the IFCTU was designed to provide an alternative to the secular trade unions in Europe at the time, basing its foundation on the Rerum Novarum
and the Quadragesimo Anno
.. International Institute of Social History
. Retrieved on August 19, 2007.
The first statutes
adopted by the group proclaimed its intention to struggle not only for workers' labour rights, but also values like human dignity, democracy, and international solidarity. Petrus Serrarens
became the first secretary-general of the IFCTU; Joseph Scherrer was its first president.