Statement by the Canadian Labour Congress regarding the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

January 14, 2023

The Canadian Labour Congress has expressed its grave concerns about the allegations against Luca Visentini, stemming from an ongoing corruption investigation by the Belgian authorities. Visentini was elected to the position of General Secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation in Melbourne, Australia, in November 2022. He was subsequently arrested and released with conditions as part of the investigation. Visentini admits to having accepted a cash donation from an NGO founded by a former member of the European Parliament who is currently in jail facing corruption charges. In December, the General Council of the ITUC suspended Mr. Visentini from his post as General Secretary.

A portion of the funds accepted by Visentini were transferred to the ITUC and were used to assist a number of ITUC affiliates to attend the Congress in Melbourne.

On January 13, General Council of the ITUC, of which the CLC is a member, approved an external audit of the conditions that lead to the ITUC accepting this cash donation from a third party, via Visentini. The General Council also struck a Special Commission to investigate the circumstances that preceded this decision, and any potential impact it may have had on the outcome of the election for the position of General Secretary, as well as whether the ITUC’s position on Qatar’s adherence to labour standards had been unduly influenced by external actors connected to the Belgian investigation. The results of the independent external audit and Commission report will be reported to the General Council, along with an interim report of the Special Commission in March 2023.

A strong global voice for workers is critical, just as it is here at home. The CLC will continue to act in its role in ensuring the highest standards of accountability, transparency and integrity needed to ensure that the ITUC can continue to do its important work on behalf of workers around the world.

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