The General Labour Federation of Belgium (French: Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique, or FGTB; Dutch: Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond, ABVV) is a socialist national trade union federation in Belgium. It was founded in 1945. It is affiliated with the International Trade Union Confederation and has a membership of 1.5 million. With said membership the ABVV/FGTB is the second largest of the three major trade unions in Belgium, closely following the Confederation of Christian Trade Unions (ACV/CSC) which has 1.6 million members and dwarfing the General Confederation of Liberal Trade Unions of Belgium (ACLVB/CGSLB) which has approximately 300,000 members. During the bulk of its history the ABVV/FGTB remained closely affiliated with the Belgian Socialist Party which was split in 1978 into a Flemish and a Walloon social-democratic party. While remaining formally independent from any political party, the ABVV/FGTB noticed the increasing influence by the marxist Workers' Party of Belgium amongst its active base during the last decade.
General Labour Federation of Belgium
|Fédération Générale du Travail de Belgique|
Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond
|Predecessor||Belgian Trade Union Federation|
|Founded||29 April 1945|
|Thierry Bodson, chairperson |
Miranda Ulens, secretary general
|Affiliations||ITUC, ETUC, TUAC|
The first noteworthy historic date when talking about the history of the ABVV/FGTB is the founding of the Belgian Labour Party (BLP) in 1885. While several socialist organisations already existed beforehand this was the first time that the Belgian socialist movement was largely unified and laid the groundwork for the foundation of the ABVV/FGTB. In 1898 the Syndical Commission was erected within the framework of the BLP and in 1937 this Commission formally became independent from the socialist party, as the Belgian Trade Union Federation. Nonetheless strong ties between the socialist union and the socialist party were maintained until today. After the Second World War in 1945 this independent socialist union became the ABVV/FGTB we know today.
Membership and AffiliatesEdit
In 2017 the ABVV/FGTB had a total of 1,517,968 members divided across its 7 affiliates. Thus Belgium's second largest labour union noticed a modest decline in membership of 17,340 compared to 2016. On the regional level 726,410 of the aforementioned membership comes from Flanders, 600,945 from Wallonia and 190,613 from Brussels.
|Union||French abbreviation||Flemish abbreviation||Membership 2015||Membership 2016||Membership 2017|
|Association of Employees, Technicians and Managers||SETCa||BBTK||424,580||421,922||420,285|
|General Union of Public Services||CGSP||ACOD||311,795||309,046||303,062|
|Union of the Belgian Metal Industry||CMB||CMB||160,136||156,085||153,233|
|Food, Hospitality and Services Union||HORVAL||HORVAL||122,794||123,468||124,214|
|Belgian Union of Transport Workers||UTB||BTB||49,831||50,471||51,684|
|General Labour Federation of Belgium - Youth||FGTB - Jeunes||ABVV - Jongeren||43,509||46,799||41,395|
|Union||French abbreviation||Flemish abbreviation||Founded||Reason no longer affiliated||Date|
|Belgian Union of Tramway and Municipal Transport Workers||CBPT||BCTBAP||1919||Merged into ACOD||1968|
|Food Production Van Sina||Vansina||Vansina||1951||Merged into HORVAL||1955|
|General Diamond Workers' Association of Belgium||ADB||1895||Merged into TVD||1994|
|Leather Workers' Union||1919||Merged into AC||1953|
|Paper and Publishing Industry Union||CLP||CBP||1944||Merged into BBTK and AC||1996|
|Textile-Clothing-Diamond Union||TVD||TKD||1994||Merged into AC||2014|
|Tobacco Workers' Union||1909||Merged into AC||1954|
|Union of Mineworkers of Belgium||CSTMB||NCMB||1889||Merged into AC||1994|
|Union of Belgian Stoneworkers||COPB||1889||Merged into AC||1965|
|Union of Belgian Textile Workers||COTB||TACB||1898||Merged into TVD||1994|
|Union of Clothing Workers and Kindred Trades in Belgium||CVPS||CKAVB||1908||Merged into TVD||1994|
Through the foundation of the Mouvement populaire wallon during the Great Strike that took place in the Winter 1960-1961, the Walloon working class now also demanded federalism as well as structural reforms. The leader of the Strike, André Renard was also a national leader of the General Labour Federation of Belgium. This whole process will be named Renardism.
- 1945: Joseph Bondas
- 1947: Paul Finet
- 1952: Louis Major
- 1968: Georges Debunne
- 1982: Alfred Delourme
- 1987: Jean Gayetot
- 1989: Mia De Vits
- 2002: André Mordant
- 2004: Xavier Verboven
- 2006: Anne Demelenne
- 2014: Marc Goblet
- 2017: Robert Vertenueil
- 2018: Miranda Ulens
- 1956: Roger Dekeyzer
- 1957: Willy Schugens
- 1958: Alfons Baeyens
- 1959: Hervé Brouhon
- 1960: Emiel Janssens
- 1961: Joseph Dedoyard
- 1963: Victor Thijs
- 1964: Oscar Leclercq
- 1965: Desiré Van Daele
- 1966: Louis Plumier
- 1967: Gust Wallaert
- 1982: André Vanden Broucke
- 1989: François Janssens
- 1995: Michel Nollet
- 2002: Mia De Vits
- 2004: André Mordant
- 2006: Rudy De Leeuw
- 2018: Robert Vertenueil
- 2020: Thierry Bodson
- "Belg blijft de vakbond trouw". De Standaard.
- "Bpost, een godsgeschenk voor de PVDA/PTB | De Standaard". www.standaard.be.
- "Geschiedenis van het ABVV in een notendop | Vlaams ABVV - Socialistische vakbond in Vlaanderen - Algemeen Belgisch Vakverbond ABVV". www.vlaamsabvv.be.
- "Statistics table". www.abvv.be. Retrieved 2020-10-02.
- Ledenaantal. Brussels: ABVV/FGTB. 2017.
- Ebbinghaus, Bernhard; Visser, Jelle (2000). Trade Unions in Western Europe Since 1945. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 130–132. ISBN 0333771125.
- Chantal Kesteloot, Growth of the Walloon Movement, in Nationalism in Belgium, MacMillan, London, 1998, pp. 139-152, p. 150.
- Official website (in Dutch)