Tuesday's keynote speaker, Sharan Burrow, was elected the first ever female president of the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) at its Congress in December last year.
Speaking after the ICFTU Congress, Sharan said, “this is a critical period for the global union movement. High on the agenda will be engaging multinational companies to ensure they live up to their obligations and stop exploitation in their supply chains."
Sharan is also president of the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) and was a guest at the IMF Congress in Sydney in 2001. She was born in Warren, a small town in western New South Wales, into a family with a long history of involvement in unions and the struggle to improve the lives of working people.
In 1976 Sharan began her teaching career in high schools in country NSW. Not long after, she got involved in the teachers’ union, eventually becoming president of the Australian Education Union in 1992. Sharan’s involvement in global unions began as the Vice-President of Education International from 1995 to 2000.
Sharan’s speech to Congress will address the theme Advancing Workers’ Rights.