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The World Organization of Workers (WOW) was founded in September 1921 in Luxemburg, under the name of World Federation of Clerical Workers (WFCW), as a trade union for clerical workers in the Private Services. The founders of WFCW envisioned a trade union based on the Social Christian principles in which man and universe were created by God or persuasions coinciding with that and that solidarity between people of all classes should lead its actions.

WFCW was constituted shortly after the end of World War One. In this difficult period for people in general, and workers in particular, WFCW found the inspiration to defend the interest of its members

In 1920 the International Federation of Christian Trade Unions (IFCTU) was created to represent the interests of Social-Christian oriented labour unions. It was not long before the WFCW decided to become a member of the new IFCTU.

During World War Two many of the IFCTU and WFCW unions decided not to cooperate with the occupied forces of Nazi-Germany. This resulted in difficulties for the leading figures of both organisations.

After World War Two the United States of America and the Western European powers opposed the developments in Soviet-Union. This resulted in the Cold War. As an effect of that the IFCTU and the WFCW lost their members in the states occupied by the Soviet forces. IFCTU was banned from all countries behind the so-called Iron Curtain between Western and Eastern Europe.

While the IFCTU and WFCW lost members in the Soviet controlled countries they at the same time gained new members in the newly independent countries in Africa and Asia, created as a result of the decolonisation of these countries, as well as Latin-America, where most countries already gained independence at the beginning of the 19th century.

Because of these new members in the so-called Third World countries the Christian trade unions decided at the IFCTU World Congress of 1968 to change its name to the World Confederation of Labour (WCL) as to show the world that the organisation will be open to all people of all kind of believe that share the same fundamental trade union values and goals.

The WFCW remained a member of the WCL until 31 October 2006 when the WCL dissolved. The WCL had for years been discussing a possible merger with the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) and on 1st November 2006 this was made official. The WCL and ICFTU ceased to exist and were to continue under the name of International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC).

The Congress of the former-WFCW had decided to continue as an autonomous independent international federation under a new “working name” (World Organization of Workers) until its next Congress and would open a new office with new staff in the city of Brussels, Belgium. Additionally WOW decided to look for more cooperation with other international trade union federations active in the same sector, such as Union Network International (UNI).

Today the WOW represents people in Africa, Asia, Europe, North America and Latin America.