The story of ITUC’s suspected unholy alliance with PR firm EMC to bring down FIFA’s Sepp Blatter

by NGO Watchdog staff  Friday 1 January 2016


Dan Hodges, a former Labour Party and GMB trade union official, put the true essence of modern-day’s trade unions succinctly in one of his blogs published in a leading UK Daily: “The trade unions are not casting themselves as experts in the world of work. They’re casting themselves as experts in the world of political protest. Or, more accurately, the world of ineffective political protest. March. Achieve nothing. March again”

ITUC comes to mind. Straying away from its agenda of focused attention to the cause of workers, the International Trade Union Confederation appears to have turned completely political now. By repeatedly questioning countries in the Gulf, for a right cause but with a wrong attitude, and without making any real difference to the workers’ plight, ITUC is demonstrating its movement’s impotence, rather than its strength.

Ever since the awarding of the Soccer World Cup rights to Russia and Qatar, in 2010, the workers union body has not taken a single day’s rest, relentlessly plotting to dethrone FIFA’s Sepp Blatter. ITUC has simultaneously attacked Gulf countries for ill-treating its migrant workers. From data and sources, it appears quite possible that poor migrant workers were just pawn in a much bigger game.


ITUC Plotting to dethrone FIFA’s Sepp Blatter has not stopped
ITUC Plotting to dethrone FIFA’s Sepp Blatter has not stopped


Sharan Burrow, the stern-faced General Secretary of ITUC, did not have the mandate to go out and clean corruption in FIFA. Her own house is in disarray.
She has been way out of her bounds in her motivated pursuit of FIFA officials, and with Sepp Blatter now out of the game, she must surely have thumped her fist in the air. Australia, USA, and England, among others, lost out to a Russia and Qatar, from the looks of it, Sharan Burrow, an Aussie herself, has taken it upon herself to avenge the bid loss of her political associates.
Under Ms Burrow, ITUC has operated like a multinational firm that regularly employs public relation firms to pursue their business agenda. Besides using its in-house media publication – Equal Times – ITUC has employed the Australia-based PR firm – Essential Media Communications (EMC) for helping ITUC to achieve its mendate. EMC and ITUC entered into a contract immediately after FIFA bid was awarded in 2010. Sharan Burrow is also suspected to have ‘favoured’ her home-based companies for every professional contract. EMC, ERA FILMS, Ben Crow are few of the Australia-based PR firms that have found business with cash-rich ITUC. Who knows how much has gone into whose pockets.

Gemma Swart was the press secretary of Sharan Burrow while working with EMC. She was made associate director of EMC in 2011 and worked closely with Ms Burrow to devise strategies to bring down FIFA, as has been alleged by a range of reliable sources.

A recent media article had clearly outlined how Gemma Swart and Sharan Burrow worked beyond their mandate. She was quick to react and changed her LinkedIn profile, making it apparently clear that she is now working full time with the trade union body. No more conflict of interests. But she might have to answer for the suspected indiscretions already committed.
And there is also fresh evidence that points towards Gemma’s clandestine connection with’s Tim Dixom, chief political strategist and managing director in Europe. Maybe she is discussing ITUC’s fresh mandates with a fresh company.

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