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Speaker Biographies

Randall Howard*

Randall Howard: Advisor to the South African minister of public services and administration

After leaving school Randall worked for various companies before being employed by South African Container Depots (SACD) in 1986. He joined the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU) and was elected a shop steward and chairperson of the Western Cape branch.

In 1988 he was dismissed from the company and became a full time organiser with TGWU. He was subsequently elected branch secretary, then national deputy general secretary and, in 1994, general secretary. He held this position until the merger of TGWU and Sarhwu in 2000. At Satawu’s founding congress Randall was elected general secretary and in this capacity is a member of the central executive committee of Cosatu. He has been the ITF’s president since 2006, when he was elected to the position at the ITF’s Durban congress. In September 2009, he left Satawu to take on his current position as advisor to the minister of public services and administration in Jacob Zuma’s cabinet.

David Cockroft*

David Cockroft: ITF general secretary

David began his professional life in 1974 in the economic department of the British Trades Union Congress, later moving to the Association of Professional, Executive, Clerical and Computer staff.

In 1979 he joined the international trade union movement as secretary for industrial salaried employees at the International Federation of Commercial, Clerical, Professional and Technical Employees. He came to the ITF in 1985 as research and publications department secretary and was subsequently given responsibility for the dockers’, civil aviation and tourism services' sections.

In 1991 he was appointed ITF assistant general secretary and, following the decision of the then general secretary to retire, was appointed ITF acting general secretary in 1993. The following year he was elected ITF general secretary at the 37th congress in Geneva, and was re-elected at the New Delhi, Vancouver and Durban congresses.

Benito Bahena y Lome*

Benito Bahena y Lome: General secretary of the Alianza de Tranviarios de México, the Mexican tram drivers’ union

Benito has occupied several positions at the Congreso del Trabajo (Mexican labour congress) and has been general secretary of Federación Sindical de Trabajadores de Empresas y Servicios (FESEBS). He also founded: the labour and union council of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of Democratic Revolution); the Red Mexicana Contra el Área de Libre Comercio, a network against the North American Free Trade Agreement; and the Alianza Social de Organizaciones Sociales y Sindicales de México, an alliance of Mexican social and union organisations.

In his capacity as a member of the Confederación Internacional de la Paz (International Peace Confederation), he was invited on a special mission to Baghdad, Iraq, before the US invasion. He has been the Mexican delegate to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on behalf of FESEBS as well as a delegate to the International Labour Conference in Geneva, Switzerland, in 2001 by special invitation from the Mexican Labour Ministry.

Apart from being a member of two of Mexico City’s social and economic councils, he is the national coordinator of the National Organised Movement “Aquí estamos” and president of the independent monitoring committee of the Unión Nacional de los Trabajadores. He is national coordinator of the National Dialogue.

Currently a member of the ITF executive board and the ITF’s Mexican national coordinator, Benito is general secretary of the Alianza de Tranviarios de México, the Mexican electric transport and tram workers’ union.

Benito Miron Lince*

Benito Miron Lince: federal district minister for labour and employment promotion

Benito, a law graduate from the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (National Autonomous University of Mexico), has led various political and social organisations. His numerous positions have included: advisor to a public transport workers’ unión Ruta 100; legal representative for the Zapatista National Liberation Army; co-founder of the Comité Intersindical Primero de Mayo (First of May Inter-Union coordinating committee) and of the Frente Amplio para la Construcción del Movimiento de Liberación Nacional (Broad Front for the Construction of the National Liberation Movement) and a litigant in various branches of law, particularly labour law. He was federal deputy and a member of the social security committee and chair of the human rights commission in the 57th Deputy Chamber.

In 2000, Benito stood as a candidate for the 27th local district council in Iztapalapa. He has been a state executive member and national executive member of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of Democratic Revolution) as well as junior minister for labour and social security in Mexico City’s government during the 2000-2006 administration. He is currently minister for labour and employment promotion in the Mexico City’s government.

Marcelo Luis Ebrard Casaubon*

Marcelo Luis Ebrard Casaubon: federal district head of government

Marcelo Ebrard Casaubon’s professional career started in 1981 when he took up a post at the planning and budget ministry. In 1985, following Mexico City’s devastating earthquake, he contributed to a people’s housing renovation programme and a year later was involved in the federal district reconstruction programme.

By 1992, he had been appointed government general secretary in the Mexico City government. He also joined a team seeking a peaceful resolution to the Zapatista uprising and recognition of the movement’s demands.

In 1997, he was elected federal deputy for the 57th Deputy Chamber and in 1999, he denounced impropriety at the treasury and public credit ministry, co-authoring two publications on the matter. In 2000, he joined the alliance Por la Ciudad de México (For Mexico City).

He became adviser to the Consejo Nacional de Ahorradores (National Council of Savers) in 2000; the group involved most of the 230,000 families affected by the crisis in the popular savings system.

In 2002, he was appointed public security minister in the federal district government and in 2005 became minister for social development. Later that year, he was elected head of Mexico City’s government when he stood as a candidate for the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution) and in 2006, he was elected federal district head of government as a representative of the Coalición por el Bien de Todos (Coalition for the Good of All).

Raúl Armando Quintero Martínez*

Raúl Armando Quintero Martínez: Mexico City minister for transport and highway administration

A founder in 1972 of the Sindicato Nacional de Trabajadores de la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, the national workers’ unión of the National Autonomous University of México, Armando held several positions in the union between 1977 and 1996, including social security secretary, housing secretary and women’s action secretary.

In 1982, he founded the Organización de Izquierda Revolucionaria - Línea de Masas, a revolutionary leftist organisation and in 1989, went on to establish the Partido de la Revolución Democrática (Party of the Democratic Revolution). Between 1994 and 1997, he was the federal deputy in the 56th parliament and secretary of the labour and social security committee. From 1996 to 1999, he was Mexico City’s president, after he stood as a candidate for the Partido de la Revolución Democrática, which had won an absolute majority in the legislative assembly of Mexico City.

In 2000, he was the alliance coordinator in Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s campaign to become federal district head of government and between 2000 and 2003, he was the coordinator of the parliamentary group and chair of the executive committee of the Partido de la Revolución Democrática. In 2003, he was also the borough mayor of Iztacalco. He has been the federal district minister for the transport and highway administration since December 2006.