The WFTU held its Second World Trade Union Congress, as planned, in Milan (Italy) from 29 June to 9 July 1949. Delegations from 61 countries were present at the Congress representing around 71 million members. The Congress rejected the British TUC’s proposal to cease WFTU’s activities. The proposition of the British TUC was a common plan of the governments of the United States and the Great Britain that were worried about the strengthening of the WFTU. The British as well as the USA trade unions were sponsored by their governments with large amounts of money in order to bribe trade unionists and dialyze WFTU. They did not achieve that and have walked out of the Congress. No major organization followed them when they left. All of the organizations stayed with the WFTU. An open Letter addressed to trade union activists in the United States, Great Britain and other countries whose centers had pulled out of the WFTU, was adopted by the Congress urging them to find a way to reach an agreement around common aims.
The Second World Trade Union Congress established priorities in the struggle for peace, democratic rights of the people and international trade union unity. Resolutions were adopted on the economic and social demands of the workers and on the special problems of migrant workers. The Congress also decided to set up the Trade Union Internationals (TUIs) to organize activities in the various Industrial Trade Union branches.
Guiseppe Di Vittorio (Italy) was elected president and Louis Saillant (France) was re-elected General Secretary.
Despite of the 1949 split, the WFTU has retained its universal character. It has continued to bring together trade unions representing more than 200 million workers in all continents, of all races, diverse political opinions and religious beliefs, from countries with different social regimes and levels of economic development.