UNI Europa Finance Conference opens in Antalya

Wednesday 21 October 2015

The UNI Europa Finance Conference has opened in Antalya with UNI affiliates from across the continent gathering to debate issues such as the digitalisation of the financial sector, a rapidly changing Europe and strategies for growing unions.

UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig said, “Europe, like the financial sector, is changing – for workers and trade unions, the region is becoming increasingly hostile. We cannot stand by and watch – we must work to change Europe together!”

Michael Budolfsen from Finansforbundet Denmark who was elected as the new President of UNI Europa Finance, paid tribute to Edgardo Ioza, saying “Edgardo has been an outstanding President, steering UNI Finance through the financial crash with ambition, resilience and new ideas.” He also thanked Turkish affiliates Basisen for their incredible work as hosts of the conference.

Geektime journalist Simona Weinglass implored trade unions to work to bring their message of social justice, decent work and equality to tech and start-up companies, arguing “I don’t believe that digitalisation and automation are inherently bad for workers. Digital can be harnessed to work for employees in new sectors and new forms of jobs.”

Affiliates debated the impact of digitalisation on employment practices on both the local and global markets. Affiliates from France reported that although bank branches all over the country are likely to close down, profits continue to soar, with digital automation cited as the reason for restructuring and downsizing.

General Secretary of Federation des Employés des Cadres Forces Ouvrieres (FEC-FO) Sebastien Busiris asked, “Is digitalization a tool for companies or for workers? Digitalization cannot be used merely to make workers redundant, we must use it to improve the lives of working people.”

Head of UNI Finance Marcio Monzane also underlined the need for more diversity in UNI Finance, saying, “We need to attract more young people to join unions, and to fulfill our promises to have 40 percent women representatives!”

Oliver Roethig invited delegates to participate in UNI Europa’s Regional Conference in Rome next March. The theme of the conference will be “Changing Europe Together”. Solidarity, cohesiveness and collaboration between trade unions is needed, he said, in order to put the agenda of the global labour movement on the table in a new, social Europe.

Affiliates also presented some of the organizing successes and challenges in Central and Eastern Europe and commemorated the victims of the Ankara bombings last week.

UNI Finance is the global union for all finance and insurance workers, representing 3 million employees in 237 trade unions worldwide.

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