ETUC Congress: UNI Europa calls for placing collective bargaining at the centre for the next four years’ mandate.  

Thursday 23 May 2019

At the ETUC’s 14th Congress in Vienna this week, UNI Europa highlighted that collective bargaining is fundamental for a fair, social and democratic Europe, a Europe for everyone.

UNI Europa’s key priority is to reinforce our affiliates’ collective bargaining power. All workers are entitled to be covered by sectoral collective agreements. What we want is to pool the strengths of our unions. We want to enable each affiliate to deal successfully with outside factors that impact collective bargaining.

For this, we need a proper framework at EU level. In his intervention, UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig called upon the ETUC and all unions to join forces to reverse the EU’s negative approach to collective bargaining and said: “We want an EU that throws out its neo-liberal agenda and becomes manifest pro-union and pro-worker. No to decentralising collective bargaining and yes to sectoral collective bargaining. Strong unions and strong collective bargaining are the backbone of democracy.

Specifically, the ETUC should focus on three priorities over the next 4 years:

  • Push for a European partnership for collective bargaining. The aim is an EU that promotes collective bargaining and sanctions those that try to undermine collective bargaining – whether governments or companies.
  • Push for EU framework legislation on due diligence. Companies must be obliged that workers’ rights are respected throughout their value chain and in wherever they operate. It allows us to push for collective bargaining and the right to organise.
  • Push for proper implementation of public procurement. Simply: No public contract without collective agreement!

In light of the progress unions bring today, Roethig concluded: “The future of trade unions is not bleak; in particular, if we pursue a strategy that combines organising with aiming at sectoral collective agreements. Both, organising and collective bargaining are two sides of the same medal – union power. Strong unions and strong collective bargaining are the backbone of democracy.

UNI Europa looks forward to continuing our good collaboration with the ETUC’s newly elected presidential and secretarial team.

Read Oliver Roethig’s full speech on the importance of national and sectoral collective bargaining:

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