“It’s all about building workers collective power”



“It’s all about building workers collective power”

Barbara Teiber addressed the Congress of the ETUC on 24 May 2023. She is Vice-President of UNI Europa and General Secretary of Gewerkschaft GPA.

It is all about building workers collective power

It is all about building workers collective power, highlighted Barbara Teiber at #ETUC50. Indeed, building union power in the largest sector of employment – the services sector – will be 🗝️ Only by keeping this workforce in focus can we mainstream dignity at work, quality training and a social Europe. Barbara Teiber addressed the Congress of the ETUC on 24 May 2023. She is Vice-President of UNI Europa and General Secretary of Gewerkschaft GPA.

Posted by UNI Europa on Tuesday, May 30, 2023


Below is an auto-translated English transcript of her intervention:

Dear colleagues, even in times of change, upheaval and crisis, it is still important to pause for a moment and look back at what we have achieved.

The strength of our members, our trade union members gives us the power to improve the working and living conditions for hundreds of thousands of workers across Europe and also to create transformation. As a trade union movement, we stand up every day against the greed of those who already have endless power, money and influence.

And that is something we can also be proud of as a trade union movement. We are the good guys and we are the justice movement. And as the justice movement, we also know what has to change in order to at least be able to further develop wages and working conditions, in order to be able to develop labour rights in Europe, in order to achieve the transformation. And it has already been mentioned by some In many sectors, in many areas, there is currently a labour shortage and that must make us self-confident.

We must use this time to make the world of work fairer in the interest of the many. It has never been such a good time to fight for higher wages, shorter working hours and more respect for all women workers across Europe. Raising legal minimum wages is important. It is better than nothing. But what we finally need is a policy in all member states, also demanded by the European Union, that finally enables us to enforce collective agreements across the board and a European labour market strategy that prevents any wage dumping competition.

And if it has been mentioned that we are of course against austerity packages, against savings, against a budget policy against the many, then we must also say everywhere we appear that more money is needed and that it must be paid by those who have an infinite amount of money, the super-rich. We must call everyone by name. The rich are getting richer and richer and they must pay for a good welfare state, for a social Europe. We have to make the right people pay. The super-rich who are getting richer and richer. And by the way, that would also be the best and fairest CO2 tax.

Dear colleagues, as trade unions we must not limit ourselves to shaping the world of work. As trade unionists we have always been the defenders of democracy and we have opposed and fought against dictatorship, fascism and totalitarian tendencies. And therefore let us be really mindful that in times of brutal war on our continent, we really must turn against the nationalists and populists who always blame the EU for everything.

Are we fighting for a social Europe, in which the basic principle that corporate freedoms always take precedence over social rights must finally come to an end?

Together we stand strong. Solidarity for ever. Thank you very much.

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