“We are trade unionists, we are anti-fascists”

04.06.23

#ETUC50

Democracy

“We are trade unionists, we are anti-fascists”

When workers build collective power, it is about uniting in difference, in our diversity. Upholding and strengthening democracy at the workplace and beyond is a priority for the trade union movement.

Pilar Rato Rodriguez, 1st Vice-President of UNI Europa, spoke at the congress of the ETUC on 25 May 2023. She spoke in the session entitled “together for our European future”.

“We are trade unionists, we are anti-fascists”

Pilar Rato Rodriguez, 1st Vice-President of UNI Europa, spoke at the congress of the ETUC on 25 May 2023. She spoke in the session entitled “together for our European future”.

Posted by UNI Europa on Sunday, June 4, 2023

Here is an auto-translated transcription of Pilar’s intervention at #ETUC50:
Good morning colleagues,
 
We are truly at a time when nothing can be taken for granted. Democracy, trade union rights, collective bargaining or the right to strike and other freedoms won by the labour movement are in danger. We already know that nothing is hereditary and that we have to continue to defend them actively. Trade unions and the extreme right are poles apart.
 
We are trade unionists, we are anti-fascists and there is no other definition that fits better what we are. Not only because of our proud past history of struggle against fascism, but also because of the values we represent today. Solidarity, but internationalist solidarity. We are not limited by flags or borders in the struggle for the rights of working people and workers.
 
Social justice and a decent and dignified life for all. We have a duty to continue to strengthen democratic culture and an inclusive society to counter, through the history of the labour movement and its values, the narrative of the extreme right that only fuels tension and fear. Defend unity over division.
 
We are at a decisive moment. We have already seen the recent election results in several countries with a victory in some of them for the extreme right and in another, the rise of the extreme right. That is why we need the involvement of trade union organisations, remembering that democracy is not just about putting a ballot paper in a ballot box once every four years.
 
We are aware of the frustration, powerlessness or apathy that society is experiencing. There is a real feeling that everyone is equal. This is a lie. They are not all the same and that is why we must reinforce our discourse by calling on people to vote for those who defend our values. Our values that are also political values. That is why encouraging the debate within the trade union organisations, as we have done in Union Europe, creating alliances with political parties or working groups, as the Beams has created, are useful and necessary tools for the fight, such as against the extreme right.
 
The full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, a reinforcement of the competences of the European Union in the field of social policies and legislation to promote these policies, strengthen social dialogue and collective bargaining. The European Pillar cannot be reduced to a letter of good intentions. It is essential to incorporate a social progress protocol in the European Union treaties that reinforces the autonomy of the social partners, that guarantees economic freedoms, that ensures that economic freedoms and competition rules do not take precedence over fundamental rights and social progress, and that guarantees the rights of working men and women.
 
Comrades. In these times of uncertainty, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the ETUC. Proud to be trade unionists. Proud to be feminists. Of defending the LGBT movement, but above all, of being anti-fascists.

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