Gloria Mills, ETUC and EPSU Women’s Committee President speaking at ETUC Mid-Term Conference, 29-31 May, Roma
(8 June 2017) Europe’s union leaders came together to discuss the priorities for our trade union struggle for the next 2-3 years at the end of May in Rome. 60years after the signing of the EU Treaty in Rome, the focus is on the benefits European integration is bringing for working men and women and our for communities. Unions leaders are convinced that the European project is worthwhile. It does need to radically change course after years of focus on liberalization and the Single Market at the expense of Social Europe. Many union leaders stated that Europe will be Social or there will not be an EU. ETUC has made several contributions to the debate on the future of the EU. The pillar of social rights is an outcome of these pressures. During the ETUC mid-term conference union leaders of national confederations and European Trade Union Federations made clear that more concrete actions to improve living and working conditions are expected. We want to see more proposals to strengthen working people’s rights from the Commission, Member States and European parliament. This was a message passed to EU Commissioner for Social Affairs who addressed the trade unionists.
The Mid-term conference S.O.S. Europe for Working People: the future we want to build for European workers and their families discussed the ETUC proposals for a new economic policy based on investment for quality job creation and reforming European economic governance, restoring collective bargaining rights, the need for a pay rise and our input into the Pillar of Social Rights. Other issues debated included the future of work and the future of the European trade union movement, sustainable development and just transition, gender equality, fair migration and mobility. The EPSU delegation raised the importance of ending austerity, increased public investment in public infrastructure, the issue of credibility of Commission proposals if social dialogue agreements are not transposed. ETUC President action day Rudy de Leeuw expressed the importance of a pay rise for public service workers after years of austerity. He encouraged confederations to highlight and provide support for the action day 23 June 2017.
The Conference considered a number of amendments to the Constitution. An important one supported by the ETUC Women’s Committee and EPSU was to ensure that all Congress delegations respect gender parity at the ETUC Congress in 2019. Sanctions will apply if not. It was introduced to the Conference by Gloria Mills, the President of the ETUC and of the EPSU Women’s Committee. It won overwhelming support. Another amendment supported gender parity in the ETUC leadership. A rebalancing of voting rights in the ETUC Executive was accepted giving national confederations and European Trade Union Federations the same entitlements as at Congress. This will go forward to Congress to be included in the statutes. A proposal to provide voting rights to FERPA, the Federation for retired workers gained a majority but not the required two-thirds and will be further considered.
The ETUC Mid-term conference took place 29-31 May 2017, Roma. The EPSU delegation were the EPSU President Isolde, vice-president Francoise, Executive Committee member Ivana Břeňková and the EPSU General and Deputy General Secretaries.
For the ETUC Press release – Trade unions' best opportunity for progressive change in 10 years
For the final declaration
For the programme of the Mid-Term Conference