EPSU Executive Committee – last stretch towards Congress

20-21 March 2024 EPSU Executive Committee Brussels

(22 March 2024) Many affiliates were on the streets and in demonstrations recently including on 19 March. The Executive paid tribute to the workers and the unions in the actions. It expressed its support for the Ukrainian workers, now in the third year of the war started by Russia. It is exacting an extremely high human toll. As Europe is now developing its weapon industry and people like Council President Michel talk about creating a war economy, we underlined we should not forget our project of peace, social justice, and strong public services, democracy and human and trade union rights. A strong welfare state with tax justice is part of civil defence. We further addressed the suffering of the Palestinian people. PSI has started a fundraiser and affiliates are asked to contribute. Members of the Executive expressed their solidarity with the Finnish workers and their unions fighting the austerity policies and the attacks on trade union rights of the Finnish right-wing government.

Most of the agenda dealt with Congress. From the mundane procedural things - such as the report of the Standing Orders Committee - to the more political, such as the programme of action for 2025-2029 and the nominations for elected office.

The Executive endorsed:

  • The programme of action and the position of the Executive Committee on the various amendments of affiliates.
  • The amendments to the Constitution and its position on affiliates amendments. All are agreed and will now be voted in block.
  • The emergency resolution on the Palestine/Israel conflict. It will be updated in light of developments for the May Executive Committee.
  • Nominations for the Congress Board.
  • Agenda of Congress.
  • Process of nomination of the Vice-Presidents.

And finally, the nominations for the elected positions. The Executive Committee endorsed the nomination of Françoise Geng, CGT-Sante-Action Social, France for EPSU President. Françoise is currently our senior Vice-President. Mette Nord will retire. It endorsed the nomination of our current General Secretary for a new mandate as well as the nominations of the member auditors: Martine Ugolini, CGSP, Belgium and Carole Barbier, CFDT-Interco, France.

We discussed the financial prospects for the next years and agreed on the proposal of the Finance working group. It will now be recommended to the EPSU Congress for approval. The adaptation of the index grid to make it fairer was questioned. It was recognised that it entails big changes for some countries and will be phased in gradually.

EPSU work

The Executive considered the work in the sectors and networks as well as with the multinational companies to establish European Works Councils. This includes:

  • The success of putting staff shortages in health and care on policy agendas.
  • The discussion with the Commission over the legal implementation of the agreement on digitalisation in central government administrations.
  • A training tool on the insourcing of services in municipalities.
  • The Just Transition Agreement in the gas sector.
  • The need to address violence against women.

And much more. We adopted the 2023 Report of Activities, the last of 5 which will be presented to the Congress.

ETUC and EU matters                       

  • EPSU supports the demand for a rejection of the current proposal of reform of the economic governance rules. These will impose coordinated austerity as the Eurogroup ministers have said themselves. It will go at the expense of funding for and investment in public services and the green and digital transitions in a way that is equitable and just. It lacks an investment fund.
  • We discussed the preparations of the ETUC to engage in the Val Duchesse follow-up and the Pact for Social Dialogue. We need clear commitments from the employers willing to address concrete issues of concern to Europe’s workers. The sectoral social dialogue must be taken into account and we look forward to seeing concrete progress on the way agreements of the social partners are implemented in a binding manner.
  • An overview was given of a whole range of recent agreements on legislation (Due Diligence Directive, Platform Workers Directive, Violence Against Women Directive, Artificial Intelligence Act, European Health Data Space…. ), our work on the European election and Ukraine. New Commission initiatives include the review of the EWC Directive, the changes to the Quality Framework for Trainees, the new proposal for a Traineeships Directive and the Labour Shortages and Skills Action Plan.

New affiliates

The Executive agreed the affiliation of:

  • The Health Workers Union of Albania;
  • The Health Workers Union of KVPU, Ukraine
  • The French union FSU and its membership in local and other public administrations.

We considered the situation of the Serbian union in the army. Concerns were expressed over the organisation of its extraordinary Congress and the circumstances under which it took place. The leadership of the union is in jail, members of the executive did not participate in the Congress and neither did all of the branches. EPSU committed to continue to defend trade union rights in Serbia and elsewhere.

The Executive Committee took place on 20 and 21 March 2024 in Brussels. It was chaired by Mette Nord.

Photos album