EPSU has been continuing its work to tackle violence and harassment at work while strongly defending Randi Weingarten, leader of the AFT teacher’s union and PSI affiliate, against an outrageous attack by former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
At a major conference last week in Madrid, EPSU joined other European trade union federations and employer organisations in discussing further steps needed to address violence and harassment at work. EPSU wants to see greater efforts by the European Commission to get more countries to adopt ILO convention 190. Among EU member states, only Greece, Italy and Spain have ratified the convention, along with Albania and the UK in the rest of Europe. Implementing the convention would set a clear legislative marker against this behaviour.
Many workers face violence and harassment because of their race, gender or sexual orientation and EPSU strongly supports trade unionists like US teachers’ leader Randi Weingarten who has faced an astonishing attack from Mike Pompeo. In an interview on 21 November, the former CIA boss described Randi as the most dangerous person in the world. Most people would have thought of Russian president Vladimir Putin, waging his brutal war in Ukraine, with the repeated missile attacks aiming to disable the country’s energy industry as winter takes hold. Or they may think of the Chinese authoritarian leader Xi Jinping, the oppressor of the Uighurs, suppresser of independent unions and who is now clamping down on protests around the country.
But no, Pompeo takes aim at Weingarten, accusing her union’s members of teaching filth. Randi stated in an interview in the Guardian that she is targeted because she is Jewish, gay, a teacher and trade unionist. EPSU strongly supports her and the AFT in their campaigns on equality issues and in defence of the LGBTQI+ community. The union stands for diversity in public teaching, and for more funding for public services, anathema to people like Pompeo and the forces of the right.
Health and care workers demo – Brussels 9 December
EPSU will be reinforcing its call for increased spending on public health services with a demonstration in Brussels on 9 December. Many countries are sending delegations. Please let us know if you can join. We look forward to a successful action.