Trade unionists across the world have been participating in the demonstrations and actions which have been taking place following the killing of George Floyd in the US at the end of May. We protested against the persistent institutional racism and discrimination that was so blatantly present in the way he was treated by the police. US unions have been vocal with many having a long history of being part of the civil rights movement and supporting #BlackLivesMatter. And we highlighted how racism and discrimination are still present in all our countries, not just the US.
I joined a demonstration in Antwerp which showed how many young people engage with this battle, are very active with friends on social media and have been encouraging people to sign petitions to seek justice for those affected by police violence. These young people understand the links between this fight and the struggles for system change to deal with global warming and climate change, for gender equality, for respect for the LGTB+ community and against precarious employment. This is really encouraging as it unites a broad front against the parties of the extreme right and the corporate elites that even in this time of pandemic and rising unemployment seek to benefit from the misery of many.
EPSU Executive Committee
Earlier this week ETUC general secretary Luca Visentini addressed EPSU’s online Executive Committee meeting setting out what the ETUC is doing in response to the pandemic. The Committee also discussed a paper on EPSU’s priorities over the next months and several unions reported on how the pandemic has impacted public service workers and how governments and employers have failed workers. The document will be circulated for a further round of consultation to build broad support for our demands for change and the issues that we want addressed by governments, employers and European institutions. Detailed reports of the work in the sectors are also available
The Executive adopted the 2019 activities and finance reports and welcomed three new affiliates: the Bulgarian union of chemical workers for the gas sector, the Moldovan energy workers’ union and the Finnish union Unio representing workers in social insurance. Other issues addressed were the work with the PSI, the second phase consultation on fair minimum wages and the relationship with EUROMIL, the European industry federation representing workers in the military.
EPSU Congress 2024 in Romania
Last but not least, the Executive welcomed the invitation of our Romanian affiliates to organise EPSU’s 11th Congress in 2024 in Romania. This is an exciting prospect and I thank them for their generous invitation. After our Dublin Congress in the West of Europe, just over a year ago, it will bring us to Central and Eastern Europe.
Public Service Day 23 June 2020
We agreed to use this day to celebrate the work of public services workers, to highlight unions’ demands for fundamental change and build our resistance any new austerity policies advocated by employers or governments. This is a joint battle for change and for the years to come. Together we can make the difference.