Climate change protests, and Elect NO HATE…

Wednesday, 20 March, 2019

Last Friday an EPSU group joined the climate demonstration in Brussels on the 15 March global day of action. We walked with school and college students and others, along with a large union block under the slogan “Workers for Climate”. Many other actions took place across the world and the EPSU Executive Committee on 12 March declared its support. Just after the Executive Committee we came together as part of a broad alliance to seek practical solutions to the market-based approaches to climate change and assert that forms of public and community ownership of our energy system are possible.

Unfortunately, on Friday the news came of the horrible terrorist attack against the Muslim community in Christchurch, New Zealand. We sent a message of condolences and sympathy and we condemn such acts of brutal violence. The increasing instances of islamophobia and anti-Semitic attacks show the negative impact the far-right is having on our society. The NZPSA public services union replied: “Standing together now with expressions of love and kindness against hate is a strong act we can all do now.” Sadly, the Dutch people saw a brutal attack that killed 3 in Utrecht.  We sent a letter expressing our sympathies to the Dutch unions.

Many unions will be active in the “Stand up against racism and fascism” actions on 21 March, the UN International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. Unions and others are also calling for campaigning around the European elections to be “free from hate speech and divisive rhetoric, which legitimise hateful actions and pose a threat to human rights.” We ask MEP candidates, politicians, the media and those in the public eye “not only to avoid engaging in, or amplifying, rhetoric that may incite discrimination, prejudice or hatred on any grounds, but also to actively counter it.” #ElectNoHate

The European elections on 23-26 May were one of the issues addressed in the EPSU Executive Committee which devoted most of its discussion on the EPSU Congress. Preparations are in full swing. It noted the recent result on the whistleblower protection directive, the participation of many unions in activities marking International Women’s Day and adopted the report of activities for 2018. We can look back at a successful year of EPSU actions as we continue in 2019 and prepare for the coming years. Acting together, as unions and with others sharing similar views, we can achieve so much and bring about the changes that we urgently need.