10 June, 2016The second industriAll European Trade Union Congress took place on 7-9 June in Madrid, bringing together European unions in the manufacturing, mining, chemical and textile sectors to confront the challenges facing workers on the continent.
The congress took place in the context of economic and political crisis in Europe. The wake of the sovereign debt crisis has seen the collapse of political consensus, increased austerity and the dominance of a financial elite at the expense of society and working people. Millions of industrial jobs have been lost, wage levels are suppressed, there is a tremendous growth in precarious employment, and trade union rights are under attack across the continent.
Congress took stock of the crisis and developed a plan to address it, electing a new leadership team for the period of 2016-2020. The newly elected leaders, Luc Triangle, Syvain Lefebre, Benoît Gerits, Luis Ángel Colunga and re-elected president, Michael Vassiliadis made a strong political intervention on the need for a social Europe with strong unions as a counter to corporate dominance.
The failure of Europe’s political elite to confront the crisis is leading to social breakdown, growing inequality both within and between member states, and a growth of right wing extremism. Trade deals like TTIP and CETA prioritize corporations at the expense of society.
Europe needs a progressive model based on economic and social solidarity, with investment in quality manufacturing jobs. The challenges facing Europe are unequally shared, with working people across the continent bearing the burden of austerity, and countries in the south bearing the brunt of both the debt crisis and the influx of refugees. A humane Europe should share these challenges.
Luc Triangle, the new general secretary of industriAll Europe, stated that “effective trade union coordination will be at the heart of industriAll Europe’s core activities during the next four years, with the aim of strengthening trade union power and the organization’s European identity”.
industriAll Europe’s will put the interests of its members first. The organization’s goals for the next term will focus on four key goals:
- Creating quality, secure and well paid jobs in European industries;
- Promoting collective bargaining systems with extensive coverage in order to achieve good working conditions all across Europe;
- Developing effective counter power to multinational companies;
- Strengthening trade unions at European and national level through targeted organizing
“industriAll Europe and IndustriALL Global Union will be working together closely as organizing and building union power is also on the agenda in Europe. However more woman leaders are needed on the top!” said Jyrki Raina, IndustriALL Global Union general secretary.