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“Put Industry Back to Work”, demand European Trade Unions

3 April, 2014Just ahead of the upcoming European Parliament elections, European trade unions accepted a manifesto demanding to “Put Industry Back to Work” at an Extraordinary Executive Committee meeting of IndustriAll European Trade Union on April 2 in Madrid.

The selection of the venue was a clear solidarity message to the union movement in Spain against the government’s austerity policies of the last couple of years.

The crisis in Europe has aggressively destroyed the social and economic conditions of working people resulting in the loss of millions of manufacturing jobs, particularly among the youth. As a response to this worrying trend, European trade unions seek a joint industrial policy approach to be able to overcome all challenges throughout the continent by building up genuine union solidarity.

The Madrid meeting entitled “The future of industrial employment in Europe’ adopted a manifesto with eleven major policy lines: 1) Restart the economy 2) Make economic governance socially and democratically responsible 3) Foster the social dimension of industrial policy 4) Put the finance sector back in its place 5) Create new qualitative jobs 6) Support Innovation 7) Reinvent the traditional industrial sectors 8) Maximize the social and economic benefits of ICT 9) Address the demand side of industrial policy 10) Strive for sustainable, affordable and secure energy 11) Make global trade work for workers and get the institutional framework right.

The Manifesto of IndustriAll European Trade Union sets out trade union demands towards national parliaments, the European Parliament and the European Commission for the legislative term of 2014 - 2019. It further demands maintaining and developing a strong manufacturing base in Europe as a necessary condition for economic growth, creating quality jobs, supporting the transition to an environmentally sustainable industry and finding solutions to the grand societal challenges that European economies are confronted with.

The meeting welcomed important political figures, including Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament and some other European and national parliamentarians. An intensive political debate was made over the role the European Union can play in formulating an industrial policy strategy applicable in all its Member States and how more jobs can be created and safeguarded in an age of rapid technological change and increased global competition. The participants also discussed how the EU’s ‘Industrial Renaissance’ can be ensured.

A special attention was given to the current economic situation and outlook for the Southwest Region of Europe and the role of trade Unions. European Trade unions exchanged their ideas on how they can achieve the best balance between the social dimension and need for competitiveness with employee involvement.

Michael Vasiliadis, President of IndustriAll European Trade Union and IG BCE of Germany, said: “We want to give a clear signal with the manifesto that includes our legitimate demands for economic and social matters in Europe”. Ulrich Eckelmann, General Secretary, mentioned that “IndustriAll Europe discusses ways to properly address the crisis, and change a wrong economic policy."

“IndustriALL Global and European Trade Unions are the strong voices of workers for keeping industry and manufacturing jobs at the center of national economies,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary of IndustriALL Global Union who attended the meeting in Madrid. “We are now much stronger as our worldwide Sustainable Industrial Policy campaign and the adopted European manifesto of Put Industry Back to Work perfectly complement each other”.