Together with the ETUC and international trade union movement, industriAll European Trade Union strongly condemns Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which breaches international law. We call on Russia to respect Ukrainian territorial integrity and sovereignty, demand the immediate cessation of military operations, insist that Russian troops leave the country, and call for dialogue and talks for peace.
IndustriAll Europe calls on the EU institutions to do their utmost to achieve a cease-fire and to build diplomatic action to initiate a peace process.
We stand in full solidarity with the people of Ukraine, our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement and working people caught up in the war. We condemn the repression faced by those in Russia and Belarus bravely speaking out and protesting for peace.
The scale of solidarity that our societies have shown to the Ukrainian people is both unprecedented and moving. Trade unions have mobilised their own resources in concrete ways – financially and politically. Refugees are being housed in union properties and members’ homes. Unions are actively engaged in the broader humanitarian efforts across the continent and donating to several solidarity funds. This demonstrates the best of humanity. We hope that this generosity marks a wider shift in asylum policies.
Standing with the ETUC, industriAll Europe calls on national governments to welcome all refugees and people fleeing from Ukraine and other countries, including Russia and Belarus, regardless of their nationality and migration status. They must be granted full rights of mobility within the EU, without requiring biometric passports. Adequate measures for relocation, reception and integration must be put in place in all EU countries, with all member states and governments playing a fair role in welcoming those fleeing.
The Temporary Protection Directive, activated in March 2022, should be fully implemented across the EU. The full set of rights included in the Directive should be guaranteed. These include access to the labour market, housing, health care, education and welfare support for Ukrainian nationals, their family members, stateless persons and third-country nationals and family members, who benefited from international protection or equivalent protection in Ukraine. Member States should extend the temporary protection to third-country nationals legally residing in Ukraine who are unable to return safely to their country or region of origin.
We call on European states welcoming refugees to be particularly mindful of female and child refugees because of their vulnerability to sexual violence and exploitation. All governments have a duty to provide them with protection and to prevent any further harm.
Member States must manage the successful integration of migrants into the labour market, which also facilitates their integration into society. Employers, trade unions and local entities should work closely with the public authorities to help integration and avoid labour exploitation.
The ramifications of the war in Ukraine already go beyond the terrible humanitarian crisis we are witnessing. Both the war and the sanctions are impacting energy security, supply chains and trade as well as increasing the cost of living. IndustriAll Europe therefore calls on the EU to mitigate the negative repercussions on citizens, workers and the most impacted sectors.
IndustriAll Europe is closely monitoring the impact on our industries and members. Many companies are halting production and returning to furlough measures for workers at affected sites. It is therefore urgent that the EU and national governments reactivate temporary unemployment instruments, notably the SURE mechanism, to support jobs.
Energy security is a pressing issue for our industries and all working people in Europe. The existing energy price crisis has been intensified by Russia’s actions and the war in Ukraine. All available means must be used to secure affordable energy for everyone in the coming months. Energy is fundamental for prosperity and a common good. Europe cannot replace fuels and electricity imported from Russia overnight. Energy efficiency, reinforced efforts for supply diversification, the acceleration of renewable energy deployment, the use of existing low-carbon power generation units, mandatory storage obligations, as well as the use of available domestic energy resources, must be among the priorities of the EU to prepare Europe ahead of next winter. For this to happen, the necessary framework conditions providing investors with certainty and predictability - e.g. swiftly accelerating permitting procedures and swiftly agreeing on the criteria to certify low-carbon and renewable hydrogen and gas – are urgently needed. The EU must learn the lessons from the energy crisis and avoid slipping from one form of dependency (Russian natural gas) to another (hydrogen imports from another set of countries). In this regard, the REPower Europe initiative is important.
This crisis only increases our resolve to achieve clean energy sovereignty in a socially just manner. We need to deliver on the Green Deal agenda to decarbonise our economies and achieve energy self-sufficiency rapidly. Investment in Europe’s energy infrastructure and production systems must continue and increase as a matter of urgency. A holistic European economic strategy is necessary. Social justice and a more equal society are the foundations of democracy and peace. The EU must implement the Action Plan of the European Pillar of Social Rights, improving the coverage of collective bargaining in Europe. The war in Ukraine cannot be used as an excuse to roll-back efforts to achieve a Just Transition and secure decent jobs in Europe.
Trade unions are part of the global peace movement. We have a role to play in building peace, starting by uniting the global trade union movement. It is only with dialogue and diplomacy that peace can flourish. We stand ready to work with the EU, governments and within our labour movement and society.
Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication)