On 1 May, International Workers Day, the global trade union movement celebrates its achievements. It is a day of political protest, of manifestations and of festivities.

For industriAll Europe and its affiliates, May Day 2022 will be marked by the horror and uncertainties of the war in Ukraine. We are only just beginning to understand the enormous human, social and economic costs resulting from the brutal aggression of Ukraine by the Russian Federation. We stand in solidarity with the people of Ukraine, our brothers and sisters in the trade union movement and all working people caught up in the war. We call for dialogue and peace.

May Day 2022 will also be marked by a cost-of-living crisis that is spreading fast across Europe. Surging inflation fuelled by high energy and consumer prices is eroding workers’ purchasing power at a time that was supposed to be their recovery after the Covid-19 crisis.

This new context only increases our commitment to deal with the existential challenge of our lifetime: tackling the climate crisis AND keeping high quality industrial jobs in Europe.

The transition is already happening, and, in the light of the ongoing pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the pre-existing energy price crisis, its pace has been accelerating. Our members are facing a perfect storm of changes to the world of work and there is much need to exchange and coordinate strategies to manage the transition in a socially responsible way. It is vital that people understand the scale of change needed - this is an unparalleled challenge to meet, in volatile circumstances.

The war in Ukraine increases our resolve to achieve clean energy sovereignty in a socially just manner. The war must not be used as an excuse to roll-back efforts to achieve a Just Transition and secure decent jobs in Europe.

For trade unions, Just Transition means transforming the economy in a fair and inclusive manner to ensure the maintenance and creation of good quality jobs. There is no one-size-fits-all approach in how to address the transition to net-zero. But the participation of workers and their trade unions in the anticipation and social management of industrial change is a prerequisite: ‘Nothing about us without us’.

At industriAll Europe, we have consistently raised our voices to demand a comprehensive Just Transition framework that provides guarantees for adequate resources, is based on effective policy planning, promoting and strengthening workers’ rights, and involves trade unions through intense social dialogue. The urgency of creating this framework has only been increased as a result of the volatile context in which we find ourselves. Therefore, we call for:

  1. An industrial policy fit for ambitious climate goals and good quality jobs
  2. Funding the transition today to avoid the cost of inaction tomorrow
  3. Stronger collective bargaining and social dialogue as the foundation of a Just Transition
  4. Anticipating and shaping the change: Just Transition demands a toolbox of workers’ rights and companies’ duties
  5. Tackling new skills needs and a right to quality training and life-long learning for every worker to support the Just Transition

On 18 May we will launch our Just Transition Manifesto calling on politicians and employers to put the rhetoric about Just Transition into action!