It was the start of a fascinating process that today, after ten years, we can be satisfied with.
Today, 16 May 2022, industriAll European Trade Union is ten years old. On 16 May 2012, our organisation was born of the merger between the European Trade Union Federation for Textiles, Clothing and Leather (ETUF-TCL), the European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) and the European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF). The three federations had dissolved themselves the day before the founding Congress.
The creation of industriAll Europe meant that from that day on, workers in most industrial sectors would be represented by a single European trade union federation at the European level. It was the start of a fascinating process that today, after ten years, we can be satisfied with.
A trade union merger is never an easy process. We had to build one organisation out of three existing cultures. Subsequently, the first years were not always easy. But today, we can look back at the past ten years with a sense of pride.
We have achieved a lot together and it is impossible to list all our accomplishments. Most importantly, we have succeeded in being recognised as the representative voice of the industrial worker in Europe. IndustriAll Europe is known, recognised and respected for its expertise and input. This appreciation is growing.
We have taken many positions together. We have jointly organised action days, at company or sector level. We have produced our manifesto on the future of industry. We have campaigned together to strengthen the right to collective bargaining and for more democracy at work. Together, we also launched a new priority at European level: Building Trade Union Power.
But there is still a lot of work ahead of us. We will have to fight for a Just Transition. The digital and green transition is a generational challenge and also an opportunity for reindustrialisation. But, if poorly managed, it can also threaten many jobs in our industries. Shaping the twin transition is now our focus and our common struggle. The change must become an opportunity for every worker and every region in Europe. Europe must become more equal, not more unequal.
We cannot, however, ignore the fact that we are celebrating our anniversary at a time when a terrible war is waging in Europe. As a trade union, we are part of the peace movement, and we will unwaveringly work for dialogue and the ending of this war. War has no winners, but peace has no losers.
At our forthcoming Executive Committee in Stockholm on 24 and 25 May 2022, we will be marking this tenth anniversary, celebrating our joint achievements and confronting new challenges. We look forward to meeting you there.
In the meantime, we wish to thank you all for your support for our organisation. A European trade union is only as strong as the commitment and contribution of its members.
On behalf of the entire industriAll Europe team, we send you our solidarity and greetings.
Isabelle Barthès, Deputy General Secretary