As part of the EU co-funded project ‘Building trade union capacities for better social dialogue, collective bargaining and sustainable industrial recovery in Central and Eastern Europe’, industriAll Europe held a workshop in Hungary on 14-15 June 2023. The workshop brought together local trade union representatives from the textile and from extractive industries in Hungary and their regional representatives, all members of the ‘Trade Union of Mining, Energy and Industry workers’ (BDSZ).

During the workshop, workplace-level union representatives developed organising plans for their respective companies and regions. The next step is for the participants to implement their plans, starting with identifying and training of natural workplace leaders who can support the trade union representatives in their activities. By involving more workplace activists, unions can identify the issues and concerns that workers are experiencing in their daily lives and that would motivate them to participate in collective action. This prepares the ground and framework for organising campaigns.

Transnational exchanges of organising experience are part of industriAll Europe’s approach to building trade union power. That is why industriAll affiliate OZ KOVO from Slovakia sent one of its organising experts to the workshop in Hungary. On the first day of the workshop, the Turkish textile workers’ union Öz Iplik-Is and FESETE from Portugal joined for an exchange on building local union networks to strengthen trade union power.

Key themes of the workshop:

  • How to create a detailed mapping of the workplace (where do we have members, how many workers in which workplace, what are the issues, who are the opinion leaders/key persons/natural leaders).
  • Understand the role of natural leaders/key persons in strengthening the union. Understand that it is not the responsibility of the local trade union leaders to solve all workers’ problems, but to involve them in solving issues together and to communicate successes.
These may be small steps, but this is what organising is all about. The next (online) exchange will take place in October to discuss the progress made.