Trade unions and the far right are opposites. Trade unions believe in solidarity: we seek better lives, social justice and opportunity, for all working people. We stand for unity over division.

Right-wing populist movements and parties are on the rise almost everywhere in Europe, and workers, including trade unionists, are being seduced by cheap promises to secure jobs for (local) workers.

Voters in Spain go to the ballot box on 23 July after an early election was called in May. Put simply, the vote is a choice between a left-wing and a right-wing coalition and will determine whether Spain succumbs to the far-right drift experienced by many other European countries.

The Spanish trade unions UGT and CCOO are now mobilising voters in Spain to resist the lure of right-wing forces that could halt the country's democratic, social and economic progress under the current government and all the reforms that the unions have been able to negotiate and implement.

They are also calling on the international trade union community to support their struggle and publicly express support for a progressive government option in Spain by signing a manifesto they have published.

IndustriAll Europe has signed the Spanish unions’ manifesto and expressed its support for the mobilisation efforts of our colleagues. We call on our members to show their solidarity with Spanish trade unionists.

Why we must resist

  • The nationalist worldview of the radical right (underpinned by racism) clashes with the democratic and pluralist core values of the trade union movement. It divides people – including at the workplace.
  • Economic policies that enrich the few, undermine our welfare states, and increase income and wealth inequalities are only designed to impoverish working people and sow discord.
  • Nationalist and anti-EU sentiments risk pitting workers against workers in Europe.
  • Suppressing media and academic freedom risks spreading misinformation and preventing public discourse based on facts.
  • Climate change denialism and denouncing global climate action risks undermining the necessary decarbonisation of industry and Just Transition efforts – making the transition more brutal when it inevitably comes.
  • Restriction of the rule of law risks arbitrary suppression of acquired workers and trade union rights. Attacks on collective bargaining and the right to strike are already on the rise in countries such as the UK, Hungary and Finland.
  • Contempt for multiculturalism and gender rights risks undermining trade union action for more inclusive workplaces and to fight discrimination in the workplace and in society at large.

This list is not exhaustive.

Trade unions across Europe are fighting extreme ideology and we must step up the fight. With the ETUC roadmap ‘Building the Trade Union response to the rise of far-right’, trade unions have committed themselves to building capacity to fight the far-right and to resist all their attempts to divide working people.

Because, as the roadmap states, trade unions and the far-right are opposites. Trade unions, above all else, believe in solidarity: we seek better lives, social justice and opportunity, for all working people. We stand for unity over division.

Manifesto for a progressive government in Spain: EN