“It is time to press reset, not rewind. By moving forward through collective bargaining, we can reach a new normal in which people’s needs take precedence, corporate greed is tamed and in which everyone has a fair chance."

Oliver Roethig

Regional Secretary

Towards a new normal

Delegates from service sector unions across the continent are coming together for the 5th UNI Europa Conference at a crucial time. As the continent gets back on its feet, the stage is set for service unions to push forward through collective bargaining.

At the core of UNI Europa’s work is the joint push for collective bargaining. This means broadening it’s application by ensuring sectoral collective bargaining across Europe with real rights for unions to access workplaces and including all working people. It also means broadening its scope, with the inclusion of just transition, data rights and other cutting edge issues in agreements across the continent.

Together, we will set out our priorities for the next four years on how to jointly build workers’ power. At the core of that is organising. A major focus will be placed on establishing a joint approach to embedding entrenched, participative and coordinated union structures from the workplace to the international level with the aim of establishing, broadening and strengthening collective bargaining rights across the continent.

On the policy front, we will set out our objectives for deeping democracy, rendering society fairer, more inclusive and combatting inequalities. Coordinating our efforts to strengthening collective bargaining through EU laws and policies will be central to achieving this.

Multinational corporations are among the worst offenders in pushing down workers’ conditions. Countering their approach through deepening cross-border coordination has been the focus of trade union alliances. Together with European Works Councils, these provide settings to hold corporate greed to account and both will be in focus during the Conference.

Meanwhile, the world of work is in constant and rapid change, particularly in the services industry. Digitalisation and artificial intelligence are having profound impacts on how people experience work and are shaping the future of services. UNI Europa will lay out specific aims to keep workers ahead of the curve with the development of a high skilled, high quality workforce in a sustainable Europe.

Austerity and inequality are resulting in increased feelings of disempowered and disenfranchised in a changing world. The far right and other reactionary, anti-democratic forces thrive on such powerful emotional currents and exploit them to cater to their own agenda. Unions deepen democracy and delegates will outline key objectives for delivering fair, social and economic policies to deliver a more encompassing Europe with opportunities, jobs and welfare for all people.

In a world of heightened volatility, the working people who make up the backbone of our economies need to know they will be supported through times of crisis. Covid-19 highlighted how vulnerable our societies are and how swiftly business elites can move to push all risks and consequences onto working people. But workers and their unions will not stand by and pay the economic price in the wake of the economic crisis.

Together we will set the ambition in this crucial time. Let’s push forward through collective bargaining.

Push for a European partnership for Collective Bargaining

The aim is an EU that promotes collective bargaining and sanctions those that try to undermine it – whether governments or companies.

Push for EU Framework Legislation on Due Diligence

Companies must be obliged to ensure workers’ rights are respected throughout their suppy chain and wherever they operate.

Push for proper implementation of Public Procurement

Simply put: no public contract without a collective bargaining agreement!

Oliver Roethig

“We want an EU that throws out its neo-liberal agenda and becomes manifest pro-union and pro-worker. No to decentralising collective bargaining and yes to sectoral collective bargaining. Strong unions and strong collective bargaining are the backbone of democracy.”

UNI Europa - The European Services Workers Union

As the European trade union federation for 7 million service workers, UNI Europa speaks for the sectors that constitute the backbone of economic and social life in Europe. Headquartered in the heart of Brussels, UNI Europa represents 272 national trade unions in 50 countries, including: Commerce; Banking, Insurance and Central Banks; Gaming; Graphical and Packaging; Hair and Beauty; Information and Communication Technology Services; Media, Entertainment and Arts; Postal Services and Logistics; Private Care and Social Insurance; Industrial Cleaning and Private Security; Professional Sport and Leisure; Temporary Agency Workers and Professionals and Managers.

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