Today, Wednesday 29 May 2013, the ETF 2013 Congress was opened by ETF President Lars Lindgren who addressed more than 400 participants from over 30 European countries, gathered in the Estrel hotel in Berlin, Germany, to discuss the future ETF work priorities. The theme of the fourth ordinary Congress is “From Global Crisis to Global Justice – European Transport Workers Fighting Back!” In the coming three days, the ETF’s activities of the past four years will be presented and assessed and the work programme for the next four years will be determined.
The Congress meets every four years and is the most important governing body of the ETF in which the ETF affiliates decide on the future ETF Work Priorities and identify ETF’s future strategy to fight for a more social Europe. Congress also elects the President, the General Secretary and the Executive Committee.
5 main work priorities
The five main topics under discussion in the following days are transport policy and sustainable transport, labour and trade union rights, organising globally, trade union capacity building and cross-border representation and coordination. By means of round table discussions, the ETF work priorities and future strategies will be thoroughly debated with the delegates to the Congress and external guests with expertise on the topic. Amongst others, representatives from different European Trade Union Federations, European institutions and research institutes will take part in the round tables. The ETF delegates will then vote on and adopt the ETF work programme on Friday, 31 May 2013.
Importance of women and young transport workers
Yesterday, the day before the start of congress, the ETF Women’s Conference took place to assess the ETF Women’s Committee’s past mandate and discuss the future ETF action plan on gender equality. At the end of the Conference, the new ETF Women’s Committee was elected . In the afternoon of the first day of Congress, a debate on young transport workers will take place to address the importance for trade unions and European and national policy makers to invest in young workers in a Europe where a generation of hopelessness is being created. Thereby, the ETF demonstrates its commitment to pay particular attention to female and young transport workers.
Elections of key ETF positions and governing body
On the last day of Congress, the ETF President, General Secretary and Lay Auditors will be elected as well as the Executive Committee members as proposed by the sub-regional electoral groups.
Current ETF General Secretary and also candidate for a next mandate, Eduardo Chagas, commented earlier: “Trade union strength is more important than ever as the war on labour continues to intensify. By giving priority, amongst others, to capacity building of its affiliates, the ETF aims to significantly contribute to strengthening its impact on European level and ensure their voice is respected and taken into account by the European institutions and all ETF’s counterparts.”