Executive Committee of ETF met in Brussels on June 4/5

19 Jun 2024

ETF Executive Committee Meets in Brussels 

On June 4th and 5th, 2024, Brussels hosted the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) Executive Committee meeting. Trade unionists from across Europe gathered to discuss and shape the future of European transport, focusing on workers’ interests. ETF President Frank Moreels opened the meeting by underlining the need to stop the far-right, who have always worked against the interests of workers. 

We were joined by several external guest during the course of the two days. The first day saw a discussion with Magda Kopczynska, the Director-General of DG MOVE at the EU Commission, on key topics of interest for the transport sector, such as liberalisation, working conditions, worker shortages, and the Talent Pool proposal. The debate also covered the upcoming EU elections and the next mandate. This was followed by an analysis of the upcoming European elections presented by Gerard Oosterwijk from the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS). He noted declining support for leftist and liberal parties coupled with the rise of the extreme right and urged unions to address workers’ proactively regarding the next elections. 

The second day involved discussions from the wider global and European trade union movement, animated by Steve Cotton of the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) and Esther Lynch from the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). Lynch emphasized the continued struggle for job security, the right to disconnect, and addressing AI’s impact on the workforce. However, she also highlighted how the rightward shift in the European parliament will force the trade union movement to rethink advocacy and campaigning strategies. 

Reports from General Secretary Livia Spera and members of the ETF secretariat presented the success of the ETF in the past year, in terms of securing agreements with employers’ organisations, affiliating new unions to the ETF, and concrete legislative wins. However, the Executive Committee also discussed some extremely worrying trends in the sector, such as the Commission’s proposed Talent Pool, the return of austerity, and continued problems with poor working conditions and low wages all across Europe. 

The Executive Committee also approved four resolutions: 

  • A resolution on the far-right, emphasising these parties’ disdain for workers’ rights and calling for real solutions to the social issues driving support for these forces 
  • A resolution in support of the PKP Cargo Workers, who are facing job losses and wage cuts as part of an authoritarian restructuring of the firm 
  • A resolution on the Talent Pool, underlining the proposal’s threats to workers’ rights and calling on it to be withdrawn
  • The resolution “Towards a Lasting Peace”, on the current situation in Israel/Palestine.

The ETF Executive Committee meeting underscored the power of collective action, providing a platform for vital discussions and strategic planning to advance the interests of transport workers across Europe. 

The meeting concluded with the announcement of the next gathering in Birmingham on November 27-28, 2024.