Every year workers around the world celebrate Labour Day, or International Workers’ Day, to mark the strength and victories of the union movement. For the ETF and our affiliates it is a chance to think about how much we have achieved this year by standing together in international solidarity.
Check out this video message from our President Frank Moreels, and read our written statement below.
Brother and sisters, transport workers of Europe, affiliates of the ETF, I want to wish you a very happy Labour Day. This is our day, your day, to recognise the hard work you do all year to keep Europe moving. In fact, while most of Europe enjoys a well-earned rest on this holiday, many of you are still at work today. Transport never stops!
Labour Day is also a day when working people and their trade unions come together to celebrate the victories we have won during our more than 100 years of history. The struggle is not over, but time and time again we have achieved incredible things together. The trade union movement has always been international, but in an ever more interconnected world we have to join forces across borders. Solidarity is our greatest asset – united we stand and divided we fall. That’s why I am so proud to be the President of ETF, our fantastic family of unions representing over 5 million transport workers from the Arctic to the Mediterranean Sea.
Just a few weeks ago we reached the highpoint of our campaign for Fair Transport in Europe. More than 100 actions all over Europe, and thousands of workers on the streets of Brussels on 27 March. We are such a diverse movement, but we spoke with one voice to say NO to social dumping, NO to wage exploitation. And the strength we built will continue to open doors for us, as we call on politicians and employers to back our positive vision for Fair Transport and decent work.
We have made great steps forward in so many of our campaigns. Ryanair is negotiating with unions, after years where the CEO insisted he never would. The EU Mobility Package has been finalised, and the influence of ETF and its affiliates is very clear. We did a great job for Europe’s drivers, turning dangerous proposals into an acceptable compromise. Workers who move around Europe and those who work through digital platforms will have stronger rights, thanks to new EU laws and the new European Labour Authority. There’s much more to do, but all of this happened because workers and their unions stood together and demanded change.
So, this Labour Day, let’s celebrate the success we’ve had and gather strength for the road ahead. The day after our Fair Transport demonstration ETF affiliates pledged their commitment to build a stronger, autonomous ETF. That means more campaigning together as a European family, but it also means finding ways to build international solidarity and power in our regions, such as for example in Central and Eastern Europe. ETF membership is a two-way street, where unions support each other in joint campaigns, but can also look to us for help with their own local needs. It is this mutual solidarity that makes us strong, and I ask ETF affiliates to maintain and deepen our cooperation.
The coming months will be an exciting time for ETF, and I can’t wait to see what transport workers and their unions will achieve next. Happy Labour Day!