Report from the General Secretary June 2013 – February 2014

1 Apr 2014

010414_Eduardo Chagas


At the ETF 2013 Congress, the ETF affiliates have approved the new work programme for the mandate until 2017. It is an ambitious programme, focusing on 5 main priorities and with clearly defined actions. The ETF Work Programme is the translation of a strong commitment taken by the ETF and its affiliates to tackle the challenges ahead, challenges for the trade union movement and the transport sector in Europe. And that commitment will become even more crucial if we want to keep making the difference for all transport workers in Europe in the current context.

The European decision makers cannot be accused of lacking creativity to undermine workers’ rights and protection. The European dockers’ front is being attacked via European infringement procedures that undermine national laws, thereby aiming to “divide and conquer” over the historically solidary and strong international dockworkers movement. With the Communication on REFIT (Regulatory Fitness and Performance), the European Commission claims “to detect regulatory burdens and to identify opportunities for simplification”. Under the denominator of “improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the EU legislation”, the main idea behind REFIT is to continue the Commission’s programme of deregulation and to destroy the social dialogue and the EU social acquis.

And all that gets even more worrying in the context of the ongoing negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement (T-TIP) that aims to “provide for the reciprocal liberalisation of trade in goods and services as well as rules on trade-related issues, with a level of ambition going beyond existing WTO commitments.” Another strategy to eliminate regulations, liberalise public services and find new ways for private investors to make money.

It is in that context the ETF continues to joining forces with its partners in the trade union movement, to further strengthening its power. The European trade union federations are intensifying their collaboration in dossiers with joint interests, as for example precarious work and youth unemployment. With regards to the ETUC campaign for “A New Path for Europe”, we call all our affiliates to mobilise massively for the ETUC demonstration on 4 April and show the European decision makers that an alternative approach for tackling the crisis that takes workers’ concerns into account and focuses on investment in sustainable growth and quality jobs, is possible and being backed up by millions of workers.

In the run-up to the European elections in May of this year, it is also a time to show our commitment to fight for a social Europe, to show our support to a Europe that better defends and further improves social rights. With the increase of anti-European parties’ popularity we risk to head for an ungovernable European Parliament in the coming 5 years with a fragmented composition that is even harder to convince taking on board the workers’ interests. It is important to execute our power as European citizens, take up our responsibility and vote for a better, social and solidary Europe.
It is with that commitment the ETF starts its new mandate, and it is on the commitment of all its affiliates the ETF counts when it comes to implementing its work programme and fighting for better working and living conditions for all transport workers in Europe, and by extension for all European citizens.
You can download the report from the General Secretary, covering the period from June 2013 until February 2014, below.

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