Transport workers across Europe will speak with one voice at next week’s ETF Congress in Budapest

20 May 2022

Transport workers across Europe will speak with one voice at next week’s ETF Congress in Budapest

Brussels, 20/05/2022

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) will hold its 6th Ordinary Congress from 24rd to 27th of May in Budapest, Hungary, under the theme “All Aboard: Destination Fair Transport!”

More than 500 participants representing over 200 transport trade unions from 38 countries across Europe will gather at Budapest Congress Center –  Jagelló út 1-3, 1123 Budapest, Hungary – to discuss how to address the transport sector’s challenges and ensure a fair future for transport workers.

ETF Congress will kick off with the Youth Conference taking place on Monday, 23rd of May, followed by the Women’s Conference on Tuesday, 24th of May.

Two highlights for Monday, 23rd of May:

  • 17:30 – 18:30 – Wizz Air demonstration
We will gather outside the Hungarian Parliament to share our solidarity with the Wizz Air workers and our aviation workers. Given the ongoing fight against the race to the bottom in the aviation sector, with the Wizz rally, we want to remind the Hungarian low-cost carrier – in its own country, as we are in Budapest – that we will fight back to stop its anti-union policies. With one voice, we will condemn once again the bad employment policies the company has applied for years: a total lack of respect towards its workers and illegal dismissals throughout EU countries.
  • 19:00 – 22:00 – Diversity and Inclusivity event, under the slogan “We are all EQUALly different!”
Given the rise of right-wing populism throughout Europe, we want to engage the broader Hungarian and European public and bring attention to the diversity and inclusivity of the international trade union movement.
Trade unionism, and particularly international trade unionism, is inherently diverse and inclusive as a movement. Our event will be a celebration of diversity, in all its forms, and a celebration of all our transport workers.
Our Diversity and Inclusivity event will take place on the Európa Ship, which will depart at 19:00 from the pier Jégverem utca, which stretches along the Danube.For the opening ceremony of the 6th ETF Congress – Tuesday, 24th of May -, Frank Moreels, ETF President and Livia Spera, ETF Acting General Secretary, will welcome key guests:
  • Gergely Karácsony, Lord Mayor of Budapest
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation

The newly elected ETF President and General Secretary will address Congress delegates after the vote’s results taking place Wednesday morning, 25th of May. The next day, delegates to the Congress will vote on the Main Motion and the Extraordinary and the amendments proposed to the ETF Constitution.

On the 26th of May, the political debate “Future and of Transport and Transport Work will be the occasion to find out how ETF and its affiliates, as well as the industry, position themselves on solutions to future challenges impacting transport at large.

Stephen Cotton, ITF General Secretary and Paddy Crumlin, ITF President, will also address the ETF Congress Wednesday, respectively, Thursday afternoon.

A detailed agenda of ETF Congress is available here. 

To find out what is happening at the ETF Congress, please check our dedicated Congress page:

Photos from the ETF Congress will be available on our Flickr account:

Journalists can send their questions related to the ETF Congress to ETF’s communications officers:

Background information

Who are we?
The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) is a democratic pan-European trade union organisation representing over 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport trade unions in 38 countries of the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Central and Eastern Europe.
The ETF represents workers from Civil Aviation, Fisheries, Inland Waterways, Logistics, Maritime Transport, Ports and docks, Railways, Road Transport, Tourism, and Urban Public Transport.

What is happening at Congress?
Congress is the supreme body of the ETF, gathering delegates from affiliated trade unions  As the highest decision-making body of the ETF, Congress will elect the President and Secretary-General for the next five-year mandate and the Executive Committee, whose task is to oversee that the agreed-upon priorities are met throughout these five years.

Two candidates – Frank Moreels, currently the ETF’s President, and Livia Spera, Acting General Secretary at ETF – have officially registered their candidacies and are running for President and General Secretary positions.

At the Congress, the representatives of our affiliates discuss and vote on the programme, political priorities, and strategies of the ETF for the next five years.

Why is the 6th ETF Congress taking place in Budapest?
Organising the 6th ETF Congress in the capital of Hungary between the 24th and 27th of May 2022, under the slogan “All Aboard: Destination Fair Transport!” should not be a surprise. First of all, this decision should be seen as part of our recent intense efforts to strengthen our presence in Central and Eastern Europe.

Under Viktor Orban’s regime, Hungarian trade unions have faced difficult times for several years already. We are aware of the constant struggles of our affiliated members. Most likely, the most difficult for them is to survive in such an anti-union political regime, continue to function under the constant threats and pressures, or political decisions meant primarily to weaken workers and trade unions and threaten even the fundamental human and civil rights.

Secondly, we are following our tradition of rotating the venues between all European regions. We started in Zagreb (Croatia) in 2001, then we had our Congress in the Åland Islands (Finland) in 2005, then in the Azores (Portugal) in 2009, in Berlin (Germany) in 2013, and the previous one in 2018, took place in Barcelona (Spain).

Thus, organising our Congress in Budapest is our way to show our direct support of all the European labour movement to benefit the Hungarian transport workers. Our presence in Hungary is a deliberate choice, as we want to be exactly where our affiliates need us the most and ask to STOP the ongoing attacks on labour, civil and human rights in Hungary.

– ENDS –

For more information please contact:
Dana Berinde, ETF Communications Officer
Mobile Phone: (+32) 460 76 79 75

Begüm Boynukalin, ETF Communications Officer
Mobile Phone: +32 478794053

Note to the editor:

The European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) embraces transport trade unions from the European Union, the European Economic Area, and Central and Eastern Europe. The ETF represents more than 5 million transport workers from more than 200 transport unions and 38 European countries. Our vision is fair transport!