Gathered at the annual EFFAT EWC-TNC Conference in Brussels on 12 and 13 June 2019, around 50 members of national and European works councils, Trade union officers and experts had the opportunity to exchange experiences and good practices around topics of paramount importance for Trade Union work at national and European level. Organising and capacity building were amongst the themes discussed and agreed to be the common denominator of the EWC TNC Committee’s work across Europe and borders.
The group addressed the crucial issue of exploitation and violation of workers’ rights in both the subcontracting and supply chains. Examples from meat and tourism sector given by the Spanish affiliates were received as eye opening experiences confirming the strong need of a prompt European legislative initiative.
A discussion on the conditions of digital platform workers triggered fundamental questions on the importance of renewing our trade union movement as to be more ready to ensure a framework of rules and protection to those workers whose security and life opportunities are decided upon an algorithm.
Trade Unions friendly economic experts joined the meeting engaging in a discussion on how the booming financialization of the economy, especially in the food sector, is increasingly detached from the economic and production cycles; yet it is the at the roots of the high pressure on labour costs reductions thus of corporate restructuring.
The TNC committee seized the opportunity to be reunited in one room to show their support and solidarity to several ongoing struggles currently carried out by hundreds of workers in the EFFAT sectors. The group stood with workers in Barry Callebaut in Hamburg, demanding equal treatment and the respecting on collective bargaining.
The committee showed solidarity with the 76 workers dismissed from Unilever/Knorr in Verona further to the delocalization of the stock line to Portugal.
IUF-EFFAT TNC Committee also called on The Coca-Cola Company and its bottlers to respect workers’ rights to be heard at the European level coming back to the negotiating table to set up a proper EWC. The EFFAT TNC Working Group issued also a solidarity declaration in support of SIPTU members at Coca-Cola Ballina plant in Ireland to support their determination to exercise Trade Union and collective bargaining rights and denounce unacceptable attitude of Coca Cola company.
Last but not least, as the conference coincided with World Day against Child Labour on 12 June, participants took action to urge the EU Institutions to do more to stop child labour in agriculture.