Over the last four decades our world has undergone major changes. The technological revolution has shortened distance between people, countries and organizations and has led to many improvements in our daily lives. Society has never been so advanced as today regarding most areas.

During this time, we have also seen a shift in policies. Neo-liberal reforms have led to an increased inequality. Tax cuts for the wealthiest and deregulations of markets have resulted in polarized societies. We can see this in the form of growing nationalist movements where migrants and refugees are blamed for declining living standards among populations across Europe and an increasing lack of trust for public institutions like the EU. This combined with the ongoing climate crisis.

This ongoing trend must come to an end. Trade unions and EFFAT are key role players in this matter.

Based on the fundamental values of democracy, solidarity, equality and sustainability we must start with the improvement of workers’ rights.
It has never been as important as in these days to build strong unions as we face growing nationalist movements and marginalized workers with precarious jobs.

It’s simply not possible to build fair and democratic societies without strong unions. Trade unions are the core of democracy, they bring stability and ensure strong and fair societies.

There is a need for strong European trade unions and EFFAT must become more proactive in this role. Taking a leading role in strengthening the members at the bargaining table is one of the most important roles our organization must take.

Trade unions during history have fought and achieved various benefits for working people, many of which we take for granted today. For example: annual leaves, equal pay, occupational health and safety protection, unfair workers dismissals, sick leaves, social security, and the list goes on.

These rights are now under attack.

We can not only rely on influencing national governments and employers. We must be able to advocate workers’ interests at EU-level. EU has failed to deal with the challenges it has been confronted with. A change is needed and EFFAT must step up its efforts. A lack in trust for the EU is challenging for trade unions. A change is needed.

EU must revive its policies on social rights, prioritize them before economic freedom.
Investments in infrastructure, public services, affordable housing, decent wages, broader labor market policies and reduced pay-gap should be the main goals for social Europe. Economic growth and higher living standards will follow.

EFFAT plans to intensify its efforts through campaigns, communication, advocacy, by building trade union power through organizing and recruiting of more members and by supporting our affiliates in collective bargaining. All means to address nationalism and create a fairer Europe.

Together we will succeed, because other option is unfair and divided Europe. Something that we can never accept.

See you in Zagreb in November!