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Issue #1534      8 February 2012

Trade Union Industrial Federation takes shape for Europe

A joint Executive Committee meeting of three European trade union federations on January 31 put the final touches on statutes, a political program, and nominated candidates for leadership in what is to become a united eight-million-member industrial workers’ federation. The meeting, held near Mechelen, Belgium, was attended by 150 national union leaders from 25 nations.

The European Mine, Chemical and Energy Workers’ Federation (EMCEF), European Metalworkers’ Federation (EMF) and the European Trade Union Federation for textiles, Clothing, Leather and Footwear (ETUF-TCL) are now geared to formally merge on May 16 in Brussels, with dissolution Congresses coming a day earlier.

The joint Executive decreed that the new federation will strive to become a fighting force for a dynamic economic framework that allows industry to thrive as the motor for jobs and sustainable growth across Europe. The three current federations vowed that “social progress and the European social model cannot be sacrificed at the altar of ultra-liberal dogma.”

Although the new grouping has yet to formally adopt a name, its temporary moniker is the European Industrial Workers’ Federation (EIWF).

Michael Vassiliadis, President of Germany’s IGBCE, was nominated to serve as President, while current EMF General Secretary Ulrich Eckelmann was nominated to be General Secretary. Anders Ferbe of IF Metall, Sweden, Renzo Ambrosetti, UNIA, Switzerland, and Valeria Fedeli, CGIL FILCTEM, Italy, were nominated as Vice Presidents, while Sylvain Lefebvre, EMCEF, Bart Samyn, EMF, and Luc Triangle, ETUF-TCL, were nominated as Deputy General Secretaries.

The new federation will consist of four policy committees – Collective Bargaining and Social Policy, Company Policy Committee, Industrial Policy Committee, and Social Dialogue Policy Committee. It will also be composed of eight regions: South, Benelux, Central, South-East, Eastern, British, Nordic/Baltic, and South-West.  

Next article – Regulator to probe “cartel behaviour”

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