The European Trade Union Confederation’s congress, where trade union renewal was a central theme, concluded today with the election of a new leadership team which is gender-balanced and the youngest in the history of the organisation.
Irish trade unionist Esther Lynch, who first became involved in the labour movement while working in a micro-chip factory in the 1980s, will lead the team over the next four years as General Secretary.
Labour lawyer Isabelle Schömann and Swedish trade unionist Claes-Mikael Stahl, who began his working life as a cleaner in a factory, were elected as Deputy General Secretaries.
The 35-year-old Slovenian trade unionist Tea Jarc and 36-year-old Belgian trade unionist Ludovic Voet were elected Confederal Secretaries alongside Italian Giulio Romani, who is an experienced negotiator on behalf of workers in the banking sector. Their full biographies can be found here.
It follows a congress where more than half of delegates were women, and which was attended by a record number of delegates under 35.
The new team are responsible for putting into practice the action plan and manifesto agreed over four days of debate in Berlin among 1000 trade unionists representing more than 45 million workers.
Priorities for the mandate which runs until the next congress in 2027 include:
A ban on public funding for companies which refuse to recognise unions or bargain collectively
The regulation of Artificial Intelligence in the workplace based on the ‘human in control’ principle
Preventing a return to austerity and new EU economic rules which put people and planet first
The full and fast implementation of the Equal Pay Directive
Ensuring no workers are left behind in the transition to a green and digital economy
Increasing trade union membership as a bulwark against the rise of the far right
ETUC General Secretary Esther Lynch said:
“At a time when the gap between the rich and working people is growing, trade union renewal is crucial and so I’m delighted to have been elected to lead the ETUC’s youngest ever elected team.
“I’m determined that over the next four years we will deliver a long overdue rebalancing between bosses and workers by increasing union power and securing progressive legislation at EU level.
“In order to do that, we will take the fight to the far-right, who have nothing to offer to working people, at the forthcoming European elections and ensure democratic parties offer a real alternative.
“Europe needs strong trade unions to deal with the challenges facing us – social, environmental and technological – in a way that puts working people and the planet above profits at all costs.
“The ETUC’s new team will ensure the voice of workers is heard loud and clear at European level.”
The ETUC Action Plan and Berlin manifesto can be found here: https://www.etuc.org/en/congress