Representatives of finance unions in 65 countries gathered for the UNI Global Union Finance conferences in Philadelphia on 23 and 24 August to elect new leadership and adopted an action plan that tackles the key issues facing bank and insurance workers worldwide.

Trade unions met for the UNI Europa Finance conference on 23 August to be joined by their colleagues across the globe the next day for a packed agenda that focused on collective bargaining, sustainable finance, Just Transition, and the use of technology in the finance sector.

“The agenda of this meeting reflects the new era in which we operate and the need to continue to build union power within finance,” said UNI General Secretary Christy Hoffman in her opening remarks. “In all of these areas UNI Finance is on the frontlines. These enormous challenges are always better confronted collectively, rather than alone. And UNI Finance has been working hard to develop global positions on these issues with successes.”

The conference heard from experiences of wins and challenges, threats and opportunities of affiliates in all UNI regions under the themes of the conference. 

The global finance conference adopted a new action plan under four pillars:

  • Strong Finance Unions Rising Together – building union power through organizing, collective bargaining and holding multinational companies accountable.
  • Strong Finance Unions for a Sustainable Economy and a Just Transition – decent jobs and sustainable finance, climate change and justice
  • The Use of Technology in the Finance Sector – training, healthy working conditions, privacy and data rights
  • Democracy and Human Rights

The Conference awarded honours to Finnish trade union Pro and Swedish union FSU for their invaluable support for funding projects abroad, particularly in Nepal and Peru respectively.

Anna Maria Romano, from Italian union Fisac Cgil, was elected new President of UNI Finance, succeeding Rita Berlofa from Brazilian union Contraf-CUT who was an inspiring leader who steered the group through the difficult years of the pandemic and restructuring.

On being nominated President, Anna Maria said:

“We must not give up, we cannot afford to waste the opportunity that being UNI gives us, to share experiences, strength, determination, heart and struggle for a finance sector that is capable of creating long-term well-being instead of just short-term profit.”

In summing up the conference Head of UNI Finance, Angelo Di Cristo, said:

“From this Conference, we carry with us the knowledge gained, the connections built, and the ideas exchanged, to set us on our path forward to deliver change for finance workers everywhere.”

See all the photos from the conference on Facebook here