UNI Global Union’s Graphical & Packaging sector (UNI G&P) organized a trade union conference to fight back against the rise of right-wing extremism and racism around the world.
The 13 November meeting in Marseille, France, came on the eve of UNI G&P’s European and global conferences, it brought together affiliated unions 28 countries. Participants explained the dangers of the far right in their respective countries, and how it could erode trade union and labour rights. The participants inspired with examples of unions fighting back and developing strategies and tools to deconstruct this harmful ideology.
Ann Verhelst from ACV-CSC BIE, Belgium, introduced the union’s training program for shop stewards on issues such as diversity and racism, democracy and the recognition of “fake news.”
Guilia Guida from SLC-CGIL, Italy, also proposed “creating a network of communications and initiatives that unions can use as a cultural tool.”
Members of civil society collaborating with trade unions presented their efforts, such as the 8 Mai Coalition in Belgium, which is campaigning the day of victory against fascism in Europe to become a public holiday. The Collectif de Demandeurs·euses de Papiers de Marseille, who defends the rights of migrants, shared its cooperation with the CGT Marseille.
French Senator Jérémy Bacchi addressed the audience, declaring that “pitting workers against each other has a detestable impact on the working class’s ability to mobilize, but also on the deep resentment between the less privileged and those who are not at all.”
“Unions offer workers the opportunity to come together around a common goal, building respect across racial boundaries. The problem of the far right can only be solved by tackling racism. Unionization is a powerful tool, because unions offer concrete solidarity actions. Unity is the most important thing,” concluded Christy Hoffman, General Secretary of UNI Global.
As a reminder, UNI, both globally and on a European level, joined the Antifascist Trade Union Network that wrote the Manifesto of the International Network of Antifascist Trade Unions (cgil.it).