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Eric Lee - LabourStart

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Interview with Esther Lynch, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
May 15 2024
Interview with Esther Lynch, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
This week, we spoke with Esther Lynch, the General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).  The ETUC represents 45 million members from 93 trade union organisations in 41 European countries, plus 10 European Trade Union Federations.In a wide-ranging discussion, we spoke about the upcoming European elections and why they matter for unions and working people.  The European unions have come up with a joint list of 12 key commitments and they have gotten some -- but not all -- of the party groups across Europe to support them.  (You can download a copy of the ETUC's election manifesto in dozens of European languages here.)Esther spoke about what unions want, including changing the European Union's rules to make things work better for workers.  She emphasised that working people have nothing to gain by voting for the far Right -- which is expected to do well in the June elections."Everywhere I go I get pushback," she said when I asked her about her recent meetings in Ukraine, and whether all European trade unionists shared the same view. While not uncritical of the Ukrainian government, she emphasised union solidarity with the trade unions in that embattled country.The interview concluded with what Esther sees as the biggest challenge for European unions: building union power.  She spoke about a Trade Union Renewal Group which she set up when she first took up her current role.  She wants to improve the quality of public debate, especially for young people, and to move beyond sound bites and half sentences.The interview ended with Esther's concerns about cyber-social risks -- including the right to disconnect, the problem with "ethical stress", and much more.To learn more about the ETUC and its work, visit their website.