Union Strategies against Right-Wing Extremism
In light of the upcoming EU elections, the question that is more pressing than ever is the extent to which right-wing extremists and far-right parties are burdening the political climate in Europe and, above all, how the trade union movement is confronting the phenomenon. Beginning with an initiative from the ETUI (European Trade Union Institute) a group of trade unionists from Belgium, France, Austria and Sweden are offering an overview of existing and planned trade union initiatives against right-wing extremism in Europe. This will offer opportunities in learning new methods, as well as exchanging experiences with others.
As part of the Anti-Racism Toolbox, we would like to present individual methods and initiatives. Taking the European idea into account, it is possible that a number of languages may appear on the page :-).
At a “Debunk the far right” seminar organised by the ETUI in the Autumn of 2018 in Gif-sur-Yvette, the go-ahead was given to collect and network union methods and initiatives against right-wing extremism. The Unions of the CGT (France), FGTB (Belgium), MASZSZ (Hungary) and the ÖGB (Austria) are essential for the organisation and content of the seminar. The event which took place in Budapest in April 2019 brings together trade unionists from over 10 countries. The hope being, that the they are better connected and can work on new approaches with regard to anti-racism tools.
First examples of the methods can be found on this page. In the following months we will present current and other initiatives in more detail. Your comments and submissions on the topic are of course welcome at any time. (please send relevant information to email@example.com)
In the last 15 years the ACV (CSC-ACV – „Confédération des Syndicats Chrétiens) has organised a great deal of training to make its supporters aware of the dangers of the extreme right and the radical right.
We used to give a lot of information (through Powerpoint presentations) about the ideology and the positions of these parties. Even though we left room for exchange and discussion with the militants during this training, this approach was often too “top down”.
That is why we changed our approach during the previous election campaign (2014). We tried to give people an insight into the socio-economic positions of all parties.
We are thinking of the following themes: pension, retirement age, unemployment, quality of work, social dialogue, respect for trade union rights, combining work and leisure time.
We also want to work in the same way in 2019.
Chamber of Labour Upper Austria, Austria
Seminar series “Extremism – What to do?”
In the professional and business environment, it is often difficult to actively oppose the extremist tendencies in our society. In order to actively shape coexistence in this area in the sense of an open and pluralistic society, the AK Upper Austria offered a new series of seminars at the Jägermayrhof education centre in 2016 and 2017.The seminars on offer covered a range of topics from the recognition of right-wing extremist codes and groups, argumentation and moral courage training, dealing with extremism on the Internet, to learning intercultural skills and “diversity management”
Stopping influence of populism and all antidemocratic movements
We do a lot of policy work, taking a stand in debates fighting exclusion and discrimination due race, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, ethnic origin or political opinion. This makes us often a target for populist parties. Our president and elected representatives are often under threat and has extra protection – some of them 24/7. Target groups: Members of Vårdförbundet and the general public
Exclusion of the right to be elected representative of our union if you are active in the populist movement.
If you want to be a representative for Vårdförbundet you cannot at the same time be active in the populist movement. In the statutes of our union and ethical codes for our professions (nurses, midwifes, radiologists and biomedical scientists) you agree to respect every persons equal value and give medical care solely based on medical needs with no difference whoever the patient.
In Sweden some of these groups only have the right to emergency care. We oppose to refusing migrants, people without papers, ”eu-migrants” or anyone the universal right to healthcare.
Promote basic union rights for everyone including migrants without papers.
We believe in inclusion and are together with a great number of Swedish unions supporting members of the Trade Union Center for Undocumented Migrants. The centre is open for anyone not recieving his/her pay, work too many hours or having any other problematic working conditions regardless of their right to work in Sweden. The center recieves workers with no papers and challenge the employers (with the support of the member organisations lawyers) to treat them according to collective agreements and pay agreed salaries.
Since a number of years Stockholm Pride is the collective Swedish movement for LGBT rights. Every year they organise a huge conference where Vårdförbundet has its own seminars and activities. The conference gathers usually about 45.000 people and ends in a march through Stockholm with over 200 equipages, followed by hundreds of thousand Stockholmers. Vårdförbundet makes equal treatment for all in the workplace and healthcare a visible goal. This is in stark contrast with the policy of the populist rightwing parties.
Translation: Fred Taucher
Read original article in German
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