At the end of the year, it is a tradition to look back to what EFFAT has achieved in the last 12 months. This year has been very special for all of us as a global pandemic has dominated our work, inflicting tremendous hardship to many of the workers we represent. Nonetheless, as the secretariat has been working relentlessly to support affiliates’ efforts in three key domains: safeguarding workers’ health, saving jobs and protecting workers’ income.
We sticked to our Action Plan
Since the 5th EFFAT Congress in November 2019, the primary objective of the EFFAT secretariat has been rolling out our Action Plan and delivering on our commitments. As the outbreak started, the COVID-19 pandemic has become our main priority and will continue to be on our radar. However, as we enter 2021, we will progressively address other priorities such as building trade union power, strengthening collective bargaining, and creating a fair EU for our members.
We built intense relations with the EU institutions
For the last 10 months, as a global pandemic cannot be tackled at national level alone, we have sought an EU political response and intensified our advocacy towards the EU Institutions.
One of the EFFAT core objectives in the 2020-2021 Action Plan was to strengthen EFFAT’s voice vis-à-vis employers and the European institutions. The EFFAT Secretariat has prioritised this part of the action plan through communication and meetings with various stakeholders at EU level in order to influence EU initiatives such as the CAP Reform and the Farm2Fork strategy, and development around labour mobility and migration, gender equality, occupational health and safety, sub-contracting, social security, and collective bargaining in order to protect workers’ rights, income and safety.
We became a key voice in the media
As part of EFFAT advocacy strategy communication has played a key role in getting our message trough to affiliates, decision makers, and the public. EFFAT has actively used its webpage, social media, and press work to increase the media coverage about our concerns, priorities and demands. As media interest considerably revolved around the COVID-19 outbreaks in the European meat sector, the deplorable employment working conditions of seasonal workers in agriculture, the OECD Sexual Harassment complaint against McDonalds, or the future of the CAP reform, EFFAT was ready to take part in the debate and has become a key stakeholder that European media wants to hear from. Staff has given interviews to EU wide radio stations and newspapers (Der Spiegel, Politico, The Guardian, The BBC just to name a few).
We teamed up with our Social partners
EFFAT has engaged in intense negotiations with employers’ organisations in our sectors, concluding important declarations, statements and producing guidelines to support workers and their Trade Unions on issues such as health and safety, working conditions for seasonal workers, the relaunch of the hospitality sector and BREXIT.
We promoted More Democracy at Work
In addition, we have assisted the work of our members in European Works Councils to find solutions to alleviate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and to make sure workers’ rights to information, consultation and participation are always respected in case of restructurings or other management decisions affecting workers’ interests.
We built Trade Union Power and Solidarity
Fostering Trade Union power and strengthening international solidarity has continued to be a main priority for EFFAT this year as we have adopted new strategies and projects to regain our strength.
Finally we worked hard on youth empowerment, cross-border solidarity, organizing cross-border cooperation in TNCs, and strengthening our sectoral structures. IUF and EFFAT have also worked closely to further improving the coordination on various common issues, fights and campaigns.
As the Congress instructed, it is important to mention that EFFAT has started to build a sectoral structure for Domestic Workers with the organisation of the first General Assembly for the sector in the beginning of December.
This year has been quite a ride. However, the EFFAT family showed resilience, ambition, and commitment to implementing its action plan and becoming a stronger organisation, day after day. Be it online or in presence, we are looking forward to another year of accomplishments and hard work doing what we do best: giving voice to our workers from farm to fork.
Finally, as this unlike Christmas is around the corner, we hope you can find some time to be at peace and in health, while preparing for a great(er) year ahead.