Joining the union: a necessary choice

Joining the union: a necessary choice

Agora #88
Pages 12 - 13

Why choose Union Syndicale rather than another trade union? What is its purpose? What are its characteristics, and what is its DNA? And above all: why participate in a trade-union?

Why choose Union Syndicale rather than another trade union? What is its purpose? What are its characteristics, and what is its DNA? And above all: why participate in a trade-union?

The whole history of Union Syndicale is based in fact on solidarity. Solidarity between colleagues to help each other through mutual support. But, also to ensure that together they are heard.

In face of the employer

Face to face with an employer, an individual counts for very little. The interests of workers – whether they be officials, manual workers or employees – need to be represented collectively in order to be heard. That is the first reason why workers form trade unions.

If today, just to cite a few examples,

• you continue to receive your salary when you are sick;
• you have a salary that is adapted each year to maintain your purchasing power;
• you enjoy very good medical cover;
• you can take time off to care for those nearest to you, thanks to parental and family leave or to working part time;
• you can hope your career will develop correctly thanks to guaranteed promotion rates;
• you are free on Saturday;
• you can return home at a decent time;
• you are sure you can take your annual holidays,

it is thanks to the social progress that the trade unions, and in particular Union Syndicale, have obtained through negotiation and strikes. These rights did not just fall from the sky. Their realisation, in the European and International Civil Service, has only been possible thanks to the tens of thousands of colleagues who have joined Union Syndicale, and in so-doing have given the whole of the staff the power to make themselves heard. In the article by Günther Lorenz, Honorary President of Union Syndicale, you will discover in greater detail the history of the social progress that has been brought about by Union Syndicale. Or read the article by our advocate-barrister, Maître Louis, to become aware of the rights that have been defended and won through court action the over the decades.

The Civil Service: the backbone of European construction

Without the Civil Service, European construction would have remained a dead letter. The institutions only function and live thanks to the permanency, competence and independence of the Civil Service.

The sad truth is that these principles have to be defended by Union Syndicale all the time. Whether it be at a legislative level (the Staff Regulations, adopted by the Council and the European Parliament) or at a level internal to each institution, our “bosses” frequently behave in a schizophrenic manner, through not paying attention to the best functioning of the institutions:

  • they try to cut back the Civil Service through constantly lowering the pay and social conditions;
  • they want to make systematic use of precarious temporary contracts – indeed to privatise the services;
  • they give in easily to the temptation of nepotism (“no worries dear friend, I have a nice cushy place for your niece”);
  • they accept or encourage the parachuting in of trusty soldiers serving His/Her Majesty or another national government.

Faced with such practices, European construction needs a strong Union Syndicale! That is the reason why Union Syndicale Fédérale is a member of the European Movement. It is, moreover, the only trade-union from the European and International Civil Service to be in this situation.

“Joining Union Syndicale is defending Europe!”

Union Syndicale, a quality brand

Union Syndicale Fédérale is leader among trade unions of the European and International Civil Service.

From the outset, the idea of Union Syndicale, has been to unite staffs within the same organisation. Unite rather than divide. Strength through union.
Since its creation, almost fifty years ago, Union Syndicale Fédérale is by far the biggest and most widely spread federation. It counts more than twenty organisations as members. It is present in all the European institutions, and in a good number of other international organisations in Europe. Union Syndicale Fédérale is the first trade union, the most representative, at the Council of the European Union, at the European Commission, at the Court of Justice, at the European External Action Service, at the European Central Bank, at the European Patent Office, at the Council of Europe, in numerous agencies, and in several smaller international organisations.

Its size, its diversity, its long history, its expertise, and its heritage make Union Syndicale a premium brand.

It has the ability and the means to organise large-scale struggles when they are necessary, but also to defend the rights of each member with all the legal tools necessary. It makes available to its members services of the highest quality

The trade-union movement

Union Syndicale has never wanted to confine itself in a sort of ivory tower. Almost all the other organisations of the European and International Civil Service exist in an isolated way and, in many cases are limited to a single institution, even to just a single workplace. Not so Union Syndicale. Since the beginning, Union Syndicale Fédérale has been a member of the European Public Service Union – EPSU. It is the “Public Service” branch of the European Trade Union Confederation – ETUC. We are in there with all the big national central unions, such as the Belgian FGTB, Ver.di and the German DGB, the French CGT and CFDT, the Italian CISL and CIGL, the Spanish UGT, the Swedish Fackförbundet ST, and also the British Unison, just to mention some of them. We think that, alone, solidarity with all workers as a whole, through moving beyond the confines of our offices and buildings, makes it possible to create a favourable climate for social progress and to inverse the policies of austerity that are at work in Europe. Mobilisation against the new generation of free-trade treaties, such as the TTIP or TISA, or the struggle to improve the European working time Directive are recent examples of coordination with our trade-union partners, which leads to results that can be felt directly in our places of work.

With Union Syndicale – and uniquely with Union Syndicale – you sign up to be inside the trade-union movement, thanks to which so many rights have been obtained for one hundred and fifty years.

Union Syndicale is not a low-cost trade union.
Union Syndicale: tranquility from a good choice

Solidarity between us, solidarity with the world of work arround us; unity in the face of the employer; competence; and the European ideal: that is the DNA of Union Syndicale. Join us, say yes to a united and supportive Europe.

Bernd Loescher

About The Author

Doctor of Computer Science
Administrator at the General Secretariat of the Council
Vice-President of Union Syndicale Fédérale and Union Syndicale Brussels
Elected to the Council’s Staff Committee