Nothing about us should ever be decided without us

Today Europe's 25 million industrial workers are in the eye of the storm of a polycrisis – facing the compounded impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine and the energy, cost-of-living and climate crises. Workers across Europe are already experiencing the impact on their jobs and lives, with idled plants, restructuring and layoffs. However, currently we face a patchwork of Just Transition policies and rights in different places and sectors.

Climate action is urgent, and trade unions understand it. This is why industriAll Europe demands a comprehensive just transition framework that values and protects workers.

A Just Transition is not only about the absorption of funds or job quantity but about quality and worker participation, which for industriall Europe means:

  • industrial policy
  •  investment
  •  rights for workers in transition.

We need a proactive European industrial plan to transform and create jobs and avoid greater regional inequalities.

“Industrial policy is incompatible with austerity in Europe. We demand decarbonisation without deindustrialisation” said industriAll Europe’s General Secretary Judith Kirton-Darling.

The investment gap is well documented. The next Multiannual Financial Framework must increase the specific resources available for Just Transition.All public funding at national or European level should be tied to social conditionalities guaranteeing high quality jobs. Through the recent Antwerp Declaration, industrialists and trade union leaders, have called for guarantees on retention and creation of quality jobs in Europe to be tied to public funding for industry.

A Just Transition is incompatible with more precarious work and social dumping. IndustriAll Europe fully endorses the 2022 Council Recommendation’s focus on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality. However, it lacks legislative teeth.

“We call on the next European Commission to guarantee that workers have a seat at the table, rather than being on the menu. We need a legal framework on the anticipation and management of change – a Directive on Just Transition - including the right to training for employment security. Workers rights are not red tape to cut”, says Judith Kirton-Darling.

There must be stronger policy coordination between all relevant departments in designing Just Transition policies. A Just Transition Observatory at EU level will be crucial to ensure a quality check on Just Transition planning, involving trade unions and other stakeholders, and ensuring accountability.

“Nothing about us should ever be decided without us” concluded Judith Kirton-Darling

Belgian Presidency Conference for a Just Transition