The Covid-19 pandemic is exacerbating inequalities across Europe. The Europe 2020 target to lift “over 20 million people out of poverty” has not materialised and is farther than ever from being achieved. Workers are bearing the brunt of the crisis. Increasing numbers are struggling to make ends meet with poor work conditions, low wages, precarity and false self-employment, weakening hard-won rights in favour of profits.

The 2020 annual trade union conference of the Left group in the European Parliament in cooperation with the Trade Unionist Network Europe (TUNE) will discuss the main challenges facing workers, particularly in light of the Covid-19 crisis, the struggles they are waging and policy solutions at the European level with contributions from Hans-Jürgen Urban, Executive Board Member of IG Metall, Germany.

MEPs and ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch, alongside representatives from the construction workers trade union in Sweden and the European Federation of Food workers will debate the dilemmas around the Commission’s proposal for a minimum wage framework as a possible solution against wage dumping and precarious work. Finally, GUE/NGL MEPs will present some of the current files in the European Parliament affecting workers.


GUE/NGL Trade Union online-conference in cooperation with TUNE (Trade Unionist Network Europe)
Wed 18 Nov 2020, 13h30-16h00 & Thur 19 Nov, 9h30-12h00

Trade Unions and the Covid-19 crisis –
How do Trade Unions strengthen workers´ solidarity in Europe!

Wednesday 18 November, 13.30h-16.00h

13h30 – 14h00 Introduction and technical installation of the participants to the Interactio-facilities (how to speak, ask questions, mute, how do the chat works)

14h00 – 14h15 Welcome by Martin Schirdewan, Co-President of GUE/NGL and Heinz Bierbaum, TUNE-coordinator Dilemma of EU Minimum wages (moderator Özlem Demirel, MEP GUE/NGL)

14h15 – 15h00 Commission´s proposal and possible effects on collective bargaining

Ester Lynch, Dep. General Secretary ETUC

Thorsten Müller, Senior Researcher ETUI

Johan Lindholm, President Byggnads/ Construction workers, Sweden

Enrico Somaglia, Dep. General Secretary, European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions

15h – 16.00 Question and answers

Interpretation: EN, FR, DE, ES, SE

Thursday 19 November, 9.30h-12.00h

09h30 – 10h00 Introduction and technical installation of the participants to the Interactio-facilities (how to speak, ask questions, mute, how do the chat works)

10h00 – 11h15 The Covid-19 pandemic and the consequences for the trade union movement, Hans Jürgen Urban, Executive Bord Member, IG Metall Germany (moderator: Nikolaj Villumsen, MEP)

11h15 – 12h00 What’s in the EU pipeline for workers and trade unions
Leila Chaibi, MEP, Initiative (INI)-report on platform workers
Marc Botenga, MEP, revision reg. 883/2004. Social Security Coordination in Europe
Özlem Demirel, MEP, INI-report “Reducing inequalities in Europe with a special focus on in- work-poverty”
Nikolaj Villumsen, MEP, INI-report on “Strong social Europe” and INI-legislative report on “Asbestos”
(moderator: Mads Bruun Pedersen, TUNE-coordinator)

Interpretation: EN, FR, DE, ES, IT