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Transport union unification in Germany “a positive step forward”
1 December 2010
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|Alex Kirchner, EVG president, Klaus-Dieter Hommel, EVG vice-president, and Michael Sommer, president of the DGB German union confederation, debate the future of trade unionism at the EVG founding congress|
The creation yesterday of a brand new transport union in Germany was a crucial step in tackling the impact of the global reach of state-owned railway companies, according to the ITF.
The ITF-affiliated unions, Transnet und GDBA, inaugurated the new railway and transport union Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft (EVG) in Fulda, Germany, on 30 November. Alex Kirchner (also vice president of the ETF) was elected president and Klaus-Dieter Hommel and Regina Rusch-Ziemba as vice presidents.
Commenting on the establishment of the new union, ITF general secretary David Cockroft said: “The foundation of the EVG is a positive step forward particularly as railways are becoming ever more central to the whole process of promoting sustainable transport; major state-owned rail undertakings like Deutsche Bahn have gone global now owning two international operators, Shenker, the logistics company, and Arriva, a bus and rail operator.”
Eduardo Chagas, general secretary of the ITF’s European arm, the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF), speaking at the founding congress welcomed the new union. The ITF and ETF were determined to ensure that the European trade union movement fought any attempt to compromise on fundamental rights and principles, he said.
He added: “Workers across Europe and beyond are being confronted with neo-liberal policies, which see free-market competition as the single objective that must be pursued, irrespective of any social considerations.”
“In a challenging moment for the European and international trade union movement, we count on EVG to help deliver the strategy to counter the progress of neo-liberal policies and deregulation of the internal market.”
Leaders of all major German unions attending the congress, including the ITF-affiliate, Verdi, applauded the decision to promote further unification amongst transport unions in Germany.
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