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European Meat Workers Meet

21 June 2012 Feature
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The IUF’s European regional organization, EFFAT, organized a conference for union representatives in the meat sector in Berlin on June 19-20. The 42 delegates from 17 unions in 14 European countries discussed the challenges facing meat workers and their unions and heard about progress made and examples of successful strategies for fighting precarious employment and raising standards for workers in the sector.

In this connection, the EFFAT positions on social dumping in the meat sector were reviewed, and the contribution of European trade unions to the IUF’s “Organize, Fight and Win” mandate for the meat sector was highlighted.

The conference welcomed two migrant workers from Poland who recounted their experiences working at meat companies in Denmark and Ireland, respectively, how their situations have changed thanks to union membership and how they are now reaching out to other migrant workers and bringing them into their union.

Conference delegates were given an overview of the European meat industry – a preview of a report commissioned by EFFAT which should be available in a few months. The report should provide the basis for strategic analysis by the trade unions.

A side meeting took place amongst delegates from the Netherlands, Germany and the UK to discuss the possibilities for action in connection with the announcement of plant closures and redundancies at Vion Foods.

A full summary report of the conference and its conclusions will be available soon.