The ETUC exists to speak with a single voice, on behalf of the common interests of workers, at European level. Founded in 1973, it now represents 83 trade union organisations in 36 European countries, plus 12 industry-based federations.
The ETUC’s prime objective is to promote the European Social Model and to work for the development of a united Europe of peace and stability where working people and their families can enjoy full human and civil rights and high living standards. The European Social Model embodies a society combining sustainable economic growth with ever-improving living and working standards, including full employment, social protection, equal opportunities, good quality jobs, social inclusion, and an open and democratic policy-making process that involves citizens fully in the decisions that affect them.
The ETUC believes that workers’ consultation, collective bargaining, social dialogue and good working conditions are key to promoting innovation, productivity, competitiveness and growth in Europe.
Over the years, the European Union (EU) has gradually increased its influence in the areas that most affect workers. In response, Europe’s trade unions came together to form the ETUC, so as to speak with a single voice on behalf of European workers and have a stronger say in EU decision-making. Since 2008, Europe’s economic and financial crisis and the introduction of austerity policies have reinforced the need for a body to defend workers’ interests at EU level.
United action for Social Europe
The ETUC aims to ensure that the EU is not just a single market for goods and services, but is also a Social Europe, where improving the wellbeing of workers and their families is an equally important priority. The ETUC believes that this social dimension, incorporating the principles of democracy, social justice and human rights, should be an example to inspire other countries. The European social model – until the onset of the crisis – helped Europe to become a prosperous, competitive region with high living standards.
Quality jobs, workers’ rights and a fair society
The ETUC defends fundamental social values such as solidarity, equality, democracy, social justice and cohesion.
It fights for:
- high quality jobs for all
- a high level of social protection
- gender equality and fair pay
- equal opportunities
- social inclusion and fundamental rights
- good health and safety at work
- freedom of movement for European workers, and an end to abuse and exploitation
- high quality public services that are accessible to all
- a European framework to raise the standard of national social legislation
- action to combat climate change while protecting workers’ jobs
- promotion of these European social values in other parts of the world
European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC)
Boulevard du Roi Albert II, 5
Tel: +32 (0)2-224 04 11