A congress to become stronger

Apr 06, 2017
ELA will hold its 14th Confederal Congress on the 15th and 16th of June, 2017, at the Bilbao Palacio Euskalduna, under the slogan ‘Indarberritzen’ (Getting stronger), which condenses and reflects a fundamental idea: this Congress must be an event to motivate the militant cadres of ELA and to recharge its batteries to face up to the challenges over the next four years.

As is laid down in the statutes, 736 delegates from ELA will debate the management report presented by the Executive Committee, as well as the presentation that will mark out the lines of action for the next four years. During these months leading up to the Congress, the decisions to be voted on will be defined, as well as the amendments to the initial presentation, which has already been approved by the National Committee. To enrich and make this process more participative, ELA has started an internal debate in which over 2,000 delegates will take part.

The 736 delegates chosen for the Congress come from the regions or territories covered by the trade union, as well as from the three sectorial federations (Industry and Construction; Zerbitzuak (Private services) and Gizalan (Public Services)), in proportion to the membership of each of these groups. Therefore, 350 people are assigned by the regions and territories and another 350 by the federations. The remaining 36 people are the members of the National Committee.

Of these 736 representatives, 421 are men (57.2%) and 315 are women (42.8%), meaning a significant advance in the role of women within the trade union’s organs. At the 2008 Congress, female participation reached 30.3% and in 2013, 33.4%. Regarding age, the average of age of the representatives will be around 42.2 years of age, very similar to that of the last Congress (42.4 years). All this information, as well as the presentation and the new features that will be revealed up until the Congress will be available on the new website created for this purpose: www.ela.eus/kongresua

Furthermore, the National Committee has proposed the list of people and functions of the Executive Committee who will present themselves for voting at the Congress. The only new development regarding these people is the proposal to incorporate Pello Igeregi Santamaría to the Executive Committee, as the person in charge of Collective Bargaining, Health at Work and the Basque language. Born in 1981, he is a graduate in Law (EHU-UPV) and to date he has been responsible for the region of Eskumaldea, in charge of the Organisation of the Metal federation, in charge of the Osakidetza section and national secretary of the Gizalan federation.

Executive Committee Proposal:

Adolfo Muñoz (Secretary General), Amaia Muñoa (Deputy Secretary General, Northern Basque , Treasurer), Amaia Aierbe (Legal Services), Xabier Anza (Training), Iván Giménez (Communication), Laura González de Txabarri (International Relations), Pello Igeregi (Collective Bargaining, Health at Work, Basque language), Mitxel Lakuntza (Coordinator for Navarra), Mikel Noval (Social Policies, Research Bureau, the Environment), Leire Txakartegi (Strategic Planning, Gender Equality, Social Action, Immigration), Eustakio Uranga (Organisation), and Joseba Villarreal (Unionisation).

The congress position papers proposes four basic policy lines, it requests the endorsement for three innovations and it backs some trade union and social alliances to make this policy possible.

Key lines of intervention

Maintaining opposition to the labour laws and particularly, to the reforms in collective bargaining, which forces us to use instruments and scopes that guarantee the application of the agreements, the ultra-activity of the agreements and the approach of a situation of job insecurity unknown over the past 40 years.

Dismantling the farce of social dialogue that does not exist, as stated even by those taking part in it.

Facing up to the austerity policies and all those promoting them (employers, governments, etc.) encouraging a trade union and social alliance not subordinated to the political parties.

And proposing a sovereignist and social process that connects the national aspirations with the social desires of an impoverished social majority.

The presentation proposes endorsing three innovations:

The first one refers to the process started up in our trade union two years ago regarding “pro gender equality organisational change”. This is an ambitious, demanding project that intends to turn equality into a reality in both the internal life and in the trade union dynamics and activism.

From the organisational point of view, we want to give priority to empowering the militancy and aim our movement towards a more ambitious trade union, social and political action. Our work consists of creating the organisational conditions that make it possible for which strategic planning is going to be very important.

And from an ideological point of view, the presentation leans towards a position that is defined in anti-capitalist terms, supporting a change in the systems of production, distribution and consumption and in the social reproduction systems. To do this, ELA will strengthen the trade union’s social action.

The changes we aspire to require alliances and affinities that we must build. And when talking about alliances, ELA gives priority to its relationship with LAB. Both confederations share a national, class project and disaffection regarding the social partnership model; we support a militant trade unionism and our organisations are not “scuppered” by public funding. We have a broad and very homogeneous level of implantation throughout the region, with a wide membership and representative foundation. However, there are still important differences to be overcome in several areas (particularly in collective bargaining).

The Alliance of sovereigntist trade unionism has, for these reasons, great potential regarding a place where strength can be accumulated to reach greater levels of autonomy and social justice. ELA will invest the necessary effort to ensure that this common work can develop all its potential.