The General Presentation approved in its entirety

Jun 29, 2017
The trade union delegates who are taking part in the Congress have unanimously approved the General Presentation presented by the National Committee. The discourse defines ELA's strategic principles for the next four years. Note: The General Presentation debated and voted on may be downloaded from this web site.

There were four representatives of the National Committee who defended the Presentation: Joseba Villarreal, Leire Txakartegi, Mitxel Lakuntza and Mikel Noval. This is a short summary of their interventions.


The Planet is in an extreme situation and therefore, Euskal Herria is as well. These are tough words, but it is nothing but the truth. In the end, climate change is a reality and it threatens us all. Therefore, in his intervention Mikel Noval wanted to underline this idea: the system must be changed, not the climate.

We must move forward in this alternative socio-economic model. It is essential when faced with the systemic crisis we are experiencing. This transformation necessarily means a radical change in the public policies to put the sustainability of life and of the planet at the centre, instead of company and capital interests. Along with this, the creation and construction of real socio-economic alternatives is a determining factor, and the promotion of alliances with the different agents immersed in this change of model.

ELA, as is included in the presentation, has many challenges for the future. And to achieve these goals alliances are needed. “In order to fight against tax evasion, to obtain another tax model or to stand up to the neo-liberal budgets, the correlation of forces must be improved. And to do this in ELA, we must work hard, but we need strong trade union and social alliances”.

In Noval's opinion, we are at a crossroads, a crossroads that will be vitally imporant over the next few years. “We are faced by a clear confrontation between capital and life. At ELA we have made a clear commitment to life. And if life does not win, we are lost. Survival is in play. And to survive we need an economic, productive, reproductive, social and climate transition”.


Joseba Villarreal's presentation has revolved around collective bargaining. “Unfortunately we made a bull's eye when we predicted the targets of the labour reform: to destroy working conditions, devaluing collective rights and bringing an end to guarantees and rights. The deadlocks in the collective bargaining by employers are due to this. Employers are not willing to negociate because they do not need to; the only possibility of reaching agreements is by signing the contents laid down by the employers, with very few exceptions”.

In his intervention he specified the goals for the next four years. “Our main target is the fight against job insecurity. In the work centres and in the sectors we are facing different situations: part-time work, companies outsourcing work, Temporary Work Agencies, sub-contracting, poverty wages, long working days, bogus contracts, temporary work contracts...”.

“For which work plans and organisation are essential. Collective bargaining and organisation are two sides of the same coin. It is vital to strengthen our confrontation capacity and we must bring all the trade union's resources and tools to bear on this: workers released on trade union business, militants, legal services, miscellaneous offices....”

In Villarreal's words, ELA has an obsession: to strengthen its confrontation capacity. “To improve working and living conditions, there is no other better means than confrontation, our problems are not going to be resolved in an office or in agreement protocols. We are determined: to do everything that depends on us. We have to raise the level of conflict. As it has been up to now, the contents will make an agreement good or bad and in view of this, we will make the decision to sign it or not”.


Leire Txakartegi's intervention revolved around organisation. To the question “Organisation, what for?” Txakartegi has summarised it stating “to empower people”. To achieve this goal she underscored the fact that we need a strong organisation. “At the previous congress, after the labour and collective bargaining reforms, we started up an analysis regarding the organisation. Since then, we have made important changes: mergers of federations, approach by the federations' management to the regional offices to encourage the trade unionisation tasks.... We propose continuing along the path of organisational adjustments to reach the trade unionisation of the work centres and sectors more easily; only in the areas that are trade unionised will decent work conditions and work agreements with guarantees of application be able to be achieved”.

“The organisational work, by definition, is always unfinished and the fundamental elements of our model are where we must focus: the improvement in the membership and trade union election results, obtaining advances in trade unionisation and organisation of the working classes.... all of these are our permanent goals. And it goes without say that these tasks are being performed in increasingly difficult conditions, mainly owing to job insecurity, which has promoted the lack of protection and the division amongst the workers”.

Leire Txakartegi wanted to quote two important new developments that the presentation brings to the field of organisation:organisational change to achieve gender equality and planning.

“ELA is a progressive, left-wing organisation, although this does not mean that we have a strategy for equality. We also, in our daily work, create and recreate situations of inequality. And the fact is that historically and traditionally trade unions have always been male-orientated institutions. We have built the union from masculinity and with a masculine point of view. Accepting this diagnosis and undertaking to transform this situation is an in depth policy decision of which we are convinced. Therefore, defending women's rights and gender equality must be considered a fundamental demand and it must enjoy a central position”.

“Regarding planning”, she added, “there is no getting around the fact that planning is essential in a contingent context such as the current one, to give a leap in the quality of our work, to work in a planned way, to mark out the strategic lines, to establish the priorities, to set quantifiable goals, to decide on the relevant actions in order to achieve them.... And all of this using planning which, starting from Management, covers the entire performance by the trade union”.

“Only in this way will we manage to have real trade unionisation plans for centres and sectors, efficient plans that include analysis of job insecurity, which contemplate the gender perspective, the inter-generational differences and the needs by different groups of workers”.


ELA has a strong commitment to the defence of the national rights of our country. Mitxel Lakuntza concentrated on this idea when covering the political side of the presentation.

“In this presentation a sovereignist process is proposed. It is true that this country has lost its political pulse, but this does not mean that we do not have the capacity or the opportunity to promote a process of this kind. To do this we must acknowledge our weak points and make the most of our strong points. In ELA, we are convinced that a sovereignist process must also be social and it must be promoted unilaterally. On this point, alliances are essential. For example, ELA and LAB's potential to activate and make a sovereignist process relevant is obviously high. And, likewise, we are aware that we need political references. In the institutional field, there must also be a trend that is favourable to a social process of a sovereignist cut”.

Lakuntza, on the other hand, has reported the lack of democratic quality in this system. “Euskal Herria is not free from the democratic regressions that affect everyone. Everything that has been embodied in Euskal Herria is no more than a materialisation of the neo-liberal strategy taken to an extreme. The attempts to outlaw the trade union, the retrictions placed on striking and the minority tables and agreements promoted by the Basque Government are evidence of the democratic reversals that have been experienced”.

Referring to self-government, Lakuntza affirmed that in Euskal Herria there is no bilateralism. “The State shows, whenever it can, that it is not disposed to respect the decisions that are taken in this country. Therefore, consequently, in this presentation we want to clearly reflect a fundamental idea: there is no bilateralism between Euskal Herria's institutions and Spain. This is an invention, a falacy, although it works very well for those promoting neo-liberal policies”.