FECL 11 (December 1992/January 1993):

EUROPEAN ECONOMIC AREA (EEA): TRADE UNIONS SPEAK OUT FOR MIGRANT WORKERS' RIGHTS

The Central-Alpine trade union standing group "Arge Alp der Gewerkschaften/Arge Alp dei Sindacati" unanimously passed a migrants' rights declaration at its 9th annual convention in Milan in October. The "Arge Alp" union group is made up of the regional trade union federations in Bavaria (Munich), Baden-Wuerttemberg (Stuttgart), Salzburg (Salzburg), Tirol (Innsbruck), Vorarlberg (Bregenz), Graubuenden (Chur), Ticino (Lugano), South Tirol (Bolzano), Trentino (Trent), and Lombardia (Milan). It is one of the best functioning sub-organizations of the European Trade Union Federation. By uniting trade unions from Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy the "Arge Alp" straddles the EFTA and EC economic blocs and can therefore be seen as a predecessor of the European Economic Area (EEA) which, before the rejection of the treaty by the Swiss people was thought to take effect the beginning of 1993.

The declaration titled "Living and Working with Migrants in the Alpine Region" goes much further than similar statements of intent published by the European Economic and Social Committee (CES) in 1991. Both the German and Austrian trade union federations are integrated into "Social Partnership" set-ups in their respective countries.

The declaration includes the following: "The Trade Union Standing Group intends to achieve legal equality for non-EEA employees, particularly in the areas of work, social affairs, and collective bargaining, while at the same time guarding their general interests on the shop floor and in society as a whole. This includes: - active and passive voting rights during shop steward and general trade union elections.

The "Arge Alp" declaration also includes steps towards fighting illegal employment and xenophobia.

Eugene Sensenig

 

Document available in German: Arge AusländerInnenwahlrecht, Muehlbacherhofweg 5/7, A-5020 Salzburg, Tel: +43/662/881145, Fax: /87090019