Trade unions urge EU Commissioner Urpilainen to strengthen workers’ involvement for a rights-based Global Gateway

Trade unions participated in a meeting with the EU Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, on Tuesday 25 October 2023.

The meeting, which was organised in the frame of the EU Global Gateway Forum, was held to launch the Global Gateway Civil Society Organisations and Local Authorities Dialogue Platform, of which the ITUC is a part.

Alison Tate, Director of the Economic and Social Policy Department of the ITUC, highlighted the importance of engaging trade unions to ensure the respect of labour rights, the formalisation of the informal economy and decent job creation in the EU Global Gateway, an investment initiative launched by the EU in 2021 to contribute to global infrastructure by mobilising funding, mainly from the private sector, in the areas of digital, climate, transport, health, and education and research.

“Global Gateway projects need to include explicit references to the respect of human rights, international labour standards and responsible business conduct instruments, and clear grievance and remediation mechanisms need to be in place”, said Alison Tate.

“Ensuring the participation of workers through their trade unions can guarantee the creation of decent work opportunities, adequate retraining and redeploying of workers that risk losing their jobs, and effective strategies for formalising informal economy jobs while integrating them into new, more efficient and climate-friendly systems that can contribute to sustainable cities,” she stressed.

Tate raised the example of the Bus Rapid Transit system project in Nairobi, showcased by trade unions in 2019, by highlighting the Labour Impact Assessments local unions have undertaken recently. The EU Commissioner committed to putting in place pilot cases for the creation of national platforms to engage trade unions, local authorities and CSOs on specific flagship projects and to launch this work with the EU delegation in Nairobi.

The ITUC will continue monitoring the unfolding of the EU Global Gateway and looks forward to engaging with EU delegations to ensure a meaningful involvement of trade unions at the local level.