ELA, the Basque union which has placed ecological transition at the heart of its strategy

Radically transform the production model in the face of the climate emergency. From its point 2 (out of thirty-six), in the orientation resolution which will be voted by the 750 delegates of its next congress, which will be held in Bilbao, on November 24 and 25, the union Euskal Langileen Alkartasuna (Solidarity of workers and Basque workers – ELA) addresses the issue of ecological transition.

It is therefore a priority for the Basque union, which is moving forward “The need for a change in the production, distribution and consumption system to meet the need to decrease the use of resources”. This transformation of the union in favor of a “Social, ecological, democratic and feminist transformation” it’s nothing new. It is not insignificant for ELA, which is the largest union in the Basque Country, with 36.08% of the delegates, before the Workers’ Commissions (19.95%), LAB (Langile Abertzaleen Batzordeak, Committee of Basque Patriotic Workers), another Basque union in the nationalist movement (19.29%), and the General Union of Workers (reputed to be close to the Spanish Socialist Workers’ Party, the PSOE), at 14.17%… ELA claimed 100,925 activists up to date with contributions in August 2021, a significant number compared to the million workers in the Basque Country.

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In this region, marked by its mining, steel and naval past, and where industry (energy, transport, etc.) remains important, ELA does not seem to be suffering from its ecological commitment. “It is difficult to know if our environmental position gives us votes or causes us to lose them, underlines Mitxel Lakuntza, the current secretary general, aged 45 – and candidate for a new mandate. But we cannot propose our project of society to the workers without integrating this essential question. “

“A global critique of the system”

However, the environmental issue is not always the main element put forward by the union. Wednesday October 20, at the exit of the company ATP Aero (1,200 employees), which manufactures turbines for Rolls-Royce aircraft engines, near Bilbao airport, Mickael Carrero, 46, assures us that it is up to the company to think about the transformation of the sector. “It’s not for the union to do it. He must focus on our working conditions. ”

Gaizka Aldazabal, ELA union representative – who has eleven of the company’s twenty-three representatives – confirms this. “There are layoffs, and what workers expect from us is that we stand up for them. And ELA appears as the independent union, honest and proposing a global criticism of the system ”, says this 42-year-old trade unionist.

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ELA, the Basque union which has placed ecological transition at the heart of its strategy