TUED in Europe: laying the groundwork

Report of a two-day working meeting of unions and close allies in the energy democracy movement

Oct 18th, 2017
Maité Llanos

On June 14th and 15th, 2017, Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (TUED) convened a two-day working meeting of unions and close allies in the energy democracy movement, under the title Reclaiming Power: The Struggle for Europe’s Energy Future.

Participants from 14 unions—as well as several social movement allies, universities, foundations and think tanks—came together at the Workers University in Geneva, Switzerland, to discuss prospects of building "TUED Europe". Leading the effort was Maité Llanos, formerly of CTA-Argentina and currently based in Geneva and member of the Global Labour Institute network (GLI).

Participants affirmed the commitment to develop a clear energy democracy perspective grounded in anti-austerity, the defense of workers' rights, and the need to overcome the problems of the present neoliberal approach to renewable energy, as well as to find alternatives to the current market-based energy policies. Participants also agreed to work on the development of a TUED framing document that would articulate the main elements of a Europe-specific approach to public ownership, energy transition and climate commitments, in order to elaborate a calendar of discussions in order to deepen knowledge and analyses regarding these crucial topics.

Participants welcomed the opportunity to discuss Energy Democracy in the European context and encouraged the global TUED network to continue convening meetings and providing inputs for the debate in 2018.

Another important element of the meeting was the presence of researchers from European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU). These researchers provided evidence-based inputs to the meeting. Social actors as Via Campesina, Transnational Institute (TNI) and Swiss NGOs working on divestment provided their own approach on actions that they are taking that are consistent with energy democracy.

Union participants came from across Europe and spanning a range of sectors, and represented unions from: the Basque region, Croatia, France, Galicia, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and the UK. Regional trade union bodies – the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and the European Public Service Union (EPSU) – were also represented.

Picture Gallery


Lyda Forero - Transnational Institute (6:55: min.)

Guillaume Durivaux - European Public Services Union (2:47 min.)

Maité Llanos - Trade Unions for Energy Democarcy, Europe (5:02 min.)

Romain Felli - University of Lausanne (5:08)

Valentina Hemmeler-Maiga - Uniterre, Via Campesina (5:14 min.)

Patrick Van Klink - FNV Climate Group (2:14 min.)

Sean Sweeney - Trade Unions for Energy Democracy (3:38 min.)

The meeting was attended by representatives of:
CGIL, Italy
CGT, France
CIG, Galicia
City University New York, Murphy Institute
EL og IT Forbundet (Electricians and IT Workers Union), Norway
Ethos Foundation
European Public Services Union (EPSU)
European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)
European Transport Workers Federation (ETF)
Eyath Water Union, Greece
FNV Climate Group, Netherlands
FSU, France
Global Labour Institute (GLI)
GMB, North West and Ireland
Greener Jobs Alliance
LAB Sindikatua, Basque Region
Multiwatch Basel
Novi Sindikat, Croatia
NUMGE, Norway
Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), UK
Public Services International (PSI)
Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU)
Rosa-Luxemburg-Stiftung Brussels, Belgium
Swiss Climate Alliance
Transnational Institute, Netherlands
Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), UK
UNIA, Switzerland
Unite, UK
Uniterre – Via Campesina
University of Glasgow
University of Lausanne