European independent trade unions re-elect Romain Wolff and Klaus Heeger as President and Secretary General

11 Dec 2020

At the 8th Congress of the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI), held online on yesterday and today, Romain Wolff and Klaus Heeger were re-elected President and Secretary General. Urs Stauffer was re-elected as Treasurer.

European independent trade unions re-elect Romain Wolff and Klaus Heeger as President and Secretary General

All three received support for a further four-year term by an overwhelming majority of the votes cast. As employment and labour markets undergo fundamental transformations, this paves the way for an experienced leadership to steer the EU-level interest representation of independent trade unions in Europe.

Romain Wolff will enter his third term of office, having been President of CESI since 2012. As a long-standing trade unionist, he has been Secretary General the Luxembourgish General Confederation of Public Services (CGFP) since 2005. Klaus Heeger, a German national, has been Secretary General of CESI since 2012. His noted expertise in EU affairs and experience in lobbying and social dialogue will be the basis for the continued effective interest representation of CESI in the Brussels political arena. Urs Stauffer has been President of the Swiss Central Association of Public Personnel (ZV) since 2002. He has held several positions within CESI in the past and has been guardian of CESI finances since 2016.

The CESI Congress also elected, as Vice-Presidents, Javier Jordán de Urries Sagarna (Spanish Central Independent and Public Employees’ Trade Union, CSIF), Milena Popovic (Montenegrin Trade Union of Physicians, SDMCG), Norbert Schnedl (European Federation of Public Service Employees, Eurofedop), Patrick Fey (Dutch National Federation of Christian Trade Unions, CNV-Connectief), Roberto Di Maulo (Italian Workers’ Autonomous Trade Unions Confederation, Confsal) and Ulrich Silberbach (German Civil Service Association, dbb).

Following a keynote address by the European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, the CESI Congress adopted motions to guide CESI’s advocacy demands towards the EU institutions during the next years, which include:

  • to continue standing up, imminently, for an agreement-based Brexit that will not water down social rights in the EU, for a new MFF that incorporates a strong rule of law conditionality mechanism, and for a safe Corona vaccination programme that will prioritise exposed workers and at-risk population groups;
  • defending trade union pluralism and inclusive social dialogue
  • closing legislative gaps in employment and social affairs, in particular via a rigorous implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights
  • ensuring a further encouragement of the EU towards the Member States to invest in public administrations and services and its personnel, as the best available mechanism to build and maintain resilient and socially fair societies and prevent crises – be it in the social, health, security or further other area of public policy.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “I am honoured that CESI’s members decided to continue to endow me with the trust to lead CESI as Secretary General, together with President Romain Wolff, Treasurer Urs Stauffer and the Vice-Presidents. In times where the Covid pandemic will continue to turn economies, public services, labour markets and jobs upside down, providing a clear voice for affiliates of independent trade unions is perhaps even more important than was the case during the last decades, which also all had their crises on their own.”

Congress material and the main motion as adopted by Congress is available on CESI’s website.