“30 years of commitment. Now more than ever.” | Editorial of the Secretary-General Klaus Heeger

The old, the new and the human factor.

Dear colleagues, dear members, dear friends,

We have come back from holidays, started our work again, hoping somehow things would come back to normal. Yet they have not.

So what now? For us at CESI, despite all uncertainties, the decisions of our Board and Presidium have paved the way for our Congress to take place on 10-11 of December.

The motto “30 years of commitment. Now more than ever.” stands for, on the one hand, continuity, reliability and experience, and on the other hand that this ‘legacy’ also leads to the pledge – now more than ever – to commit us even more.

As we could particularly experience in the past months, trade unions are needed – in times of crises more than ever. And support for trade unions is currently at its high. But the question is whether we will be up to the challenges, to the expectations – also in the future.

We will have to adapt to new ways and forms of work. We will have to review our own work, we will have to target new potential members -the young, the atypical workers, the solo self-employed, the unemployed-, we will have to be more ´modern´ – without turning our back to our traditional longstanding members.

At CESI, we are currently experiencing such ‘renewal’, as the Covid-19 restrictions catalyse developments which had already been initiated before the pandemic. In brief, we are trying to refocus our activities and assess their added value – in terms of political, financial, or social return.

Our activities shifted from more traditional events and meetings (in any way currently strongly hampered by the pandemic restrictions) to a series of new events with different targets. But: Although new concepts have been introduced very swiftly (and despite the fact that our ways of working after the pandemic will remain different from the pre-Corona ones), we will (and we must), sooner or later, rediscover the value of the ‘proven’.

Trade union work is based on the human factor, on direct relations, on interpersonal connections. As an affiliate put it recently in a meeting: “With Covid-19 it becomes more and more difficult to reach out to new members. A virtual meeting, a flyer, an email, a website or a slogan are not enough to create a sense of belonging. Human interrelation is essential.”

And the same applies to international work. Getting back to (admittedly redesigned and adapted) traditional ways of work – and maybe even to concepts which we believed to be completely over the hill – will also reflect this ‘human factor’.

This means a mixture between ‘keeping the old’ and ‘trying the new’. It will be a balance between ‘retaining the proven’ and ‘renewing the less-used’. It will mean trial, and it will mean error. Ultimately, this will not be possible without intense communication and without strong support.

“30 years of commitment. Now more than ever.”

Thank you all for that!