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EWC training as a systematic tool

by Fabio Ghelfi, Responsible of European Policies at Cgil Lombardia

Discussing training for trade union activities in European Works Councils immediately leads us to think about how training may be a systemic tool to pursue the objectives of this body.

When we talk about EWCs, it’s suitable to take in consideration the three aspects of training which are necessary to strengthen and make more efficient our intervention capacity. I’m thinking of the fact that a constant training is necessary, based on a logic of continuous learning. The training offer, intertwined with the learning one, must allow to develop a strong cognitive background, an effective base of operational and vocational skills and, equally, a proactive reflection that helps the development of a vision, a strategic thinking.

This is important for EWCs because for a national confederal trade union organisation, structured in all sectors, increasing the number of activists who are prepared and motivated to develop trade union action on a transnational scale is a key element in the development of the strategy to come.

The training offered by European trade union bodies is crucial in this respect. ETUI’s online EWC training creates the conditions to develop a solid knowledge base aimed at a wide range of activists. In this way, trade unions still have an opportunity to work in a complementary way, interweaving European training courses and national experiences.

This allows us to reflect on training as an element of an extended process, which becomes a community of practice and experimentation. The continuity that follows the training experience can be brought to become a vector for experimental actions based on the knowledge that is acquired and the collectives that are activated thanks to what we have learned together.

In EWCs, organizational and participatory processes involve a decisive ability to work remotely, to maintain cohesion in groups and to plan strategies when dealing with management. More generally, the approach to union action in EWCs requires a systemic capacity for action that involves many actors in the different union structures. The strategy to make the most of the EWCs’ potential for union action requires work on different profiles: EWC delegates, EWC European trade union coordinators and EWC experts.

A training approach could follow three directions: equal basic preparation for all starting from the large scale possibilities available also through the ETUI training offer, modular definition of specific training for the three profiles and political-technical training for the development of remote trade union action based on EWC networks in the wake of a strategy for a European trade unions oriented towards a social offensive.

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