Interview with Ivonne Jackelen, EWC coordinator of UNI-Europe
UNI = Union Network International (International federation of trade unions in the service sector)
Question: You have been responsible for the coordination of EWC work at UNI Europe since October 2006. Could you tell
us what is involved in your field of activity?
Jackelen: The holding organization UNI Europe was founded only seven years ago and covers twelve industry sectors in
total. Despite its complex structure, the cooperation is going quite well. Financial services and the printing industry
have particularly long traditions in terms of European works councils. They also have the most EWC bodies. Besides EWC
work, I am also responsible for the European company and trade union company policy in the printing and publishing sector
(the headword is: transnational restructuring).
Question: Where do you lay your main points of emphasis within your work?
Jackelen: Half of my working time is set aside for the printing and publishing sector. This is where I can actively take
part in shaping EWC work. In all other sectors I try to provide a general perspective and a transfer of knowledge. For
example directives, which have been developed for EWC work in the financial services sector, can be adapted and made
applicable to other sectors. Or a method for transnational negotiations at company level should be developed.
Question: Where you see particular challenges?
Jackelen: In the IT area. The campaign at IBM plays a central role for European works councils in the complete sector.
Training has never been possible for the EWC at IBM because the management blocks it. In the printing and publishing area
we continue to meet employers who are hostile to trade unions, nevertheless we are consistently successful in the
foundation and strengthening of European works councils. The cleaning and security sector is particularly lagging, there
we are only beginning to make a comprehensive EWC stock-taking.
Question: Are there any positive examples?
Jackelen: Yes, we have for example an active network in intaglio. To make prediction possible, we are in the process of
making a database for the entire sector as many restructuring expected. The transformation of the Allianz insurance into a
European company, which was accompanied by a study, has also been important.
Question: What can an EWC member from a company in the service industry expect if he or she consults you?
Jackelen: I can help set up contacts with other countries, including central and Eastern Europe. In the case of an EWC
founding or EWC expansion (to the east), I can support with an analysis of the company. I can recommend literature and
forward information from the EWC network of the European trade union institute (about judgements, events etc.) and –
important ! – provide a connection to the work of service trade unions worldwide. In addition there is a platform to
publish important EWC information on our web page. We also support the application for EU money as in the case of IBM.
Ivonne Jackelen studied administration sciences in Constance and specialised in international relations / work and
social issues, with study periods in the UK and Ghana. After that she was head of the training centre of the German trade
union confederation DGB in Niederpöcking in Bavaria. As of 2002 she was involved in work with different trade union
organisations in Brussels, between 2006 and 2009 as coordinator of the European works councils for UNI-Europe.
Ivonne Jackelen was interviewed by Werner Altmeyer in Brussels on 9th March 2007.
Further information on the UNI web page:
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