Closure days union training shop stewards

Today two hundred BTB shop stewards gathered in Blankenberge for the closure days of four years of union training.

BTB president Frank Moreels addressed the shop stewards in his opening speech, wich you can read below.


Welcome comrades,

Before you stands a proud President
As President, I am proud to find myself
In front of 200 BTB activists in this hall
200 militants who have undergone 4 years of training

This means, comrades, that you have all completed 20 days of training.
On various subjects
This training has enabled you to do your job as a trade unionist even better

And it's true, comrades,
The better trained you are - the better armed you are
to take on the employers.
Because knowledge is power

You all have mandates in Committees of Safety and Work Councils
This mandate is not easy to carry out
In front of you you have employer representatives
who are shrewd, who have degrees, and who can afford lawyers.
Which costs a lot of money.
Employer representatives who often have no social reflex.

And very often we have colleagues who are grateful to us.
When we are succesful
But we also often have colleagues
Who look at us with great expectations
And from time to time with unrealistic expectations

In this context, you have the onerous task of achieving social progress.


So your mandate is not an easy one
Fulfilling a mandate is difficult
You've taken the time and energy to follow trainings.
And today, I'd like to thank you for that.
And tomorrow, on Friday, you will receive your certificate,
Your diploma
And you can be proud of it!

You are, as it were, the elite troops of the BTB
Our best shop stewards who attended four years of formation
Also during COVID
Even online

So it is time today to thank you
Not just for deployment in training
But also for your union struggle
your commitment to colleagues every day
You took every problem that came on your plate seriously
Any attempt by employers to curtail your rights was stopped

Let’s hear an applause for yourselves!

But this was also made possible by our trainers
By the trainers of ABVV-Metaal in Flanders
And from Cepag in Wallonia
They too have given their best for four years
And they will do so for the next two days as well
So they too deserve our thanks.
Applause for them

We face a big, important challenge this year
In May, we have social elections
And then we also get a diploma
Our colleagues-workers can vote
And will pronounce on which union
has worked best over the past four years.

And the challenge for BTB is:
Do we remain the largest union in the industry?
Last time we jumped over ACV Transcom
May will show whether we still have the confidence of transport workers
Whether each of you worked well and whether your co-workers think you did a good job.

I don't know how you guys look at it, but I am confident that BTB will be successful, that you will win these elections.

For indeed: we did do a good job over the past four years
And the transportation workers know that.

And comrades,
We can be quite proud of all we have accomplished over the past few years.

If during and after the covid crisis, wages remained at level
And the index was fully applied,
This was thanks to the pressure and struggle of the FGTB and of BTB.

If minimum wages were raised by the government
Then this is thanks to the struggle of the FGTB and the BTB

If the government raised the minimum pensions,
Then again, this is thanks to us, the FGTB, the BTB.

Because comrades
We as BTB can be proud of that, too.

Every time the FGTB decides to mobilize and to take action
Then we will be there.
And our mobilization force is strong.
Because time and time again, proportionately many BTB shop stewards have been mobilized
We may be the smallest federation in the FGTB
We are the strongest when it comes to mobilization.

A big thanks for that too.

But also in our sectors
We have done a good job comrades

Who created the new job classification
For truckers in road transport?
It's thanks to the BTB that we have obtained a classification adapted to the current situation, and we have even obtained wage adjustments for many drivers with this new classification.
And ACV Transcom was nowhere to be found when it came to applying pressure and win your case.

Who took action when our bus drivers were mugged ?
We are the ones who fought for more respect for drivers
And to put pressure on employers for more preventive measures
To avoid insults, physical and psychological aggression, …
And again I ask you
Where was ACV Transcom?
We are the ones who took action.

Who has been campaigning for more and better parking lots for truckers and coach drivers? For more parking spaces, clean parking lots, and especially safe parking lots for truckers and coach drivers?

Who is in the front row in the fight against social dumping?
Who published black books to wake up public opinion and politicians and demand action?

Who denounced the abuses in parcel services with concrete facts and figures? Who supplied the facts against the exploitation of and DPD and GLS?

Who, comrades, is defending employment at the airports and fighting for the renewal of the operating license, that is, for the employment of handlers?

To each of those questions comrades, there is only one answer!
It is us
It is the BTB
And we should dare to be proud of that!

We did the hard union work comrades,
And ACV Transcom ran after us,
If they didn't get in our way already!

Comrades, I ask you to dare to explain that to your colleagues.
Be proud of what your union realized,
Be proud of what you yourself realized at company level.

And with that results list, we can't help but regain the confidence of transport workers in May.

We still have a good three months to campaign
We still have three months to prepare for the final sprint
I urge you to confidently run that campaign

Because BTB is equivalent to
Strong Work
Is frankly strong.