UNI Med Finance held its 2019 meeting and General Conference between 10 – 11 June in Rhodes (Greece).
Being part of a structure of UNI Europa Finance, UNIMED Finance consists of all Banking Unions who represent employees in the Banking and Financial sectors of the Euro-Mediterranean Region. The UMF meeting was this year hosted by OTOE of Greece.
The Agenda set purposely for the two-day session focused on specific priorities and areas of work. Discussions to this effect were followed up by the taking of necessary decisions in support of the future of work and the workers represented in UNI Finance Area III.
Both the current UMF President Mauro Bossola (FABI-Italy) and the incumbent General Secretary Mario Ongaro (FISAC-Italy) opened discussions by sharing greetings with the regional representatives attending the meeting. The Agenda also included an update on UNI Finance activity by Angelo Di Cristo, Head of UNI Finance World from UNI GLOBAL UNION who spoke about the challenges for Trade Unions at a global level underlining the need for the affiliates to focus their attention on issues that will be presented in the next UNI Finance World Conference due to be held in Torremolinos, Spain, on 23th -24th October 2019.
The afternoon session ended with the presentation of individual Country Reports by Union Leaders and Delegate representatives from the Med Region (Area III).
During Tuesday’s session, Mr. Bossola presented a brief of activities and successes achieved in the three years of his mandate. Participants also exchanged views about a collective contribution by UNI Med Finance to the Torremolinos UNI Finance World Conference which included discussion and potential agreement on candidatures from Area III. The Conference ended with the elections of the new UNI Med Finance President and Executive Board
Mr. William Portelli, President of MUBE Malta was appointed as the new UMF President with Mr. Stavros Koukos from OTOE- Greece and Ms. Canan Cevikbas from BASISEN – Turkey being confirmed as Vice-Presidents. The new President of UMF then followed up the renewal process of the management board by supporting the nomination of Mr. Filippo Arena from FIRST-CISL- Italy as the new General Secretary.
The new Presidency and the General Conference attendees concluded the meeting by thanking former President Mauro Bossola and former Secretary General Mario Ongaro for the results achieved in the last three years.
The next UNI Med Finance General Conference will be held in Turkey on May 2020.
In a interview released to a Greek Television, Mr. Mauro Bossola, former president of UNI Med Finance and Dep. General Secretary of FABI (the largest banking union in Italy), underlined the following:
"At this Conference in Rhodes, we dealt with issues that concern banks and their impact on society in this difficult economic period. Sometimes we believe that banks are something foreign to society. In fact, banks are part of the society because bank employees are citizens at the same time. That is why it is important to think as bank employees and as citizens at the same time. We want to work together with the customers of the banks, with the consumers to have a good climate in the financial system. We have seen that during the crisis, the consequences were negative for everyone, both for workers, and for the citizens and of course for the banks themselves. Regulations in the financial system are very important, but relations between employees and clients, and consequently the society, are also very important. As workers and trade unionists in the banking sector, in the Mediterranean Area, we are aiming to transfer our positions, proposals and conclusions to Brussels, since workers in this region should also be taken into account when discussing new regulations in Europe concerning the financial system".
In his turn, Mr Angelo Di Cristo, head of UNI Finance, the global trade union organization for employees in the services' sector, counting seven million members across Europe, talked about the following:
"We are very pleased with the Conference held in Rhodes, representing the banking industry, from the Mediterranean countries. I can say that trade unionists in the banking and insurance sectors are organized, since they are facing a lot of serious problems in this region (Spain, Portugal, Italy, Malta, Greece, Cyprus and Turkey).
This shows how important is the role of trade unions in such times, especially in the financial sector. In these countries Collective Agreements exist, which is not the case in northern countries. We would like want to transfer this experience and processes to countries that do not exist.
In addition, it is very important for workers to belong to unions that are very well organized and strong, such as OTOE in Greece, which does a very good job and is able to claim even more for the employees.
This is a very critical period and during which workers need to be united and organized to face the challenges. "
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