On this Aberri Eguna, ELA and LAB address the workers, and society in general, with a document that expresses the trade unions' strong commitment to the construction of the Basque nation.

This document represents the ongoing collaboration between ELA and LAB and the contribution of these two independent unions to the struggle for a democratic, sovereigned and socially just Basque Country.

Every Aberri Eguna celebrates and reaffirms our identity as a nation and our will to build our future as a national community. Today, the Aberri Eguna must continue letting the states know that our nation and its citizens have the right to decide their future. And that refusing to recognize the right to Basque national self-determination goes against basic democratic principles.

To deny our right as a nation is the root of the political conflict that affects the Basque Country, a conflict that deeply affects the lives of our people because of the pain and suffering that causes to many people, to many families.

In this context, ELA and LAB, which deeply disagree with each other when evaluating certain expressions of this conflict, see the necessity to provide the means, and to have the strong will, to let the citizens of the Basque Country be the ones to decide the destiny of this nation.

In order to achieve this goal, ELA and LAB consider essential the promotion of talks and political negotiation to build the foundations that would allow to solve the conflict, and to compromise to develop channels of action that would contribute to the achievement of this goal.

National construction within a socio-economic and labor framework

Among the important challenges facing nationalism (territorial unity, political configuration, cultural and linguistic development...) ELA and LAB think that it is especially urgent the necessity to find answers to the critical economic, social, and labor problems, that as a result of neo-liberal policies affecting Basque citizens.

Desindustrialization, the destruction of jobs, the precarious situation, the difficulties incorporating the new generations to the labor force, the lack of professional and vital perspectives, the deterioration of the environment, the growing poverty and margination... are problems that require a political compromise.

But nationalism has to demonstrate its capacity to approach these problems by giving feasibility to a project of national construction in which the majority of our society would feel included.

It is precisely the necessity to provide ourselves with the proper instruments to approach effectively the serious situation in which workers find themselves, are the demands expressed by ELA and LAB in their common project for a Basque Labor Relations Framework and a Basque Socioeconomic Space.

In this Aberri Eguna we have to denounce the lack of structural competences of the Basque institutions in the areas of labor and social security, as well as the attitude of the Spanish government refusing to grant jurisdiction over social and labor matters (INEM and Social Security) and which were negotiated seventeen years ago.

Therefore, ELA and LAB demand that legislative authority be granted over labor and social matters and the immediate transfer to the autonomous institutions of competence over Employment, Social Security and Professional Training, which are related to the problems of unemployment and lack of social protection affecting an important part of our society.

Regarding a Basque Socio-economic Space, ELA and LAB demand the creation of a Basque public financial entity, the transfer of the titles of public companies which are now in the hands of the state, the transfer of the administration of ports and airports, the coordination of economic planning and development, a Basque telecommuncations, and the establishment of a progressive tax system to fight fiscal fraude, and a policy of redistribution of expenses (Sanitation, Education, Pensions...)

ELA and LAB, as two organization of workers making their own analysis of the situation, and listening to the necessities and aspirations of the workers, see national construction essential to the transformation of the Basque Country into a fair and solidary country.

ELA and LAB, at the same time that reaffirm their compromise with inter-labor collaboration and solidarity in the Basque Country and beyond its borders, reject the ideological speech based on a supposed solidarity but that in reality only seeks to strengthen Spanish dependency, and to shape labor relations according to labor organizations within the Spanish orbit.

We must take into considerations that the growing support from Basque workers to the organizations defending a Basque Labor Relations requires an inter-union collaboration that recognizes this demand. The model of society, the socio-labor and socio-economic frameworks are the references from which ELA and LAB can incorporate the working classes to the project of national construction.

Because of all these, on this Aberri Eguna, ELA and LAB reaffirm the identity of the Basque Country as a nation, above any borders and political ascription, as well as its right to decide its own destiny. In this sense, we consider essential, the recognition of the right to national self-determination.

We demand from the institutions and political parties of the Basque Country, a firm and consistent stand in the defence of the democratic rights of our nation. We consider of extreme importance to find solutions to the conflict affecting the Basque Country. Therefore, we call for the development of channels for dialogue and political negotiations. We call on the different political and social Basque organizations to build the foundation for collaboration in favor of common goals, and we compromise ourselves to continue working together towards the achievement of these goals in accordance with the plan of action of each of our trade unions. We encourage workers and all the people in our country to join in the task of national construction, of building a sovereign, solidary and just Basque Country. ELA-LAB, March 1995


Aberri Eguna is the Basque homeland national day.