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Shocking but predictable – the largest loss of life in the Mediterranean

(21 April 2015) It was predicted by Europe’s trade unions. Cutting the public funding for the search and rescue missions for boats bringing refugees and migrants across the Mediterranean at end of last year would lead to more deaths, and nothing else. European Union government leaders carry a heavy burden of guilt. Many deaths could have been avoided. The countries of Southern Europe can not be left alone to deal with those escaping poverty and conflict searching for a better future. The (...)

With broad coalition working for change

(26 March 2015) Water activists and trade unionists from across Europe joined a demonstration in Brussels on 23 March, the day after World Water Day, to highlight the European Commission’s failure to act on the Right to Water European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI). It is now already a year since the Commission published its response to the ECI and the European Parliament is now discussing its position on the ECI and its reaction to the Commission’s proposals. This was an excellent moment for (...)

Praise and protection, not jail, for tax whistleblower

(18 March 2015) EPSU supports Antoine Deltour, the whistleblower who revealed and the culpability of consultancy PwC and the Luxembourg government in massive tax avoidance (#Luxleaks). After exposing the industrial scale of the tax avoidance schemes, he is facing prosecution and a possible jail sentence. The schemes were approved by the government under the then Prime Minister and Finance Minister and now Commission President, Jean-Claude Juncker. Antoine explained to our colleagues in the (...)

EPSU puts McDonalds and tax avoidance in the spotlight

(2 March 2015) We have been witnessing how the "There Is No Alternative" to austerity has played out in Brussels and European capital cities over the last two weeks. The Greek government reached a deal which many have interpreted as caving in by the Syriza government. Others judge that the Greek government has bought itself valuable time. It will continue the negotiations to implement measures that will address the humanitarian crisis of high unemployment, increased poverty and the (...)

Get up, Stand up, Stand up for your Rights

(17 February 2015) Unions across the world are standing up for the #right2strike 18 February. This right is under attack by the employers in the ILO. The employers are supported by several governments which do not recognise independent trade unions. PSI is leading this across the world as especially public service workers see their rights curtailed. The employers find allies not just with dictators but also with the European extreme-right which would like to limit the role of trade unions (...)

Greek people bring message of hope and inspiration for Europe after elections

(5 February 2015) With a new progressive government in Greece, the opposition to EU austerity policies has gained a foothold in the European Council. For many trade union colleagues across Europe it is an expression of hope and inspiration, knowing that people do share our positions and are ready for change. The concerns of many public service workers and our families and communities will find a different and more critical expression in EU meetings. The new Greek finance minister has (...)

Charlie Hebdo

(15 January 2015) Like many of you, I am still shocked by the killing of the journalists, cartoonists, other staff of the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and the police trying to protect them. It was a brutal attack against freedom of expression and thought, against the freedom to joke, ridicule and laugh with power, religion, with anything really. These rights are so crucial also for trade unionists across the world. The French and European signs of solidarity are impressive. We (...)

Workers’ demands not reflected in Commission Work programme

(18 December 2014) During the Belgian general strike on 15 December I joined workers in Antwerp who control the largest locks in the world. They blocked the bridges and had stopped operating the locks, effectively stopping all shipping in and out of the harbour. As we warmed ourselves over the fire, we talked about their work, what the government plans mean for them, their families and their work. We also spoke about what was happening across Europe and the many actions of public service (...)

The Wizard of Brussels

(3 December 2014) Last week (27 November) EU Commission President Juncker finally unveiled the investment plan that he promised to the European Parliament and especially to the social democrats after the elections in May. His pledge signaled the understanding that investing in the European economy is the only way out of recession. The plan was supposed to assist in boosting growth and create the jobs Europe needs. It would be the end to austerity. And recently it became more. The plan would (...)

#Luxleaks – urgent action needed against tax evaders and their advisors

(20 November 2014) The President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker is implicated in the #Luxleaks scandal revealed by the excellent work of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalist on 5 November. He was responsible, as both Prime Minister and Finance Minister, for authorising and approving tax deals with 340 companies. These have cost Member States billions of Euros of lost revenue. Juncker claims not only that the deals were legal but were the same as those (...)

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