EPSU backs ETUC warnings of wage repression

(September 30) Press communication. Public service workers across Europe, already suffering from the impact of austerity measures, are likely to face further pressure on wages and jobs as the European institutions call for major reforms in collective bargaining systems.

The European Commission, Council and Central Bank have been stepping up their campaign for greater flexibility in wage bargaining across Europe. Their focus is on wage flexibility, an end to indexation and further decentralization of collective bargaining as key elements in the new process of economic governance (see EPSU press release).

The European Federation of Public Services Unions, along with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), has challenged these assumptions and argued that what is already a very weak recovery will be further undermined if the focus remains on fiscal consolidation and attacks on collective bargaining systems.

The ETUC is urging is affiliates to contact national labour ministers to convey the position agreed at the ETUC steering committee on 16 September and in particular that:

“Wages are not the enemy of the economy but their engine. Unleashing a 'race to the bottom' on wages and welfare policies will undermine demand dynamics and threaten deflation across the entire monetary union.

The ETUC reiterates that conditionalities to be attached to economic and social integration should fully respect national wage setting systems and the autonomy of the social partners.”

For more information: Pablo Sanchez, [email protected] 00 32 474 62 66 33