December 2009: Conference stresses need to defend jobs and pay and conditions in the public services

(7 December 2009) Over 150 officers from public service trade unions met in Brussels on 3-4 December to debate the impact of the economic crisis. Representing affiliates of the EPSU trade union federation in over 30 European countries, the participants discussed the challenges of collective bargaining in such a difficult economic environment.

The conference heard the experiences of workers from several central and Eastern European countries and in a statement noted that:
“Over the past year public sector workers in a minority of countries have not just faced pay freezes and effective cuts in real pay but substantial cuts in nominal wages as well as facing job cuts and recruitment freezes.”

Arguing that, cuts in public spending and public sector pay only risked undermining any recovery, Dave Hall of the PSIRU research organisation analysed the nature of the crisis and the importance of the public sector in getting the European economy back on track. In response the conference statement underlined: “the importance of negotiating nominal and real wage increases as a vital element in maintaining and increasing demand across the economy and of rejecting the call from the European Central Bank, among others that the public sector should set an example to the private sector by moderating wage claims.”

In a series of debates on collective bargaining, equality, precarious employment and lifelong learning, delegates were able to exchange information on how they were responding to the crisis and the actions they were able to take to try to defend their members’ pay, jobs and working conditions.

The full text of the statement is attached and a full report of the conference will follow shortly.

<img15517|left>Conference documents, presentations and report

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