The European Trade Union Institute has published an updated analysis of the treatment of social issues in the European Semester - the process of economic policy coordination. This reveals, for example, the extent to which the country-specific recommendations address the question of collective bargaining, with the European institutions calling for reforms in many countries, with the accent on decentralisation of bargaining despite the lack of evidence that this produces any economic benefits.
Unions demand investment, pay convergence, progressive economic policy at EU macro-economic dialogue
The speakers for the European institutions like Council, Commission and ECB noted the improvements in employment rates recognizing many workers still remain without a job or in precarious employment.
The ADEDY civil service confederation along with the GSEE private sector confederation have called a general strike on 14 December in protest against the latest austerity measures proposed by the government. The unions want to see an end to pay freezes, steps towards decent pay and no reduction in tax allowances. They reject plans for further cuts to pensions and call for the creation of permanent jobs to deal with staffing shortages across the public services. The confederations also want to block any restrictions on the right to strike.
The FPU trade union confederation has called a demonstration outside parliament on 6 December with a number of key demands on the government. These include: setting the minimum wage at the level not lower than the real living wage (UAH 4023); setting the basic wage of a worker in the lowest pay grade at the level above the minimum wage; settling all outstanding wage arrears by the end of the year; reducing utilities prices; ensuring the right to affordable and quality health care and preventing any curtailing of existing worker and trade union rights in adopting a new Labour Code.
The ADEDY civil service confederation is planning an anti-austerity protest on 8 September in Thessaloniki to coincide with the city's international fair which will be opened by prime minister, Alexis Tsipras. The confederation aims to highlight the fact that workers and pensioners continue to suffer the impact of deep austerity measures despite the country exiting the bailout programme. With economic output having fallen by 25%, unemployment still over 20% and massive staff shortages in key public services, particularly healthcare, ADEDY argues that austerity continues to bite. The
Over 60 participants, mainly affiliates from EPSU and the ETUCE education federation, met in Brussels on 8-9 October to debate the impact of the European Semester – the EU’s process of economic governance – on public services.
On 17 October, around 20000 trade union members from both private and public sectors marched through Kyiv city centre and blocked the government quarter. The main demands of the demonstration were for investment in industry for decent jobs, raise the minimum wage to help stop emigration, not to increase utilities prices, for the state budget to allocate the equivalent of 7% of GDP to education and 5% to healthcare, to urgently pay outstanding wages to more than 100,000 workers and to stop state’s takeover of trade union property and respect trade union rights.
Access to quality health, care and education and fairer and better tax, benefit and social protection systems are among some of the positive elements in the European Commission’s 2019 Annual Growth Survey (AGS) that was published on 21 November.