Summer in Europe failed to provide a break for workers and our communities from rising prices for energy, food and other necessities. Inflation in July was close to or over 10% in most EU countries and topped 20% in the Baltic states. Examples from outside the EU, include North Macedonia (over 16%), Moldova (over 30%) and Turkey over 80% officially but unofficially twice that. High energy and food prices are the main reason and of course these are a result of the Russian aggression in Ukraine. Workers across Europe are rising up and demanding pay increases, caps on energy prices and redistribution of wealth. It is not acceptable that governments continue to allow corporations and people like Amazon boss Jeff Bezos to get away with huge profits at the expense of the rest of us.
Many public service and other unions across Europe are planning to mobilise and you can read the overview of actions of health and care unions in this newsletter. Strikes by railway workers, refuse collectors and even criminal barristers in the UK are drawing much attention. Many UK affiliates including those in health and care are balloting over pay. UK firefighters have rejected abysmal pay offers and like so many firefighters across Europe they are confronted with an increase in forest fires and often extremely dangerous circumstances like those experience in recent weeks in France and Portugal. In other countries national demonstrations are planned, including in Prague on 5th September. Nurses strikes are foreseen in Finland on the 6th, a general strike for public and private sector on the 10th of September in Greece. And so on. Our twitter channel is rapidly becoming a source of info for all those actions and is being picked up by the media. We report the results of your actions, including the victory by ver.di in Germany, securing for more staff in major hospitals in the North Rhine Westphalia region after 11 weeks of strike, or the actions of our Spanish colleagues of CCOO-Habitat, ensuring that hospital cleaners in Toledo receive the correct pay. It pays to be union.
Workers across Europe deserve a pay increase and are ready to fight for it. Together we are strong. Solidarity and success to all.