Time for social Europe

Date: 
Thursday, August 24, 2017

The new political season in Europe will soon be underway and Commission President Juncker is due to make his State of the European Union speech on 13 September. As far as EPSU is concerned, we do not need more initiatives to deepen or extend the internal market. We do not need initiatives to open health, social or other public services to more competition.

It is time for Social Europe. We want proposals for a decent pillar of social rights and a programme to improve workers’ rights that deals with precarious jobs and social dumping. Progress is needed concerning the 2015 information and consultation agreement between the employers and trade unions in the central government social dialogue committee. The Commission should finally propose it to the Council for implementation as a directive. It also is the moment to make progress with the implementation of the right to water and sanitation following the first ever successful European Citizens’ Initiative. EPSU and a broad coalition of social movements demand the right to energy to end fuel poverty. These are the sorts of concrete advances workers and people expect to be included in the State of the Union speech and at the social summit discussions in Gothenburg on 17 November. We do not need another high level event without substance.

It was with immense sadness that we expressed our condolences and solidarity with the Spanish and Finnish affiliates following the terrorist attacks in Barcelona, Cambrils and in Turku , Finland. And again workers and people showed their utter condemnation and contempt for this terror, expressing support for values of democracy, freedom, social justice and peace. 

You will read in the newsletter about the shenanigans of Trump, his warmongering and his tacit support for the extreme right in the US. These have mobilised yet more people for a different agenda and society. Tens of thousands, including many trade unionists, prevented a racist rally in Boston. And our colleagues of ver.di, other German unions and organisations blocked a neo-nazi rally from advancing in Berlin. It is important for the trade union movement to speak out and stand up for our values. It is part of our battle for social justice and to address glaring inequalities. These are exacerbated by the financial and economic crisis that started 10 years ago. Austerity which was imposed in many countries has slowly started to give way to pay rises as bargaining resumes in some countries. But not everywhere. In the UK the Tories prove beyond doubt that their austerity is homegrown. Public service unions are campaigning for an end to the pay cap. They and unions elsewhere have the full support of EPSU as we continue to demand that Europe’s public service workers get a pay increase.