Stressing the role of Spanish trade unions to bolster democracy and expressing strong support for workers’ and trade union rights, the Spanish Labour Minister Yolanda Diaz of the current EU Presidency got a standing ovation following her address to the ETUC Executive Committee.
The ÖGB trade union confederation has called for a national protest on 20 September to put pressure on the government to address the cost-of-living crisis. The confederation estimates that food inflation alone has increased the annual bill for a family with two children by €1234, with higher energy costs adding a further €1335 on average. The ÖGB is calling for action on housing costs, including a freeze on rents, as well as measures to ensure affordable energy and a tax on energy companies’ excessive profits. The demonstration on 20 September will create a human chain around the national
The CGIL trade union confederation is organising a national demonstration in Rome on 7 October calling for a wide range of measures in support of workers and collective bargaining and in defence of the welfare state. CGIL is demanding higher pay and pensions to address the increased cost of living along with action to renew collective agreements and legislation to block the signing of agreements by unrepresentative worker organisations. The confederation is also calling for action to eliminate the gender pay gap and the introduction of a minimum hourly wage. The CGIL’s other demands cover
Eight trade union organisations, including the five main confederations – CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA and CFE-CGC – have come together to organise a national demonstration on 13 October over the cost-of-living and the threat of austerity. The key demands will be around increases to the national minimum wage and pay rises in collective agreements and the unions will continue their protests against the pension reforms which came into effect on 1 September. The unions are also looking at measures to reduce the gender pay gap and increased funding for public services.
Trade unions are maintaining their protest actions against the government, its austerity measures and failure to engage in any social dialogue. Following the initial march in Strakonice, further mobilisations took place in Zlín and Ostrava on 27 June and a rally of public service trade unions took place in Prague on 29 June, with EPSU affiliates involved. The trade unions issued a public statement calling on the government to withdraw its proposals for budget and public sector pay cuts and not to make the same mistakes as the government of 2010 that imposed austerity across the public services
The recent elections in several European countries that resulted in gains for extreme-right parties and even brought them into government were discussed at the constituency of the Mediterranean unions.
The OSZSP health union joined the first in a series of protests around the country in opposition to the government’s austerity programme. The demonstration took place in Strakonice in South Bohemia and was organised by the OS KOVO metalworkers’ union. Further protests in June are due to take place in Zlín, Ostrava and Prague. The campaign is backed by the CMKOS confederation as the austerity measures will have a massive impact across society. Public service workers are facing a freeze on salaries this year and the prospect of a 5% cut in pay next year.
New ETUI publication - Beyond economic growth: The role of trade unions in the transition to well-being
A further contribution to the ‘beyond growth’ or ‘post-growth’ debates, the recent ETUI working paper sets out the case against the pursuit of undifferentiated economic growth and advocates substantial changes to European economies.