Across the squares of Europe, people and their unions are gathering to celebrate International Workers’ Day. After two years of confinement, the festive and burgeoning energy of the workers’ movement will be back on the streets. It is a time to celebrate and a time to regroup.
Unity and solidarity will be required for the coming period. Workers across Europe are facing dramatic hikes in the cost of living. By bargaining collectively, workers and their unions can ensure wages keep up.
Within this context, collective bargaining is more important than ever. It is the main tool by which workers’ can lift their wages and conditions. Under the flag of UNI Europa, services workers’ unions from across Europe are defending, expanding and rebuilding this vital tool.
We call on the European Union to ensure that its policies enhance workers’ collective bargaining say. In particular, it must fix its rules of public procurement to ensure that all companies that receive public contracts have and respect collective bargaining agreements with their workers. Governments cannot be in the business of creating poverty jobs.
Working people are also facing the consequences of Russia’s brutal invasion of Ukraine. In contrast to the darkness of the violence unfolding, acts of solidarity are showing the path to peace. The work led by the Central Europe Organising Centre (COZZ) is one uplifting example of this. Together with Polish unions, they are supporting those fleeing the violence to find the security they crave through decent work.
Only through social justice can we lay the foundations of lasting peace and shared prosperity. It is time to put working people on the front foot. It is time for Europe to move forward through collective bargaining.