Working people in the EU have faced a 5.4% real terms cut in compensation on average in 2022, while shareholder dividends continue to reach record levels. UNI Europa backs the ETUC’s demands for von der Leyen to commit to action to remedy this social justice emergency in her keystone address.
EU Commission President von der Leyen will deliver her State of the Union (SOTEU) address on 13 September 2023. In a letter, the ETUC have put forward three simple solutions to the president:
As the ETUC rightly highlights, fixing the EU’s broken rules of public procurement is key to addressing this social justice emergency. Currently, these rules allow public money to incentivise companies to suppress collective bargaining, push through wage cuts and worsen conditions. The European trade union movement is committed to ensuring that public money is used to forward the interests of working people. The letter reads:
“we call for reinforcement of the Directives on public procurement and concessions to make sure that only companies that respect workers and trade union rights, negotiate with trade unions and whose workers (including their subcontractors’ workers) are covered by collective agreements, get access to any form of public funds, including grants and fiscal benefits.”
This is in line with the demands of over 100 unions and a growing cross-party coalition of members of the European Parliament (MEPs). In the past week, a further two MEPs have signed the pledge in support of this solution, bringing the total to 171 MEPs across 5 political groups.
“This is a make or break moment for the European Union. Either it shows it is ready to take action for working people, or it risks fatally undermining trust in the European project. Workers have suffered sustained real term pay cuts, while the wealthiest have seen their dividends paybacks soar. People will be asking which side is the EU Commission on. This is the moment to answer those doubts and end the unbridled corporate greed that is driving the cost-of-living crisis today. What is needed now for workers is more pay and a real say. The EU set an 80% target for collective bargaining coverage. It is time for the EU to take concrete action to strengthen collective bargaining, to make the 80% target a reality everywhere,” said Oliver Roethig, UNI Europa Regional Secretary.