The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated pre-existing trends in the Graphical sector, increasing the pressure on digital transformation. While sales have fallen in some of our sectors (e.g. printing), and production has been reorganised in others (packaging and tissue), there has been a significant reduction in household incomes which, although partly mitigated by the wide diffusion of job retention schemes at national level, will require a strong economic stimulus plan to compensate for the fall in productive activity.
In this context, pressure on wages and working conditions has increased in many countries, where we are beginning to perceive signs of deterioration in social dialogue and collective bargaining. But Europe needs stable jobs, and families with purchasing power, in order to face an economic recovery and not spiral into a persistent recession like the one produced by austerity policies during the crisis triggered by the banking sector in 2008.
UNI Europa Graphical is holding its collective bargaining conference today, 11 months after the onset of a pandemic that has disrupted every aspect of our lives. Collective bargaining and social dialogue have been no exception.
Our conference must address the challenges of maintaining working conditions and protecting the purchasing power of wages, but also address major transformations arising from teleworking and the digital economy, not forgetting the very specific role that health & safety has acquired during this pandemic.
The conference will serve also as a preconference discussion for the Graphical sector ahead of the UNI Europe conference, which under the theme Forward Through Collective Bargaining, will be held from 27 April 2021.