Euro Unions demand: end austerity and put industry back to work

European manufacturing and industrial unions met in Madrid this week at a specially convened conference to discuss the crisis in European industry.

European manufacturing and industrial unions met in Madrid this week at a specially convened conference to discuss the crisis in European industry. They demanded the revitalisation of manufacturing to drive forward the EU’s faltering economy and an end to austerity.

The conference was addressed by Martin Schultz, president of the European Parliament, along with leading trade unionists from some of Europe’s biggest unions, including IG Metall in Germany; the UK and Ireland’s Unite; Scandinavian manufacturing unions; the German chemical workers union IGBCE; as well speakers from the European TUC and unions from Spain and Greece who have been the hardest hit by austerity measures.

Union speakers highlighted the attacks being made on Collective Bargaining, employment rights and the European Social model as well as the collapse of the manufacturing sector resulting in the loss of millions well paid, skilled of manufacturing jobs and mass unemployment, particularly among young people.

Unions have agreed a joint industrial policy approach to be able to overcome all challenges throughout the EU by building up genuine union solidarity.

The Madrid meeting was themed ‘The future of industrial employment in Europe’, and adopted a manifesto with eleven major policy lines:

  • Restart the economy
  • Make economic governance socially and democratically responsible
  • Foster the social dimension of industrial policy
  • Put the finance sector back in its place
  • Create new qualitative jobs
  • Support Innovation
  • Reinvent the traditional industrial sectors
  • Maximise the social and economic benefits of ICT
  • Address the demand side of industrial policy
  • Strive for sustainable, affordable and secure energy
  • Make global trade work for workers and get the institutional framework right.

The Manifesto also sets out union demands towards national parliaments, the European Parliament and the European Commission for the legislative term of 2014 – 2019.

Unions further demanded maintaining and developing a strong manufacturing base in Europe as a necessary condition for economic growth, creating quality jobs, supporting the transition to an environmentally sustainable industry and finding solutions to the societal challenges that European economies are confronted with.

A special debate also took place on the current economic situation and outlook for the Southwest Region of Europe and the role of trade Unions. European unions exchanged their ideas on how they can achieve the best balance between the social dimension and need for competitiveness with employee involvement.

Download a copy of the manifesto by clicking here

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3 Responses to “Euro Unions demand: end austerity and put industry back to work”

  1. Peter Martin

    Good article:

    Unemployment is high everywhere in the Eurozone. 11% and rising in France. Unemployment among their under 25 year olds is 25%, so why is the EU now fussing about its budget deficit? For some strange reason the EU-powers-that-be have decreed that 3% is the limit and no more.

    The economics isn’t that difficult. If everyone spends what they earn, that includes all profits, and exports are equal to imports, in the same economy in which it is earned in then everything clears. If 3% (GDP) of those earnings is (net) spent on imports then that shortfall has to be made up by government running a deficit for everything to clear.

    Similarly if 5% of GDP is saved then government needs to borrow that from the savers and spend it back in to the economy too. Both the trade balance and the level of savings are outside of government control, especially for a country within the EU using the Euro.

    So, 3% + 5% (These are the figures which are much closer to reality for economies like France, Spain and the UK) = 8%. This is the minimum deficit the government needs to run to stop the economy spiralling into depression.

    So for the rulers of the EU, or the Troika, to impose a 3% GDP limit on government deficits within the EU is criminally insane. They understand all this very well! They understand that Eurozone countries cannot impose trade restrictions. They understand National governments can’t stop the population saving and they understand that’s what people and companies do when the economic future looks bleak.

    The EU powers-that-be have been smart enough, in many European countries, to seduce the centre-left into thinking that the EU is both progressive and democratic. That joining in the EU wholeheartedly is an easier option than taking on reactionary forces directly in their home countries.

    Well it isn’t. The EU reactionaries are just as bad, if not worse. That’s not just an unfounded assertion. It is the 25% + figures for unemployment in Spain and Greece, and high unemployment figures everywhere in the Eurozone which is the real evidence for the truth of that. No amount of social legislation on conditions at work can compensate for not having a decent well paying job.

  2. Rob Stumpf

    Yeah, because money grows on trees. Sure. You can borrow as much as you want without consequence.

  3. interested

    “Unemployment is high everywhere in the Eurozone”
    Not in Germany it isn’t.
    Even Russia is lower.
    Just saying

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