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.
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