Speech by Katja Lehto-Komulainen, ETUC Deputy General Secretary
Let me address three points on behalf of the European Trade Union Confederation.
The ETUC is proud to be part of the EMIN network – and bus tour - promoting adequate minimum income schemes throughout Europe.
- The right to an adequate minimum income is a key demand today: we need to ensure an acceptable and dignified standard of living for all.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urges the European Commission to include in its forthcoming ‘European Company Law package’ binding measures to protect workers and end ‘regime shopping’ which allows companies in Europe to move their headquarters to another Member State where they pay less taxes and lower wages regardless of where their genuine economic activity take place.
Belgian and international trade unions have demanded the immediate release from prison of former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. In a letter delivered to the Brazilian ambassador in Brussels, the CSC, the FGTB as well as the ITUC and the European Trade Union Confederation stated that Lula’s arbitrary imprisonment is a threat to democracy.
Trade unions in Asunción, Buenos Aires, Geneva, Jakarta, Lima, London and Rabat are also gathering at Brazilian embassies today, following protests in recent days in Madrid, Montevideo, Paris, Rome and Washington, D.C.
New figures calculated by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) show that wage increases in the European Union over the last 16 years would have been FOUR TIMES higher if they had fully reflected productivity increases.
It is standard economic theory that wage increases should follow productivity increases. But in Europe productivity has increased far more than wages.
From 2000 to 2016 productivity increased three times more than wages in Germany and Croatia, and two times more than wages in Poland and Belgium.
According to media reports the European Commission will today recommend that Albania and Macedonia start EU accession negotiations, and be critical about Turkey’s lack of progress towards EU fundamental human rights, justice and freedom of expression.
The European Trade Union Confederation
Today the European Council will approve a ‘European Framework for Quality and Effective Apprenticeships’.
This is largely based on proposals made by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) https://www.etuc.org/press/trade-union-contribution-quality-apprenticeships-europe in 2016 - the culmination of work by trade unions including through European ‘social dialogue’ with employers.
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Speech by Katja Lehto-Komulainen, ETUC Deputy General Secretary, at the Tripartite Social Summit
Brussels, 21 March 2018
Dear Minister, Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The economy is recovering, indeed, but slowly, and major problems remain, especially in the ability of labour markets to provide enough high-quality employment to go around. The total hours worked in the EU are still below pre-crisis levels, and the average hours worked per employee are well below.
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Speech by Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary, at theTripartite Social Summit
Brussels, 21 March 2018
Prime Minister, Ministers, Presidents, Vice President, Commissioners, social partners,
We acknowledge that the economic situation and employment rates in Europe are improving.
Responding favourably to the European Commission’s proposal today for a 3% minimum tax on revenues of large digital companies such as the GAFAs (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon), the ETUC calls on the EU and all Member States to ensure that “digital value” is taxed where it is created.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urges MEPs and EU Governments to support the compromise deal on the Posting of Workers Directive agreed last night in ‘trilogue’ negotiations between the European Parliament, Commission and Council.
The ETUC is pleased to send you the new edition of the ‘Workers’ Voice – National UPdates’ newsletter, outlining a selection of recent trade union successes and innovations at both national and sectoral level.
This bulletin is published online four times a year. We focus once more on how European unions are working constructively, in different countries and at different levels, with other actors such as employers, governments and civil society organisations, to promote justice and social progress, and to improve the lives of workers.
Working people in 9 EU countries are earning less in 2017 than they did in 2010!
The countries are Italy, UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Finland, Croatia and Cyprus.
Working people in 6 of those countries – Italy, UK, Spain, Belgium, Greece and Finland – also earned less in 2017 than they did in 2016.
The figures are contained in a new report ‘Benchmarking Working Europe 2018’ published on Monday 19 March by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) – see below for details.
The EU and the UK Government should take up the proposal of the European Parliament for a future EU-UK relationship based on “a level playing field” including “social and workers’ rights”, says the European Trade Union Confederation.
In a resolution to be voted on today, the European Parliament says that membership of the internal market and the customs union is the only solution to guarantee “frictionless trade and fully preserve the benefits of our economic relations”.
The European Trade Union Confederation today welcomed the European Commission’s Social Fairness package.
ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said: “These initiatives should bring some real improvements for working people and ensure that the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights are implemented through binding measures that make a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s a step forward which the ETUC welcomes as far as it goes.
Commenting on the publication of the EU economic policy ‘semester’ winter package and country reports, Katja Lehto-Komulainen, Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said:
For International Women’s Day, on March 8, trade unionists across Europe are calling for a swift adoption of the proposed EU Directive on work-life balance.
EU legislation in this field will strongly enhance women’s employment opportunities and enable a more equal take up of family-related leave by couples.
If adopted the new Directive will strengthen rights in many member states, according to a study* commissioned by the ETUC:
On Thursday 8 March EU chief negotiator Michel Barnier will discuss Brexit with trade union leaders from all over Europe.
The trade union leaders – meeting at the European Trade Union Confederation Executive Committee (ETUC) - will adopt a statement calling for any Brexit deal to maintain EU standards for workers’ rights and to minimise disruption to trade between the EU and the UK.
The ETUC calls on MEPs and Governments to approve last night’s agreement on the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive, providing it offers full equal pay and protection for Europe’s posted workers.
“At last posted workers could have a guarantee of equal pay,” said Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary, “and better protection. For some of Europe's 2 million posted workers it offers the prospect of a long overdue pay rise.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has calculated that if the proportion of GDP made up by wages were the same as in the early 1990s working people in the EU would have earned an extra €1764 in 2017 alone!
The proportion of GDP made up by wages has been in decline since the mid-1970s. Wages made up 72% of EU GDP in 1975, and in 2017 made up less than 63%.
Calculating wages lost from a ‘wage share’ set at a very moderate 66% (the level it reached in the EU in the early 1990s) would give all workers in the EU an extra €1764 in 2017 alone.
The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) are calling on the European Commission to take up concerns about Kazakhstan's violations of freedom of association during a meeting of the EU-Kazakhstan Cooperation Council meeting on 26 February.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) calls on the European Commission to withdraw its recommendation to restrict the right to strike of air traffic control staff.
“The right to strike is a fundamental right” said Esther Lynch, ETUC Confederal Secretary, “and the European Commission has no right to undermine it.
“The European Commission is acting contrary to the EU Treaty, the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, and the European Pillar Social Rights.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) today called on EU leaders to support a budget for working people and not only increases in defence, security and external border control spending.
EU Heads of State & Government meet on Friday to discuss political priorities for the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) after 2020.
The ETUC urges EU Presidents, Prime Ministers and Chancellors to look beyond the “narrow set” of European Commission “options” presented in their Communication on a “New and Modern” MFF last week.