Workers in two thirds of EU member states are receiving a smaller share of their country’s GDP than they were at the beginning of the decade, official figures show.
European Commission statistics show wage share – a key indicator of inequality - has fallen in 18 member states between 2010 and 2019.
Ireland saw the biggest fall in the percentage of GDP paid out in wages at 19%*, ahead of Croatia (11), Cyprus (6), Portugal (5) and Malta (5).
Responding to the European Commission’s review of economic governance, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Trade unions welcome this review of economic governance as an opportunity to draw a line under a decade of harmful austerity and begin a positive programme of investment and upward convergence of working and living conditions that will make Europe fairer for working people by delivering sustainable growth, social cohesion and a socially just transition to a green economy.
The pay packets* of workers in 6 EU countries is lower on average than ten years ago. In a further 3 EU countries wages have been almost frozen over the last decade.
New figures by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI)** show that average pay packets in Italy, Spain, Greece, Portugal, Croatia and Cyprus were lower in 2019 than in 2010.
Average pay packets, adjusted for inflation (and including social security contributions and pay benefits), went down 2010-19 by:
Commenting on the publication of the European Commission’s work programme for 2020, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Ambitious social policies are needed to rebuild trust with working people after the financial crisis. The work programme contains several positive initiatives, including a commitment to define an action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and to deliver an Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme, a European Gender Equality Strategy and binding pay transparency measures.
People earning the statutory minimum wage are at risk of poverty in most EU member states, the latest official data shows.
Twenty-two EU member states have a statutory national minimum wage and the majority fail to meet even the minimal at risk-of-poverty wage threshold of 60% of the median wage. In 10 member states, the statutory minimum is 50% or less of the national median wage.
Commenting on the Resolution adopted by the European Parliament on the upcoming Conference on the Future of Europe, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said: “We welcome the resolution and the excellent work done by the European Parliament in preparation of the Conference on the Future of Europe.
“The Conference should pave the way for a fairer European Union which can provide all its citizens and workers with good quality and well-paid jobs, quality education and training and proper social protection.
Commenting on the European Commission’s Communication ‘A strong social Europe for just transitions’ ETUC Confederal Secretary Liina Carr said:
“We welcome the proposal of the European Commission to present next year an ‘Action Plan that turns the rights and principles enshrined in the Pillar into reality’, to ‘upgrade Europe’s social market economy … and ensure just transitions for all’ and to emphasise job creation.
Commenting on the publication of the European Commission’s proposal for the establishment of a Just Transition Mechanism, ETUC Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet said:
“A socially just transition is essential to winning the support and confidence of working people for the major changes to the economy that are needed to save the planet from climate change. The European Commission’s proposals are important and much-needed.
Responding on the launch of the European Commission’s initiative on fair minimum wages, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said: “It is encouraging that the European Commission recognises that the situation of low wage workers has worsened and wage inequalities have increased. With real wages still lower than a decade ago in many member states despite improved economic performance, action to tackle Europe’s low pay problem is overdue.”
"It is with great sadness that we learned that our colleague and friend Claudio Stanzani passed away yesterday. He dedicated his life to the trade union movement in Italy and Europe. We will be always grateful to him for his passionate and successful work at the ETUC. On behalf of the ETUC I would like to express condolences to his family and beloved" said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
Commenting on the European Commission’s ‘Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy’ published today, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) called for higher EU and national public investment to meet the needs it identifies for social rights, climate action and to tackle precariousness.
“New money is needed to carry out the many good things written in the Strategy about poverty, precariousness and the environment” said Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary of the ETUC.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) supports French trade unions in their protests on 17 December.
The ETUC invites the French Government to consult, and take into account, the proposals of the French unions.
The French unions are unanimous in opposing any increase in the pension age and cuts in pension levels.
Tea Jarc has been elected as the President of the Youth Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC). Along with the President, the Youth Committee has also appointed its "bureau", the steering body which implements the political decisions.
The ETUC is bitterly disappointed that EU has not adopted unanimously a carbon neutrality target for 2050.
"Poland should have embraced the zero emissions target. It would have helped to convince workers and communities in Poland and elsewhere if the European Commission had included earlier this week a comprehensive and ambitious Just Transition strategy, with full details of the mechanism and fund, with the European Green Deal. This would have created more confidence in adopting the carbon neutrality target" said Ludovic Voet, Confederal Secretary of the ETUC.
ETUC supports the European and International Federations of Journalists and other organisations who have called on EU leaders meeting today to push the Prime Minister of Malta to guarantee that all investigations and legal proceedings related to the murder of Maltese journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia are carried out efficiently, transparently and without interference.
Commenting on the ‘European Green Deal’ announced today, Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary said
“With Europe facing a climate emergency, we welcome the Commission bringing forward ambitious climate action. The huge scale of the change required could result in a rise in populism and climate denial unless it is managed in a genuinely fair way.
“Climate action must be matched in its ambition by measures to ensure there is a socially just transition to a green economy for all workers and communities.
With the EU strategic framework for health and safety at work expiring in 2020, the first discussions on a new strategy will take place today at the European Employment, Social Affairs, Health and Consumer Affairs Council.
Ministers from the EU member states are expected to adopt conclusions on a new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work, inviting the European Commission to present a new strategic framework for 2021-2027.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) together with the European Consumers Organisation (BEUC) and the European Environmental Bureau (EEB) have come together to call on the Commission to build a Europe that protects people and ecosystems against chemical pollution.
Climate change is creating and exacerbating risks to workers, the ETUC warned delegates at the United Nation’s climate change conference (COP) today.
On the second day of the event in Madrid, the ETUC held a joint side event with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung to highlight the consequences of climate change for the world of work.
Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet told delegates that the consequences of climate change are already visible through an increased number of wild fires, floods, heatwaves, and other extreme weather events.
On 28 November 2019, several organisations, including the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), extended the EU Roadmap on Carcinogens in Helsinki. The objective of this voluntary action scheme is to raise awareness amongst workers and employers about the risks of exposure to carcinogens.