European trade unions have today thrown their weight behind the campaign to stop the far-right in Spain and elect parties that will put working people first.
Esther Lynch, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation representing 45 million workers, travelled to Madrid to join the leaders of the CCOO and UGT unions in launching a manifesto in support of a progressive government.
The manifesto, which Lynch signed on behalf of the ETUC, sets out the choice between politics which acts “in the interests of the elite” or one which prioritises “increasing the rights of the working class.”
The current Spanish government has:
- Raised the minimum wage by 8% to ensure it is 60% of the median wage
- Repealed anti-union laws passed by the last right-wing government that hold down pay and working conditions
- Taken action against precarious work through its Riders’ law which gives workers the right to a proper contract
By contrast, far-right parties have refused during the campaign to support any pro-worker policies proposed by Spanish unions, as well as engaging in denialist narratives around climate change and hostility towards women, LGBT people and migrants.
Sunday’s election will not only decide the future of Spain but also effect the direction of Europe, particularly when it comes to the revision of Europe’s economic rules and avoiding a return to failed austerity policies.
Spain’s government provides one of the strongest progressive influences on the EU and defeating the far-right in Spain would be a boost to progressive forces ahead of next year’s crucial European elections.
The manifesto states:
“The importance of these elections is undeniable. The world, and Europe in particular, is undergoing an unprecedented wave of conservatism and far right-wing extremism. Deeply reactionary forces are fueling a rhetoric of tension and delegitimization of institutions that could have serious consequences for a just, sustainable world order.”
“In the face of proposals that disregard and deny the very existence of collective values, we support those governments and political parties that promote societies that progress, advance and conceive themselves based on justice, respect for human rights and social inclusion. Governments that do not abandon the most vulnerable people and sectors to their fate, and that assume that progress is only possible if it means prosperity for the many and not for the few.”