May Day message from ETUC

Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, writes

May 1 is our day. It is the day we celebrate the achievements of working people, labour, and their trade unions.

Only through trade unions will working people get justice and a fair deal. Strong unions mean effective collective bargaining. Collective bargaining - reaching a fair deal with employers - brings better wages and working conditions for everyone, and reduces the gender pay gap.

Europe desperately needs better wages now: working people across Europe need a pay rise. With a pay rise workers will share the recovery of profits, and with more money in their pockets working people will buy more goods and services which is good for business. A pay rise will drive growth and productivity in Europe. 

Working people across Europe need strong trade unions to achieve a more Social Europe. Thanks to trade union efforts the EU is now discussing a new 'European Pillar of Social Rights' with better parental leave amongst other things.  We need to fight to defend that idea, and to achieve more than the modest proposals on the table. Public investment in decent services and to help Europe make a socially just transition to a low-carbon, digital economy that benefits everyone, and leaves no-one behind.

Working people across Europe need strong trade unions to stand together to get through Brexit negotiations without making workers pay the price, without a race to the bottom in working conditions and rights, without massive job losses.

Happy May 1 to all across Europe! Let's celebrate working people and our unions. Let's stand together to achieve renewed social justice now and in the future.