Eurobarometer: EU must do more on cost of living crisis

Responding to the Eurobarometer published today by the European Parliament, which shows the cost of living crisis is the biggest worry of citizens, ETUC General Secretary Esther Lynch said:

“This poll should be a wake-up call for European leaders on the cost of living crisis.

“The results show a big rise in the number of people who can’t afford to pay their bills and also deep dissatisfaction with the meek measures taken so far by national governments and the EU.

“Millions of people can’t afford to turn the heating on this winter because energy companies are making record profits but the EU’s windfall tax is too timid and still hasn’t been implemented by many member states.

“It’s time the actions of European leaders matched the scale of the crisis facing families this winter. We need a real reform of the EU energy market so that it acts as a public good rather than a playground for speculators.

“The fastest and most effective way to get money into the pockets of those who need it most would be to give workers a pay rise which covers the cost of living.

“It’s no surprise to see the countries hit hardest by the cost of living crisis according to this poll are those which suffered the most severe attacks on workers’ rights during austerity. EU leaders should learn the lessons and ensure Europe is more resilient in future by restoring security at work and the right to collective bargaining.”

The ETUC has a six-point plan to end the cost-of-living crisis which calls on the EU and national governments to take the following measures:

- Pay rises to meet the increase in the cost of living;
- Payments targeted for people struggling to afford their energy bills, put food on the table and pay the rent;
- Real price caps especially on the cost of energy bills;
- National and European anti-crisis support measures to protect incomes and jobs in industry, services and the public sector;
- Reform the functioning of the EU energy market to recognise that energy is a public good;
- A seat at the table for trade unions to design and implement anti crisis measures through social dialogue.

ETUC research on the cost-of-living crisis:

Profits rise while wages fall

Pension value cut by up to 19% - lives at risk this winter

Shareholder payouts rising 7 times faster than wages

Energy now costs month’s wages for low paid

Rent costs over 40% of minimum wage in 11 countries

Record fall in value of statutory minimum wages