This European Pay Rise campaign is also an important step in our fight to achieve equal pay for equal work throughout ‘Equal Pay for Equal work throughout Europe’. Despite similar levels of education and skills, doing the same jobs and performing at similar levels of productivity, workers in Eastern European countries get lower wages. This no longer acceptable!
In order to achieve upward wage convergence, we need to:
- Strengthen and/or rebuilt Collective Bargaining structures where they have been destroyed or when they do not exist;
- Extend the Collective Bargaining coverage;
- Ensure a minimum wage which guarantee a decent living where needed;
- Still a long way to go but need to continue pushing.
What are the premises for the Pay Rise Campaign?
- For years, wages have been considered as the sole cost adjustment for recovery. Yet, far from bringing about recovery, wage cuts and wage moderation have only ended up leading to stagnation, increasing inequality and social hardship.
- Boosting purchasing power is key to driving economic growth in Europe. Wages must be considered as the main tool in terms of sustaining economic recovery, fighting inequality, and ensuring the fair distribution of wealth. At this point, even the European Commission acknowledges that domestic demand is the most important component of economic growth in Europe (European Commission, 2016)
- It is the workers who have paid the highest price for the crisis and they are still not feeling the economic recovery. According to recent research (March 2017) published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), in seven of the EU Member States, wages are lower now than they were eight years ago. The research also shows that, in 18 EU countries, wages have grown much slower over the seven years following the economic crisis than in the eight years preceding it.
- A pay rise is also necessary in order to combat precarious jobs, which are often jobs with low and unstable wages, and in‐work poverty, which has reached an unprecedented level in Europe. Today, in‐work poverty affects 10% of European workers. Making sure that wages provide workers with a decent living must be an absolute priority!
IndustriAll Europe will call on the European institutions, national governments and European social partners to assist EU Member States where lower wages exist, to build capacity, establish effective collective bargaining at sectoral level, and to increase their membership and negotiating power. Meanwhile, minimum wages, where they exist and trade unions want them, need to be substantially increased.