Europe must act fast and effectively to mitigate the impact of the war on the economy, companies and workers, or else risk great economic instability and social demise.
Leaders of industrial trade unions in 38 European countries came together last week for an extraordinary meeting of industriAll Europe’s Executive Committee to express solidarity with workers and civilians in Ukraine. They stand united in condemning the brutal aggression and demand an immediate stop to the attacks on Ukrainian civilians, workers and cities.
In a joint declaration, they call on the EU institutions to make every effort to achieve a cease-fire and to build diplomatic action for starting a peace process.
The Executive Committee is also calling on national governments to welcome and support all refugees fleeing from the war, regardless of their nationality, and to facilitate their integration into labour markets and society.
The fallout of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine already goes far beyond the terrible humanitarian crisis we are witnessing. The war and sanctions are affecting energy security, supply chains and trade, as well as increasing the cost of living. And we are only seeing the beginning.
Addressing yesterday’s Tripartite Social Summit for Growth and Employment*, industriAll Europe’s General Secretary, Luc Triangle, described the major impact the war in Ukraine is already having on industrial sectors and jobs. He urged the EU to act.
“The energy price rise crisis, in combination with the ongoing war, is heavily impacting companies and workers.
“Disrupted supply chains are causing production stoppages, for example in the automotive sector. Other companies are stopping production because energy prices are too high. EU sanctions have also started to hit our workers. Several companies owned by Russian oligarchs are not financed anymore and workers receive no salaries.
“Europe must act fast and effectively to mitigate the impact of the war on the economy, companies and workers, or else risk great economic instability and social demise.”
Fast action to ensure Europe’s energy security and supply is urgently needed. RePower Europe, the EU’s policy proposal for affordable, secure and sustainable energy, must deliver in developing domestic energy sources and also lead to a new energy policy that is far less market driven, with greater stability in terms of wholesale and retail prices.
“The crisis caused by the war must not stop us paying attention to the need to tackle climate change and fighting for social justice”, insisted Luc Triangle. The European Green Deal remains the right strategy for Europe, and we must continue our efforts with regard to energy savings, renewable energy and decarbonising our economy, whilst ensuring a Just Transition for workers.
Europe also needs to make sure that wages go up.
“Decreasing purchasing power, high energy prices and inflation are hitting millions of people in Europe, very hard. That’s why we need wage increases to ensure a fair wage-led recovery. This is also key to deliver the twin green and digital transition.”
The international trade union community is steadfast in demanding a stop to this war and stands ready to work with the EU, governments, within the labour movement and society.
*The Tripartite Social Summit brings together the EU institutions (European Commissioners and European Council), the EU presidency and the European social partners in high-level dialogue.
Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication)