By standing united and coordinating our actions, we are also sending a signal to employers and policymakers that industrial workers in Europe are fighting this battle side by side.
Amidst an intensifying cost of living crisis, fuelled by record inflation and energy price hikes, industriAll Europe affiliates have started their negotiations, campaigns and mobilisations. This year, the national campaigns and bargaining rounds are supported and framed by a common European campaign ‘Together. In Action. For Higher Wages’. The campaign, coordinated by industriAll Europe, will be officially launched on 3 October.
As an important step in this common European mobilisation, industriAll Europe’s General Secretary, Luc Triangle, participated today in IG Metall’s collective bargaining commission ahead of the first round of negotiations for the metal and electrical industry in the region of North Rhine Westphalia (NRW), Germany*. He was also invited to be present in the negotiations.
”I am glad to have the opportunity to be in Gelsenkirchen, at the start of these essential negotiations, in one of Europe’s biggest and most important industrial regions.
Workers and trade unions throughout Europe are facing similar problems and struggles. They are fighting for their share of the substantial profits that most companies are still generating. And they are confronting the huge impact that the energy crisis and record high inflation are having on workers' purchasing power.”
“With our common European campaign, we want to push employers and policymakers to ease the cost of living crisis that is squeezing workers. By standing united and coordinating our actions, we are also sending a signal to employers and policymakers that industrial workers in Europe are fighting this battle side by side. The presence of our European trade union federation in the bargaining round in North Rhine Westphalia today is a good illustration of what we can do together.”
IG Metall’s demand for an 8% wage increase is not an isolated one. It is in line with demands made by trade unions in neighbouring countries. FNV in the Netherlands is asking for a wage increase to compensate for inflation, plus an additional €100. Belgium already has a system of automatic wage increases in line with inflation, but employers are demanding that this system be frozen. Trade unions are fighting back and a national demonstration has been announced to take place in Brussels on 21 September. A second general strike in the space of one year is planned on 9 November. In Austria, the trade union PRO GE is planning a demonstration on 17 September in connection with their upcoming bargaining round. They will be calling for a minimum wage increase from €1500 to €2000.
IndustriAll Europe’s campaign will run from the beginning of October to the end of November - based on common European demands to support our affiliates’ campaigns at national level. Workers and their unions will be mobilising for higher wages, stable purchasing power and urgent measures to address the energy crisis:
- A pay rise that guarantees decent living standards
- Fair taxes on companies and the wealthy
- Support for workers affected by the cost of living crisis
- Financial support for companies struggling with energy costs, with guarantees to save jobs and raise wages
- Sectoral bargaining so workers can win better pay
* In the German metal and electrical industry, negotiations started in mid-September in the collective bargaining regions of IG Metall, with a demand for an 8% increase in wages. The North Rhine-Westphalia region started negotiations on 16 September.
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