Compensating inflation is a core trade union strategy in wage negotiations. Price hikes represent a real wage cut for workers and make it difficult for them to make end meets.
The situation in Europe has become critical. The cost of living is increasing across the EU, creating an economic and social crisis the likes of which many Europeans have not experienced in their lifetime. But trade unions are fighting back and rightfully demanding compensation for inflation.
IndustriAll Europe affiliates across Europe have started negotiations and mobilisations to push for higher wages amidst wide concerns for the decrease in living standards and a greater inequality caused by spiralling energy and consumer prices.
In Austria, PRO-GE and GPA demand a pay rise of 10.6% from all the employers' associations in the metal sector against the backdrop of high inflation and record economic growth.
To back this demand, on 17 September, more than 30,000 people took to the streets in several cities to join the demonstration organised by the Austrian trade unions, calling for higher wages. Protesters were also pressing the Austrian government to implement overdue anti-crisis measures to stop the spiralling cost of living expenses.
At the same time, FNV in the Netherlands is calling for a general price compensation for inflation of 12% this year.
This demand does not differ from previous years, stresses FNV. The Dutch trade union's demand for inflation compensation to maintain workers’ purchasing power is long-standing. Their demand is therefore in line with the high levels of inflation.
In Belgium, trade unions are mobilising today, 21 September, calling for action on energy prices and higher wages for workers suffering from price hikes while company profits are soaring.
IndustriAll Europe is fully behind the demands of its affiliates. Compensating inflation is a core trade union strategy in wage negotiations. Price hikes represent a real wage cut for workers and make it difficult for them to make end meets. The number of working poor is exploding, with one out of five workers currently on the brink of poverty in Europe.
In light of this, industriAll Europe is launching its European campaign ‘Together. In Action. For Higher Wages’.
The campaign will be officially launched on 3 October and includes five core demands:
- 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