Working people in many EU countries are still earning less today than before the crisis. This is the result of the dismantling of collective bargaining, the growing number of precarious jobs and labour market slack. 

IndustriAll European Trade Union is consequently calling for better wages and greater purchasing power. The Pay Rise Campaign is a crucial element in our European trade union federation’s efforts to bridge pay gaps (North/South, East/West, Gender Pay Gap, Productivity Pay Gap…) to achieve better wages and greater purchasing power for everyone. 

During Workplace Week we let the workers do the talking! Across the European Union, North and South, East and West, our affiliates explain their reasons why we need a pay rise. 

Jussi Pekka-Ahonen, Teollisuusliitto ry, Finland reminded us that “about 82% of the new wealth created last year went to the top 1% of the world.” He also stated that in Finland, a country considered by so many as progressive and prosperous, there are a growing number of young workers who are really struggling just to live off of their salaries and so we need a pay rise!

A mother of 2 children, Valeria Vanáková, OZ KOVO ADAMPOL Žilina, Slovakia thinks that the costs of basic items in Slovakia has increased rapidly in recent times. She believes that prices in other parts of Europe and prices in Slovakia are already the same. She also knows that there is a big difference between her salary and the salaries in western Europe. 

Jörg Hofmann, President of IG Metall, Germany explained that IG Metall’s latest collective bargaining round was a great success. Our colleagues in Germany achieved 3 significant goals including; a decent wage increase, greater autonomy over our working time and a contribution from the employers for better work-life balance and health.

Mrs. Harriet Katajisto, EWC Member, DIFF Union, Finland stressed that regular pay rises improve citizen’s opportunities to buy goods and services locally and domestically.

Laura Abella, UGT FICA, Spain outlined that women in the textile sector in Spain suffer from discrimination and the wage gap, which reaches 23% on average. Women in Spain earn 6,000 euros less than the average man every year.

Thomas Kloesch is a young member of Pro-GE in Austria. He feels that in recent years, only shareholders have benefitted from economic improvements. Now it's time for employees whose resilience created profits to benefit.

Barbora Beranová is a member of the Czech OS KOVO Trade Union at VALEO. As a single woman, she feels that the money she earns is sufficient for her as an individual. “I can’t afford much but I live a normal life.” The problem comes when she tries to plan ahead – for young workers the future is anything but clear. “When I look into the future, if I have family, mortgage, etc., I can’t imagine that my wage is sufficient.” A wage increase is the priority of her company trade union organisation. They actively participate in the negotiations and are campaigning for a Pay Rise.

The recent most Eurofound Quality of Life Survey showed that in 11 European countries, more than half of the population are having difficulties making ends meet every month. A pay rise is justifiable way to tackle rising inequality and in-work poverty, and to generate growth and recovery for the many, not the few. 

Better wages must be achieved by promoting and reinforcing collective bargaining structures as these are the only tool to ensure a more equal distribution of income and all-round higher wage levels. This should to be combined, where necessary, with the implementation of a minimum wage, which would guarantee a decent living for every worker in the EU.

IndustriAll Europe is working hard to defend the autonomy of the social partners in collective bargaining, to promote quality employment and high social standards and to ensure that every worker receives their fair share of the wealth created.

IndustriAll Europe supported EURACTIV’s Tweets of the Week for Workplace Week.

All of the video testimonies can be found on YouTube.

Find out more about Workplace Week HERE.

Find out more about the Pay Rise Campaign HERE

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