Resolution adopted by the Joint EMF/EMCEF/ETUF-TCL Executive Committee

01/02/2012

The right to strike is non-negotiable!

For years European leaders have met regularly with the intent to save the financial industry and the banking system from total collapse. They have put up billions of tax payers’ money in a tireless effort to keep the goodwill of undemocratic rating agencies. The success of these gigantic rescue packages is slim and there is still no end to the crisis in sight.

Public debts have grown to unprecedented heights while millions of citizens are suffering the effects of short-sighted austerity policies and budget cuts even in the most fundamental social services. The new EU Fiscal Pact, agreed at Monday’s summit meeting by 25 of the 27 Member States, only further consolidates this trend by introducing a system of sanctions instead of incentives for sustainable investments.

Every day we learn about new redundancies and unemployment rates - especially amongst younger workers - reaching all time highs. We have never been this far away from the “European dream” of prosperity and social security for all citizens. Not only social services, but also fundamental social rights have come under severe threat. Competition, growth and profit for companies seem to be the prevailing forces that drive politicians.

Recent documents from the European Commission reveal that it is foreseen that the workers’ right to take industrial action - the ultimate weapon for protecting workers’ interests - is to be limited by EU law in certain cases. Instead of creating a dynamic, economic framework and providing high-quality employment, the rules of the common market are being altered to hold down ordinary, hardworking and tax-paying citizens while others rake the benefit from their efforts.

In their joint Executive Committee meeting, the EMF, EMCEF and ETUF-TCL declared that:

- The single market is not an end to itself, but is established in order to achieve social progress for the peoples of the European Union.

-Economic freedoms and competition rules cannot have priority over fundamental social rights and social progress. In the event of conflict, social rights shall take precedence.

- Economic freedoms cannot be interpreted as giving undertakings the right to exercise them in order to evade or circumvent national, social and employment laws and practices, or for the purposes of unfair competition with regard to wages and working conditions.

-The rights to bargain collectively and to take industrial action are fundamental and non-negotiable.

The social situation in Europe is under severe threat. This is why the Joint Executive Committee calls upon the affiliates of all three federations to fully support the ETUC Day of Action on 29th February 2012, the eve of the European Council of 1st & 2nd March. Jobs and social justice can no longer be kept off the European agenda.

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FEM 1/2012

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