Unions plan day of action on 29 February
By Sophie Petitjean | Wednesday 25 January 2012
The future budget treaty, which will be discussed at the informal EU summit on 30 January, is “undemocratic in both form and substance”. This was the message adopted, on 25 January, by the Steering Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and defended at a trade union gathering in Brussels. The ETUC has already announced a day of action on 29 February, the eve of the spring European Council. “European trade unions are mobilising to say ‘enough is enough’. Austerity measures are not the only answer to the crisis. On the contrary, they cause tremendous social damage,” declared ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol.
The gathering, on 25 January, rallied around 50 union leaders, who met at lunch time outside the Council building (Justus Lipsus, in Brussels). Their objective was to denounce the international treaty that will be discussed by the heads of state and government, on 30 January. “The treaty is not a solution. On the contrary, it hinders growth and social Europe,” read banners. The unions denounce a problem of form and substance. On form, they reject the undemocratic manner in which the treaty has been drafted, ie without consultation of the social partners. On substance, they are critical of the consequences of the new text on social democracy in the EU. “Over and above the undemocratic procedure, it is the content that is unacceptable in the sense that it institutionalises austerity and weakens our negotiating margins. This budget treaty will result only in rejection of the EU and the promotion of nationalist movements,” said Bernard Thibault, general secretary of the French Confédération générale du travail (CGT).
Instead of austerity, the European Trade Union Confederation recommends a strategy based on intervention by the European Central Bank (ECB), the introduction of eurobonds, a financial transaction tax, measures to halt tax evasion, minimum rules for corporate taxation and social rules that protect enterprises. It also calls on all its members (82 trade union organisations in 36 European states and 12 industry federations) to support its message and to participate in the day of action, on 29 February.