The current approach of driving down wages, decentralizing collective bargaining systems and restricting trade union and workers’ rights to tackle the economic and financial crisis has failed according to the findings in the new ETUI/ETUC ‘Benchmarking working Europe’ report launched on Monday 13 March in Brussels. The report advocates an economic re-orientation towards a wage-led growth model and a new wage policy based on appropriate minimum wages, all-encompassing collective bargaining systems and strong trade unions.
Here are some of the main findings of the third chapter on wages and collective bargaining (read chapter 3 of the Benchmarking for more analysis and data):
The figures in the Benchmarking confirm that in order to have a real economic recovery, the EU needs to switch to wage-led growth model. Even the European Commission and the ECB have recognised this in recent speeches but the actual policy implementation seems to lag behind.
This is the reason the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) declared 2017 ‘the year of the pay rise for European workers’ and started a special pay rise campaign. In a press release issued on 13 March, ETUC confederal secretary Esther Lynch said: “It’s time for a real recovery. Workers across Europe need a pay rise. Wages are beginning to pick up but there is a lot of catching up to do.”