European Trade Union Institute, ETUI.

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Priority 2: Worker participation and industrial relations


Wages and purchasing power are one of the major concerns of European workers. The economic crisis, austerity policies and labour market reforms have led to lower wages in Europe over the last ten years. In various countries, there is a decrease in the share of wages in gross domestic product (GDP), a strengthening of the unequal distribution of wages, but also a massive and increased wage divergence between the different EU countries. According to Eurostat, one in six employees in the European Union earns only a low salary (i.e. at most two thirds of the median gross national hourly wage).

Wages are a big concern for workers. Since in some countries the scope for collective bargaining had to decrease, trade unions have difficulty negotiating higher wages.

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  • To assess the impact of austerity policies and labour reforms in Europe on collective bargaining and wages as well as interference by the new European economic governance;
  • To examine the wage development of the last ten years in the EU;
  • To identify and analyse the difficulties and obstacles faced by trade unions (including institutional/legal frameworks) to increase wages and improve worker conditions through collective agreements;
  • To find the link between the ETUC campaign on wage increases and the strategies and actions of national or European organisations and their members;
  • To exchange trade union strategies for increasing salaries and collective bargaining.
1852-029 invitation en 1852-029 draft programme en



picto statutEducation officer
Administrative assistant

Elisa Santaniello