The ETUC has published its manifesto for the 2024 European elections, featuring 12 commitments for 'Delivering a Fair Deal for Workers', which it will present at the European Parliament on 15 November 2023. See below for the full text.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) represents over 45 million workers and their 93 national trade union organisations and 10 European trade union federations.
The 2024 European Parliament elections are the most important European parliamentary elections for many years. They will determine whether Europe remains on the path of progress and solidarity we saw in its response to the Covid-19 crisis, and support working people and their communities across the continent; or whether it will return to austerity, with its attacks on working people.
The ETUC and its affiliated organisations value their autonomy. This manifesto is an invitation to endorse the commitments listed below as a vision for Europe for the next five years.
The vision carried by this manifesto is of Europe as a community of people and nations where everyone is free to live in peace and work without fear of poverty, insecurity, disrespect, discrimination, violence, war or oppression: A Europe that is a great place to live, work, bring up your children, care for your loved-ones, and retire and grow old. A Europe that delivers the European Pillar of Social Rights in practice. A Europe that protects fundamental human rights, including reproductive rights, thriving to achieve gender equality.
We are inviting all European parties and candidates to endorse these values and priorities, which are drawn from the ETUC Charter of Values, Berlin Manifesto, and Action Programme adopted by trade union leaders from across Europe at our 15th Congress in May 2023.
We call on parties, movements and working people to repel the threat of the far-right, which dishonestly claims to support working people when, in reality, it attacks their trade unions and their democratic rights, dismantling human rights and women’s rights in particular. Cooperation with far-right forces in the European Parliament and other European institutions should be rejected.
We call on working people, students, pensioners, and all people in Europe to vote in the European elections and to make their voice heard for a fairer and more social Europe.
In spite of advances won by trade unions and other progressive forces, there is a social justice emergency in Europe. Over the past year, working people have suffered record real-term pay cuts while unscrupulous employers continue to register record profits. Meanwhile, the EU institutions threaten to return to austerity and open the door to further deregulation, punishing workers.
Instead, we need the European elections to deliver a Parliament and a Commission committed to work for a fair Europe with secure jobs, decent pay, excellent public services, women’s rights and equality for all, strong workers’ rights, and reinforced collective bargaining and social dialogue. Attacks on trade unions must be prevented: union busting must be punishable as a crime. This is necessary to defend and reinforce democracy in Europe.
Together we can achieve this essential mission for a Europe we can be proud to pass on to future generations.
TWELVE COMMITMENTS FOR A FAIR DEAL FOR WORKERS
1. Better jobs and incomes
Take effective EU action to protect jobs and incomes, including pensions, with decisive measures to address the social dimension of the cost-of-living crisis. Europe needs a pay rise! Promote wage increases and support upwards convergence in incomes and working conditions, including through the introduction of a European framework to promote upward convergence on wages, and stronger action at EU level to eliminate the gender pay gap.
2. End precarious work and improve working conditions
End precarious work by guaranteeing legal rights to permanent contracts and full-time work, and a ban on unpaid internships. Increase workers’ control over working time flexibility and reduce working time. Protect teleworkers’ rights, including the right to disconnect, and ban invasive and disrespectful surveillance.
3 Support for trade unions, collective bargaining and social dialogue
Defend and strengthen trade union and workers’ rights, including the universal right to organise, union access to workplaces, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike. Increase collective bargaining coverage, including through an ambitious transposition of the Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages, targeting 80% coverage, and the Directive on Gender Pay Transparency. Reinforce democracy at work in the first place by strengthening collective bargaining, introducing a comprehensive EU framework on information, consultation and participation and fully safeguarding well-functioning collective bargaining systems.
4. Safe work
Improve and expand the EU occupational health and safety legislation and other European initiatives to achieve zero deaths at work or caused by work, including domestic workers. Address psychosocial risks and online harassment and shaming at work through a European Directive. Introduce EU legislation that establishes temperature limits for work. Develop initiatives to ensure the full enforcement of workers and trade union rights and reinforce labour and social law inspection services and complaint mechanisms. Ensure an end to all forms of gender-based violence in the world of work, including online.
5. Reject austerity - an economy for the people and the planet
Reject a return to austerity policies and promote a new economic model centred on the real economy, job creation, decent work, and redistribution through fair and progressive taxation. Ensure a revision of economic governance rules that includes the termination of the EU Fiscal Compact and the reform of the Stability and Growth Pact to align it with the achievement of the rights included in the European Pillar of Social Rights. Provide member states with the necessary room for manoeuvre to finance the investments for a fair twin transition. Implement a new fiscal capacity for investment, an EU sovereignty fund for just socio-economic transition and common goods, leaving no one and no region behind. Regulate financial, energy and food commodities markets and tackle speculation. Combat tax evasion and avoidance and ensure that excessive profits are taxed.
6. Strong industrial policy and public services
Implement a strong European industrial policy with significant and effective public and private investment that underpins quality jobs and social progress. Guarantee universal rights-based access to high-quality public services, including childcare and transport. Ensure the full respect for the right to adequate, decent and affordable housing. Guarantee quality services and a right for service workers to provide quality services.
7. Public money for social progress
Apply strong conditionalities, covering social, tax and environmental criteria, linked to all forms of public funding and support to business. Revise EU public procurement rules to ensure that public money goes to organisations that respect workers’ and trade union rights, that negotiate with trade unions and whose workers are covered by collective agreements.
8. Ensure just transitions
Guarantee a just digital transformation based on human-centred digitalisation and the effective regulation of AI with the ‘human in control’ principle incorporated into EU law. Achieve climate targets through a just transition, including a directive for just transition in the world of work through anticipation and management of change, based on the principles of trade union involvement and collective bargaining. Ensure the right for all to lifelong training without cost to the worker and during working time.
9. Fight against social dumping and fraud
Regulate the role of labour intermediaries and introduce an EU general legal framework limiting subcontracting and ensuring joint and several liability through the subcontracting chain. Improve the enforcement of labour mobility rules by a more effective European Labour Authority (ELA).
10. A fair, rights-based approach to migration and asylum
Strengthen safe, legal and regular migration pathways, enhance protections, rights and support for migrants and asylum-seekers within the EU. Save lives in the Mediterranean and at the external borders, also by re-introducing an EU search and rescue mechanism. Refuse borders externalisation policies and oppose multi- and bi-lateral agreements with States that do not comply with the rule of law and do not respect human rights.
11. A progressive role for Europe in the world
Ensure that the EU acts globally and through its trade policy, in line with our social model, to promote peace, democracy, human rights, the rule of law and global economic justice, including to end Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
12. A fairer and more democratic Europe
Establish a Social Progress Protocol, to be included in the Treaties, to guarantee that workers’ and social rights take precedence over economic freedoms. Promote a reform of the European institutions to ensure a more social and democratic EU. Support EU enlargement based on the full respect of workers’ and social rights, social dialogue, and the EU social acquis. The ETUC and our affiliates are asking European parties and candidates to support the worker and trade union values and priorities set out in this Manifesto for the 2024 European parliament Elections – and to work with us to achieve specific measures to support these values and priorities at European level in the 2024-2029 Parliament.
Access multiple language versions here.