This event brought together ETUC, ITUC and Sectoral Federation leaders to explore and discuss collective bargaining and pay policy in Eastern Europe. It threw a glance at potential solutions that can be demanded from the EU, member states and employers to support unions in their fight against corporate greed.
Workers in 11 central and eastern EU countries are paid up to €944 less per month than workers in Germany when costs of living are taken into account and the difference is larger, when adjusted for the composition of the workforce and structure of the economy. Workers are paid even up to €1058 less than workers in Germany when such factors including the age and education of the workforce other sectors and occupations that the workforce are employed in are also taken into account. These are results of a new research on the true size of EU east-west pay gap in a study published on 22nd September 2017 by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), presented in the conference.
The study can be found at ETUI.
To the event came General Secretary of ETUC Luca Visentini, ETUC Confederal Secretary Esther Lynch, General Secretary of ITUC Sharan Burrow, General Secretary of IndustriALL Luc Triangle, UNI Europa Regional Secretary Oliver Roethig, Minister of Labour from Slovakia Jan Richter, Minister of Labour from Luxembourg Nicolas Schmit, President of KOZ SR Josef Kollar (Slovakia) and President of CMKOS Jozef Stredula (Czech republic) and more than 100 representatives of trade union federations from 10 European countries. They discussed about:
· Facts about wage unfairness and corporate greed in Europe
· Workers testimony on unfair pay and the challenges faced by unions organising to fight corporate greed
· Expert presentations on unfair pay in Eastern Europe and potential solutions to close the east-west pay gap
· Strategies for strengthening collective bargaining as the best means for securing decent work, fair pay and
fighting corporate greed
· High level responses on how to take the campaign forward at international, European and sectoral level.
Workers in central and eastern European countries urgently need and deserve pay rises above inflation. The EU and national governments must encourage wage growth in these countries and create legal frameworks to promote collective bargaining, including at sectoral level. Workers in north-west Europe are better paid due to a fairer and more balanced system of setting wages, involving trade unions and negotiations with employers. Also, that is a key ingredient of the prosperity and industrial success of Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and the Nordic countries.