May Day Statement From EU Unions
” It is only when the sky is dark that we can see the stars .”
Long live the 1st May
This sentence, pronounced a few decades ago by Martin Luther King, has not aged a bit. We chose to take it as thread and across borders, at a time when we are preparing to write our speeches and trade publications for the feast of 1st May
The health crisis we are still facing has indeed plunged us into the dark. An intense black in which very quickly appeared thousands of stars ! Workers in factories, supermarkets, couriers, nurses, storekeepers, garbage collectors, taxi-train-tram-metro-bus drivers, energy specialists, garages, all of our service providers and “basic necessities ” , all the public service and administration agents, who ensured the continuity of basic or essential products … All the representatives of these professions in which we often have to fight to make ends meet and who have maintained the ” System ” standing !
Go further than simply limiting the damage :
• Workers are the biggest victims of the coronavirus crisis. Those temporarily unemployed have lost much of their purchasing power and many are now at risk of losing their jobs, such as temporary workers and workers on fixed-term contracts. No way for us to leave them by the wayside !
• Moreover, if society and the economy continue to turn in times of crisis, it is thanks to the workers, as well as to the maintenance of their purchasing power. It will therefore be necessary to restore the human dimension of work as well as reassess its value, which the system has lowered to the rank of a simple cost of production, in the same way as goods or raw materials. Recognise work and pay it fairly, with a special focus on the lowest wages. A fair job, not “just a job”!
• The global pandemic in which we are immersed is proof of this, health and safety must be put back on the agenda of our priorities. Trade unions have a key role to play as negotiators both in companies and at sectoral and inter-professional levels.
• The prevention and protection plans in the workplace must be the result of consultation between workers, employers, medical advisers and experts. Investments in personal protective equipment must be stepped up. It is unacceptable – with or without a pandemic – that workers do not even receive adequate protective equipment from their employers.
• We plead for a strengthening and tightening of inspections in this area. This idea meets with strong reservations, as if the only goal was to sanction. But if all the guidelines are followed, there is no problem. The employer who protects the health of his workers has nothing to fear from the inspection.
• The collective reduction of working time must be put back on the negotiating table, especially in this context where everyone is working harder and longer. This will promote a better distribution of work while significantly reducing the number of accidents, burnouts and other ailments linked to stress and overwork. It will also promote a much better work-life balance.
• Solidarity is the glue of a society just as a good health system is essential to our well-being. If the damage was limited during this unprecedented health crisis, it is thanks to the State and social security. This is why we must invest to strengthen public services and consolidate the funding bases of social security… Invest, refinance, consolidate, shape a more sustainable and united world. Review the redistribution of wealth to assign it to new priorities.
This of course requires tax justice, so that the tax is better and more equitably distributed.
Digitisation, energy transition, environmental impacts, short circuits, industrial relocation,… all against a backdrop of post-corona societal reorganization… In memory of activists, the challenges have never been so numerous nor have they seemed so complex.
The health situation, which we are going through, cannot serve as a pretext for multinationals and the rest of the economic power to deregulate labor relations, by leveling wages down, increasing working hours or making the situation of workers even more precarious. workers.
The months to come and the years that follow will be decisive for the international trade union movement because at a time when vaccination seems to be at cruising speed, at a time when a return to a normal life seems to be on the horizon , it is up to us to organise ourselves to prevent a return to the abnormal and demand a fair distribution of wealth. The return of profit as the sole engine of society, while companies have benefited from billions of euros of public money.
It is only when the sky is dark that we can see the stars, we wrote, beginning with these few lines. But one cannot live forever in the dark any more than one can deny the existence or underestimate the importance of the stars in broad daylight. We will remember it, wherever we go, wherever we sit: ” Do not play with our workers, the shareholders and the bosses at the risk of triggering…the real star wars”