Towards a new social deal in Europe

Towards a new social deal in Europe


Executive Summary

The dominance of the neoliberal economic model over the past 30 years has caused the economic catastrophe that Europe and the rest of the world are now experiencing.

Too many in the overblown, vastly expanded financial services sector indulged in a modern day version of alchemy.
Long term prudence was ignored as greed and speculation became the order of the day in Wall Street, London and other major financial centres.
The result before the crash was rapidly rising inequality, the growth of precarious jobs and pressure to cut the influence of welfare states, worker rights and collective bargaining. Now to that must be added growing unemployment, cuts in public expenditure and a collapse in demand in many countries.
To ease this situation, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) calls for a New Social Deal as a driver for social justice and more and better jobs.
The ETUC, a key player at European level, is ready to take part in the discussions and implementation of policies affecting social and
employment fields, and is on the offensive for a new social deal in Europe. The ETUC calls for:
More and better jobs: Investment in an expanded European recovery plan to mobilise a new drive for growth and jobs. The ETUC demands the European Council and Commission to draw up a European investment plan totalling an annual 1% of GDP to provide more and better jobs, to promote innovation, research and development, to help employment in key industries, to invest in new, green and sustainable technologies, and to maintain vital public services.
Stronger welfare systems to provide more security and avoid social exclusion. The ETUC demands a meaningful and a strong European Social agenda: to maintain people in jobs with robust income and to ensure protection to workers as well as an appropriate training.
Stronger workers’ rights and an end to the dominance of the short-termist market principles. Stronger rights are necessary to stop the trend of rising inequality. The ETUC demands a Social Progress Protocol giving priority to social rights and collective action and a stronger
Posted Workers Directive. The ETUC also calls for efficient workers’ participation and industrial democracy. Stronger workers’ rights are especially urgently required to stop the rising use of different forms of insecure, non-standard work.

Better pay: stronger collective bargaining. Wage freezes and nominal wage cuts are to be rejected. It is vital as demand collapses to protect purchasing power. The ETUC is therefore seeking a strengthening of collective bargaining and wage formation institutions with the European Central Bank (ECB) also committed to more and better jobs. The ECB must be involved in growth and full employment, not just price stability.
The ETUC demands an advisory board of European social partners to the ECB. European solidarity as a protection against the excesses of financial capitalism: Effective regulation of financial markets, a fair distribution of wealth, and no return to casino capitalism or to the ‘business as usual’ of the past 20 years in financial markets is crucial. The ETUC demands a major increase in European social spending enlarging the activities of the European structural funds, notably the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund. Tax competition coming from deregulated markets must also be tackled because it threatens Social Europe.

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