Sunday

16th Jun 2019

Debt crisis harming industrial relations: EU report

EU austerity programmes are putting the bloc's social model under strain by isolating trade unions and employers, a report by the European Commission indicated Thursday (11 April).

Launching the 300-page report on 'Industrial relations in Europe in 2012', EU Employment Commissioner Laszlo Andor said that there was "a clear need to revitalise industrial relations across Europe" adding that co-ordinated austerity cuts had "brought a wave of industrial unrest" across Europe.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Industrial unrest has soared as a result of the economic crisis (Photo: CGTP-IN)

Andor said there was a need "to reinforce the role of social partners at all levels if we are to come out of this crisis and preserve the benefits of the European social model."

The words come as governments across Europe have cut public spending to rein in budget deficits. Bailout countries have seen the severest industrial unrest.

But the commission report found that reforms had been imposed on workers with little consultation.

Policies in Greece had been "decided unilaterally by emergency decree with virtually no attempt to involve the social partners," while consultation with workers in the likes of Spain, Italy and Portugal had been "fragile" and "tokenistic."

Greece also saw the highest number of strikes, with a total of 838 between January 2011 and April 2012 including 46 general strikes.

The troika of international lenders has increasingly been criticised for imposing stiff conditions and large public sector job cuts as part of bailout packages.

Prior to a meeting of EU leaders in March, demonstrators protested in the commission's economic and financial unit, headed by commissioner Olli Rehn.

Andor, one of the few left-wing commissioners and outspoken on the need for growth policies, maintained that there was no internal conflict between his department and that of Rehn's.

Meanwhile, the EU executive also revealed large disparities in industrial relations and trade union strength.

Workers' groups are particularly weak in central and eastern Europe. While 70 percent of workers in western member states are covered by collective wage agreements, this sinks to 44 percent in eastern Europe.

The commission noted that in Latvia and Lithuania the "weakness of organised labour has persuaded trade unions to accept austerity packages."

Trade unions 'dare' EU to hold referendum on economic pact

Angry at economic governance proposals by EU leaders that aim to push down wages, public sector unions have "dared" governments to hold referendums over a 'Competitiveness Pact' currently being hashed out behind closed doors.

Mass strikes, protests hit Italy, Spain over EU-imposed austerity

Popular anger over Europe’s strategy of austerity for exiting the eurozone crisis spread to Italy on Tuesday as the country was paralysed by a general strike. Hundreds of thousands of ordinary Italians poured into the streets of over a hundred cities and towns to protest what Brussels, Frankfurt and Berlin demand.

EU parliament backs whistleblower law

MEPs backed an EU law to protect whistleblowers from retaliation in both the public and private sectors. EU states will have two years to transpose the directive.

EU commission to map gender recognition

The European Commission will start looking at how EU states determine genders - as part of an effort to make it easier for people to determine their own identities.

News in Brief

  1. EU plans to restructure eurozone bonds
  2. EU ups US imports in beef deal
  3. Unicef: UK among 'least family-friendly' in Europe
  4. Czech PM: No joint 'V4' candidate in commission race
  5. Johnson tops first round to replace May, three eliminated
  6. Bratislava will host new European Labour Authority
  7. Juncker cautions against further climate goals
  8. Study: Counterfeit medicine is a 'growing threat' in EU

Stakeholder

FIFA's schools programme aims to reach 700m children

Football clubs today invest huge sums of money in youth development and court talented young players from an early age. Children are the future – not only where football is concerned, but also for society in general.

Opinion

A fundamental contradiction in EU drug policy

The knock-on affects from a 'war on drugs' in Europe is creating problems in Albania - and as far afield as Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Bangladesh and the Philippines.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021
  3. Vote for the EU Sutainable Energy AwardsCast your vote for your favourite EUSEW Award finalist. You choose the winner of 2019 Citizen’s Award.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersEducation gets refugees into work
  5. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  6. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  7. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  8. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  9. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody

Latest News

  1. 'Russian sources' targeted EU elections with disinformation
  2. Top EU jobs summit dominates This WEEK
  3. EP parties planning 'coalition agenda' ahead of jobs summit
  4. MEP blasts Portugal over football whistleblower
  5. Catalonia MEPs are a judicial, not political, issue
  6. Meet the lawyer taking the EU migration policy to the ICC
  7. Europe's oil supplies 'at risk' after tanker attacks
  8. EU paths fork for Albania and North Macedonia

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us