Europe needs a pay rise – it’s time for our recovery!

Today, The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) launched the campaign for a pay rise for workers throughout Europe: to drive economic growth and tackle inequality.

Over the last two days European trade unionists have been discussing the need for pay rises with employers and Government at a conference in Brussels.   

“Europe needs to talk about pay rises” said ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini. “Pay rises, by boosting purchasing power, are an engine for economic demand, growth and jobs. Pay rises are essential to get Europe out of near low or no growth.”

“Workers have been losing out years. Wages not kept pace with productivity for decades. Wages are falling compared to profit, shares and capital income. The percentage of low wage earners is a scandal. The persistent gender pay gap is a long-running embarrassment, and the scale of the difference in wages between EU member states is not acceptable. Minimum wages are intolerably low in some countries, and do not even cover everyone.”   

“The best way to achieve sensible pay rises is though collective bargaining between trade unions and employers” said ETUC Confederal Secretary Esther Lynch. “Employers and trade unions need to start a new wave of wage negotiations, and the EU and national economic policy needs to start encouraging pay rises and collective bargaining.”

“European trade unions are determined to get pay rises back on the agenda, for the first time since the financial crisis.”

The Employment Minister of Luxembourg, Nicolas Schmit, and State Secretaries for Employment from Portugal and Slovakia, all spoke out strongly in favour of pay rises for workers.

Speaker after speaker from trade unions across Europe argued that


  • wages are falling behind productivity,

  • profits are not being fairly shared with workers through pay rises,

  • collective bargaining needs strengthening,

  • EU and national economic policy needs to reflect the positive effect of pay rises on social justice and economic growth.

Trade unionists taking part included elected leaders from Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Spain.   

For more information check out:

The campaign launch video
And follow the campaign on Social media #OurPayRise