By Jean-Claude Mailly, General Secretary, Force Ouvrière, France
Trade unions affiliated to the European Trade Union Confederation have launched campaigns, in each country, for a general increase in wages.
Force Ouvrière is of course backing this demand.
The fact that the campaign is taking place at the same time in all countries is a welcome novelty because it reflects solidarity in resisting the logic of austerity and social dumping.
We should not forget that at a time when the profits of companies in the CAC 40 [stock market index] in France are exploding, it is only fair that employees, at all levels, should claim their fair share. It is a matter of social dignity and economic efficiency. This applies to the public as well as to the private sector.
It should be noted that the process of financialization of the economy since the 1980s has led to more and more money going into dividends, to the detriment of wages and investments. And when a timid wage recovery gets underway, it is not at the expense of dividends but of investment.
In fact, this general trend towards financialization acts as a levy or imposition on wages as well as on public revenues.
Thus, it is vitally necessary to redress the balance, especially in Europe. Reducing financial profit margins from public and private investment in favour of wages – that is the objective.
Trade unions in Europe, trade unions for a pay rise! We are not opposed to that – far from it – because it not only corresponds to our demands and expectations, but also to one of the essential functions of the union.
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