Private bill and resolution, unanimously agreed at the annual congress of the German metal workers' trade union IG Metall on 22 October 2015.
Greece may have put pen to paper and signed an agreement to adopt a third, forcibly-imposed ‘Memorandum of Understanding’, but this certainly does not mean an end to the euro crisis. Far from it: this type of ‘crisis management’ only exacerbates the problems in those countries most affected by the crisis, and blocks the pathway to the reforms they actually need. The troika, the eurogroup and the German federal government’s steadfast determination to cut social services, destroy collective wage agreements, privatise public infrastructure and burden the wider population will lead to the bleak economic outlook, high unemployment and growing inequality that we now see within the single currency area becoming the norm. In recent weeks we have also witnessed serious attacks on trade union rights and tariff autonomy in Finland and the UK.
These events are evidence that the EU and the European Monetary Union are being deliberately turned into mechanisms to impose anti-social policies and to dismantle the existing system of democracy. These actions encourage national chauvinism and xenophobia, and are also giving rise to further anti-democratic sentiment across the countries of Europe. And Europe’s current mishandling of the refugee crisis has only made these developments even more extreme.
In response to these recent events, we at IG Metall declare that we shall oppose these threats and will continue to strengthen our position as a strong force in support of a united and democratic Europe:
- IG Metall advocates shows of solidarity from European trade unions to our colleagues and those unemployed in Greece and other crisis-hit countries, and will oppose growing nationalist propaganda with a publicity offensive.
- IG Metall openly opposes the austerity policy being pursued by the eurogroup and the German government, as well as all efforts to force Greece and other ‘EU/IMF programme countries’ to adopt a low wage strategy. Europe does not need its countries to embark on a race to the bottom; it needs to strengthen everyone’s basic social and democratic rights.
- In order to improve the situation in crisis-stricken countries, we need a European growth and investment programme that goes far beyond the so-called ‘Juncker plan’: an alternative has already been suggested in the form of the ‘Marshall plan for Europe’ and the ‘European Investment Plan’, both put forward by trade unions. IG Metall will, at both the European and bilateral level, advocate the further development of the content of these plans and work to improve their visibility within the EU institutions. Greece and other crisis-hit countries must be offered substantially greater access to investment funds, and the scope of future investment must be expanded in order to minimise the economic damage resulting from spending cuts. Trade unions, environmental organisations and other active forces of civil society must increasingly make themselves heard in the debate by voicing their own suggestions for strategic areas of investment, as well as ensure transparency so that ambitious targets are actually met.
- As part of a broad alliance, IG Metall will advocate for a more social and more just Europe. Any citizens’ groups and individuals in Germany and Europe interested in taking part are invited to join us and share their ideas. The discussion about the best possible way to bring political matters to the fore and achieve the goals we set out for European workers and their trade unions must start now.
Translation: Veronika Peterseil