Some media in Greece reproduced the last days a report by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) on "the need to raise the minimum wage in Europe and Greece". They add in the report comments by the ETUC saying: "The EU should set a deadline for the fixing of minimum wages. Obviously, this cannot happen overnight, but the goal must be set across the EU"
In fact, the media reproduce the position of an EU mechanism - because the ETUC is not a workers’ union, but a tool of the EU, an instrument for promoting class collaboration and social dialogues within the trade union movement-. And what does the ETUC say?
"Workers do not fight, do not fight in the workplace, but email to the EU, who is good and can, give pay rises, not today of course, but some day." It is the same arguments that several trade unionists promoted in Greece to support SYRIZA to become Government, “Do not fight, vote for SYRIZA to be government and the Government will restore the wages”.
But the slaughter of our wages, our pensions, and workers’ rights was not a metaphysical outcome. It was demanded by the business groups, Europe's multinationals, etc. and then imposed by the European Union and the governments of each country.
Also, the ETUC, as well as the media that reproduce its positions, conveniently forget that the cuts in the minimum wage in Greece by 32% was co-signed by GSEE (Greek Confederation of Workers), which is a member of the ETUC. But also in the rest of Europe, were the unions members of the ETUC (CGIL, CISL, in Italy, CGT, FO etc. in France, DGB in Germany, TUC in UK), who have played a leading role in the surrendering of workers’ rights and wages.
In the same way, the wages of one-day or one-week, part time, or zero-hour workers are even lower than even today’s minimum wage. And these unacceptable working relations, flexible working relations, outsourcing-modern slavery, the ETUC and its member organizations have accepted under the argument of supporting competitiveness and capitalist development. In the same direction the ETUC and its trade unions today undermine the workers’ right to Strike.
The ETUC and its member organizations have huge responsibilities for the current situation of the working class of Greece and the countries of Europe. Their role is dirty and dangerous.
The class oriented trade union movement of Greece, is leading the struggle for the restoration of Collective Agreements and minimum wage, to recover the losses of previous years, to defend the collective action of the workers and the right to Strike in Greece.
The well-paid executives of the ETUC should be more careful next time, where they try to present themselves as guardians of the workers.