EMF Manifesto for more and better industrial jobs
European industrial workers are facing the challenge of a life-time. Now is the time for European politicians to stand up and actively pledge their commitment to fight for the creation and maintenance of good quality jobs in European manufacturing.
A long period of industrial restructuring has today been further intensified by the reckless and immoral behaviour of the banking sector. It is manufacturing workers who will bear the hardest brunt of foolish decisions made on Wall Street and in Europe’s financial districts.
Restructuring has been taking place in virtual social vacuum at EU level. While social Europe has been stalled, we have witnessed the liberalisation of labour markets, the greater introduction both precarious employment and economic flexibility, and changes in our welfare states which promote greater wealth inequality - especially in relation to unemployment policies and pensions. Wages and labour costs have been targeted undermining purchasing power and consumer demand. Only a strong and effective social Europe can revive citizens’ enthusiasm for the European ideal. Social Europe cannot exist without strong national trade unions, with strong employers’ organisations as counterparts, and fully developed collective bargaining rights.
Policy-makers should focus on the real economy. The current crisis stemming from the financial markets not the real economy, in the context of climate change, demands a fundamental change in Europe’s social and economic policy framework. Under the threat of recession and growing unemployment, we urgently need coordinated and sustainable social, economic and industrial policies to ensure public confidence in the economy and stimulate economic demand, protecting jobs in the real economy.
It is not too late to act and there are opportunities for industrial workers in these challenges. These must be grasped. Economic and industrial policy should be directed towards developing a new model of growth based on innovation, eco-efficiency, sustainable technologies, carbon-lean production and the internalisation of ecological costs.
This manifesto sets out the EMF’s 5 key demands for the European Parliament elections.
1. Strengthening of social Europe
- the defence and promotion of social and labour rights, including a guaranteed right to strike at European level;
- credible life long learning, active labour market policies including all workers, and the promotion of social and economic security;
- socially responsible anticipation and management of change;
2. Ensuring manufacturing workers do not bear the brunt of financial crisis
- Financial market re-regulation in Europe and effective supervision, including better corporate governance and regulation of private equity and hedge funds;
- International coordination on the creation of global consensus on currency markets and financial market regulation;
- Growth-oriented monetary, fiscal and budgetary policies not inflation-busting and wage moderation;
- A European smart growth and investment initiative as a concrete means of stimulating demand and employment growth in the real economy;
- EU harmonisation of company tax both as a tool to avoid fiscal dumping;
3. An effective industrial policy underpinning sustainable development
- further development of the integrated approach, bringing together all policies which have an impact on industry: sustainability, regional policies, social policies, education, trade, competition, macro-economic policies etc.;
- greater integration of sustainable development into EU industrial, economic and enterprise policies, including sectoral impact assessments and action plans to promote sustainable development and emissions reductions;
- the development of new industrial strategies and visions;
- the maintenance and sustainable upgrading of Europe’s industrial infrastructure;
- public R&D investment of at least 1% GDP, the development of innovation alongside R&D programmes, and a framework promoting long-term public-private partnerships for the development of new technologies and markets;
- renewed efforts to address skills gaps in many industries making the issue a priority in various policy areas (education, labour market policies, science policy), while prioritising the monitoring of emerging skills needs and establishing sectoral skills councils at EU level, including the social partners;
- structured involvement of social partners in the decision-making and implementation process, social impact assessments of all Commission legislative proposals, the reinforcement of sectoral social dialogue, and the creation of a tripartite observatory on industrial policy;
4. An energy policy responding to the needs of European society and industry
- a re-evaluation of the Commission’s strategy on the liberalisation of energy markets and an increased role for the public sector in energy markets;
- national planning and initiation of new major energy projects to ensure long term supply of electricity as well as investment in more and improved energy technologies;
- protection for the weakest groups in society from fuel poverty;
5. International trade policies working for workers
- promoting trade not as a goal of itself but as part of a strategy for growth and prosperity in the developed and developing world;
- the inclusion of social and ecological clauses in all free trade agreements, whether bilateral or multilateral;
- ensuring that workers subject to restructuring as a result of trade liberalisation are covered by anticipation policies and adequate support measures.
Towards a proactive European manufacturing agenda
Europe must guard its ambition to maintain and develop high value-added industrial activities. Industry remains vitally important for a successful European economy to create jobs, to boost productivity, to fuel innovation and to raise social standards. Industrial policy must try to anticipate and manage change in a socially responsible way. There is no doubt that an active industrial policy, able to tackle the radical transformation industry is undergoing and to mobilise the economy and society around a sustainable industry, will contribute to maintaining and developing a world class industrial activities within Europe and will be able to deliver on its social and environmental objectives.
Using the crisis as an opportunity: the need for proactive European industrial policies in the next 5 years
31 March 2009, 15:00-17:00h
Panel debate with Günter Verheugen, Poul Nyroup Rasmussen and Peter Scherrer