On the eve of Labour Day, the leader of the Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament Iratxe García called on the European Commission and the EU member states to urgently act to create a safety net so that companies and the self-employed can overcome the lockdowns and lack of activity without lay-offs.
Iratxe García said:
“This year, the first of May is not like any other year. The time has come to update our values and make sure that workers’ rights and decent jobs are protected during and after the COVID-19 crisis.
“More than 50 million Europeans could lose their job; mainly in the fields of tourism, culture and retail. Now is the time to help them, and help businesses retain all their workers, and also to support the self-employed and those with precarious contracts. No one should be left behind.
“It is much more difficult to create new jobs once they have been lost, so a temporary safety net to survive the storm must urgently be put in place. The longer the crisis goes on, the longer the harmful impact on the labour market will be.
“A strong Social Pillar is more important than ever. The European Union must support member states to finance measures for short-time work and income compensation arrangements which cover all workers - including non-standard, self-employed, precarious and undeclared ones - and companies of any size.
“Thanks to our political pressure, the EU will establish a temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). Together with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) we demand that this scheme will have enough funding to help workers at the time they need the most. This should be a first step towards a permanent European Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme based on grants, not loans.
“In this situation, it is of utmost importance to defend strong unions and collective bargaining. Only together can we ensure that the most vulnerable employees are not obliged to give up their rights or put their lives at risk. We need a European minimum wage, so every worker in Europe earns enough to live with dignity. It is not enough to just applaud health workers, supermarket cashiers, cleaning staff, truck drivers and other workers that ensure our safety and well-being during this crisis. They deserve proper working conditions and decent salaries.
“And let’s not forget that many women still make less than their male counterparts for the same work. It’s time to put an end to the gender pay gap!”
You can follow the Progressives online event on “Labour Day 2020 - Progressives leading the recovery” on Friday, 1 May at 17.00 - here