United Left Alliance calls on ICTU to endorse a NO vote for the Fiscal Treaty

The United Left Alliance is calling on the leadership of ICTU to maintain a consistent position on the Fiscal Treaty and call for a NO vote when they meet this Friday to decide their position.

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to which the ICTU is affiliated has come out against the Fiscal Treaty. [We reproduce below sections of the ETUC declaration on the Fiscal Treaty].

The ETUC opposition went so far as to organise a European ‘Day of Protest’ against the new treaty on Wednesday 29th February. In Dublin the ICTU organised a picket of the EU offices on Molesworth Street.

The ETUC said, “The agreement seeks to reinforce existing austerity policies, giving priority to rigid economic rules at a time when unemployment is intolerably high. Once again, market short-termism appears to be dictating our common future”.

“The new treaty reinforces policies that do not work and fails to take up today’s challenges”.

ETUC General Secretary Bernadette Ségol commented: “We seriously doubt that the treaty will be followed by positive effects for the economy and for workers. This agreement offers no long-term prospects for restoring employment and sustainable growth.”

She continued, “Austerity does not work. We know this. It is clear from the effects of austerity measures on Greece that this is not the right way forward. Europe is its citizens, its workers, its young people and retired people. The approach cannot be based solely on management principles and accounts. The latest employment figures from Eurostat are damning. Jobs are the priority for Europeans, who want to be able to live in dignity and plan their future. European trade unions are mobilising to say that ‘enough is enough’.”

Judith Kirton-Darling of ETUC said: “The IMF, the OECD, the ILO, even Standard & Poor’s, which are hardly the friends of the trade union movement, are all saying ‘this is the wrong thing to be doing, this is the wrong medicine, and it can only make the situation worse’.”

From the ETUC declaration on the Fiscal Treaty 25th January 2012:

“The ETUC opposes this new Treaty. The new Treaty is only stipulating more of the same: austerity and budgetary discipline. It will force member states to pursue damaging pro-cyclical fiscal policies, giving absolute priority to rigid economic rules at a time when most economies are still weak and unemployment intolerably high. It will bring downwards pressure on wages and working conditions.

The new Treaty will stifle growth and increase unemployment.

In the absence of sustainable investments for growth, austerity measures will not lead to the solution of the Euro crisis and to employment; they will not either reassure financial markets.

Casting in national constitutions or legislation a strict adherence to public deficit rules will only exacerbate the current crisis.

The need for economic governance is being used as a means of restricting negotiating mechanisms and results in: attacking industrial relations systems and puts downward pressure on collectively agreed wage levels; weakening social protection and the right to strike; and privatising public services. 

The ETUC actively resists these attacks, which, cumulated over the years, will dismantle a social model which is unique in the world. 

The objective seems to be to impose even stricter austerity measures without offering any prospects for growth. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) condemns this approach.

Fiscal discipline alone, in the absence of recovery and investment measures, is dragging countries into crisis. Employment and social justice are top priority today for millions of Europeans”.

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