BWI supports strike wave that sweeps Europe

(Photo: Benoit Tessier/Reuters)

The Building and Woodworkers’ International (BWI), together with its European affiliates, partners and allies, express their highest sense of solidarity to the trade unions and workers who are in the middle of extensive strike actions that hit many countries in Europe.

Just barely a month has passed in the new year, a massive wave of strikes is sweeping across Europe. Workers and their trade unions are demanding job security, better pay and working conditions, and pension protection amidst increasing cost of living and rising inflation. From the French workers’ strike against plans to raise the retirement age from 62 to 64, the British working people’s push for wage increases, the Dutch public transportation workers’ protest against a CBA deadlock, to the Spanish air traffic controllers’ pushback against salary cuts, European workers are fighting back and sending a strong message to the region’s employers that “enough is enough.”

The labour strikes clearly expose the distressing living and working conditions of many workers in Europe, and the governments and employers’ inept response to their legitimate demands and grievances. Battered by a pandemic, and now a global economic crisis, the workers of Europe have resorted to strike actions as a response to the systemic abuses and neglect they have continuously suffered through the years. The labour strike is one of the workers’ most profound expressions of unity and solidarity. Everywhere the workers go on strike, it is always an answer to a great injustice.

BWI calls on the different European governments and employers to listen to the workers’ voices and heed their just demands. We call on them to avail of the various social dialogue mechanisms and sit down with trade unions to come up with concrete policies and solutions that will fully satisfy the workers’ demands. Good faith and mutual respect must reign in these processes. Europe cannot possibly rise from the pandemic and usher in a “new normal economy” by stripping workers of their rights, benefits and dignity. There is no genuine post-pandemic recovery without the workers. Only by providing workers what they truly deserve as the real wealth creators of societies will Europe be able to realise a better future for all.