Invitation for a European Workers’ and Youth Meeting in defence of pension systems, jobs and public services

Strasbourg (France), on 11 May 2019 – internationalist rally against privatisation, deregulation and insecure work took place under the slogan “ This Europe is not our Europe“.

Dear Comrades, 

Almost one year ago, an internationalist rally against privatisation, deregulation and insecure work took place in Strasbourg (France), on 11 May 2019 under the slogan “ This Europe is not our Europe “ . The rally ended with a call to prepare in each country an indictment of the policy of privatisation promoted by the EU to circulate information and news on the resistance by the workers and youth in each country, and on this basis, to convene another European meeting of workers, labour activists and youth in 2020.

In the last year, we have noted that anti-working-class policies have increased and expanded in each of our countries. At the same time, we have seen mobilisations that express the mass resistance of the working class to those policies.

In this respect, all the workers of Europe continue to follow intently the strike action and protest marches in France against the pensions reform which Macron wants to impose. In our country, Belgium, we have foiled the attempt to change to a points-based pension system, but we know that this project is still in preparation. We are fighting against the retirement age of 67 decided by the previous government, which was inspired by the German “example” which in turn was the result of recommendations by the European Commission. 

In the area of industrial employment, the European Union is continuing to organise its collapse. In Germany for example, the workers of the former state-owned auto enterprise AWE in Eisenach, which was privatised in 1990 and acquired by Opel, then sold recently to the PSA Group, are fighting back against exploitation and threats of closing down a site where 2,500 workers are still employed (compared to 10,000 workers before privatisation). In Belgium, the auto sector has been badly affected by the closures of Opel Antwerp and Ford Genk, not forgetting Renault Vilvorde. On the sites that remain, the workers at Audi-Brussels are fighting against insecure work that is dependent on the uncertainties of production. At Volvo Car Gent, the right to strike has been called into question through the laying-off of trade union delegates. As one trade unionist at Opel Eisenach put it, “we all have a common future, the same difficulties and the same willingness to fight back. We will not allow ourselves to be divided or have some of us set against the others”.

The policy of privatising public services is in reality a policy of destroying public services. For example, in Italy the current budget cuts are due to be facilitated by the regionalisation of school education, healthcare, public services, national contracts and job status, and infrastructure…to the point of allowing the regions to maintain direct relations with the European Union. In Belgium, we know that the same things are at stake, and we note that the public schools system has been attacked to such a point that currently, school students are up in arms and fighting for things like clean toilets and equipment for learning new skills.

Starting from this overview of the policies laid down by the European Union for the benefit of the capitalist class, we consider it necessary to rally our forces in order to defend the gains of the working class and the independence of the working-class organisations, for a united fraternal Europe of the workers and democracy.

We are issuing an invitation to a European Meeting where workers and youth can exchange information and views on the following topics: safeguarding existing pension systems, jobs and public services.

We propose to meet in Liège (Belgium) on Saturday 2 May 2020, from 10.30am to 5.00pm.

In anticipation of the meeting, we send you our fraternal greetings. 

First endorsers ( 13/02/2020)

Gaëtan Coucke, teacher ; Toni Bernardi, steel worker – retired ; Lionel Briké, teacher ; Toni Delli Gatti, teacher Roberto Giarrocco, on behalf of the Unity Committee ; Serge Monsieur, trade unionist, public services ; Brice Rener, teacher ; Anne Vanesse, Chair W. Peers Family House, honorary socialist Councillor; Philippe Ferdinande, trade unionist public sector Brussels; Véronique Lorge, CGSP alr rep pers cap Brussels; Claire Thomas, CGSP rep education Brussels, pers cap ; Jean-Marc Deconinck, teacher trade unionist; Philippe Massenaux, employee ; Emmanuel Dal Cortivo, teacher ; Geneviève Druart, teacher ; Abdelmajid Chaoui, teacher ; Françoise Cambie, training manager ; Camille Pieron, trade unionist, teacher féminist ; Laura Moraga Moral, teacher trade unionist ; Jacques Allard (Kessel-Lo).