STATEMENT
by the General Confederation of Trade Unions
in Connection with the European demonstration
for Higher Pay to Be Held in Ljubljana
Moscow, 1 April 2008

On the 5th of April 2008, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), in collaboration with the Slovenian Confederation of Free Trade Unions, is organising a mass international demonstration in Ljubljana, the capital of Slovenia, in the framework of the latters Presidency of the European Union. Many thousands of workers from different countries of the European Union will take to the streets of the city on this day to demand higher pay. The demonstration, to be held in connection with the forthcoming meeting of the EU Economy and Finance Ministers and the leaders of the European Central Bank, will be the key event in the Europe-wide campaign for fair wages and salaries launched by the ETUC.

European trade unions are campaigning against the falling shares of wages and salaries in the national incomes of most European countries, reject the repeated calls by European leaders for wage moderation by workers, with the rewards of corporate directors and other top managerial staff steadily increasing, and protest the gender inequalities in the sphere of work remuneration.

They demand improvements in the purchasing power of their pay, decent minimum wages in all European countries, a narrower gap in pay among the countries of the European Union, between the corporate boardroom and the shop floor, and between working men and women.

The General Confederation of Trade Unions notes that the trade union movement in the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States is concerned with basically the same unsolved problems as are facing the ETUC and its affiliated unions.

In 2007, the average monthly wages ranged from US$ 48 in Tajikistan to US$ 529 in Russia. Most CIS countries are paying minimum wages below the subsistence minimum, with a sizeable percentage of workers getting less than two dollars a day, which, by international standards, hits the poverty line. The vicious practice of pay delays has not yet been eradicated either.

The GCTU affiliates are now waging a solidarity-based campaign to raise the minimum pay at least to the level of subsistence minimum. As they carry out the decisions taken by the GCTU 6th Congress, trade unions in the Commonwealth member states are building up their efforts to win fair work remuneration.

In this context, the General Confederation of Trade Unions affiliating national trade union centres from nine CIS countries and 31 industrial trade Union Internationals of the region pledges its support of the struggle for decent wages and salaries being waged by European trade unions under the leadership of the ETUC, and expresses its fraternal solidarity with the demands put forward by fellow trade unionists who will participate in the Ljubljana march on 5 April. We call on our member organisations to give support to the protest by workers of the European Union countries in whatever form they may find appropriate.