Statement of the parties of the European Communist Initiative on the right to work and the protection of the unemployed

  • 4/23/15 12:12 PM

Despite the misleading messages of European bourgeois governments and the European Union, the unemployment figures remain at very high levels in many countries in Europe. In the countries where official figures are low, the jobs that are created are insecure, transient and highly precarious with low wages and few employment rights.

The huge destruction of productive forces that followed the outbreak of the capitalist crisis is now followed by the creation of jobs which are characterised by poor working conditions, low pay and that cannot meet the most basic needs of working people.

The direction which the EU follows is the promotion of “mobility”, “casualisation” and the “flexibility” of employment and labour relations, thus exposing workers to increased vulnerability, diminution of their rights and subjection to the will of the employers. The use of agency workers to undercut the pay and conditions of other workers increases the level of exploitation, intensifies the race to the bottom and demonstrates the hypocrisy of the EU and its governments with regard to immigration. Research has shown that workers employed on low paid precarious work are more likely to suffer poor health together with anxiety and stress as a result of financial and social uncertainty.

Young workers are particularly vulnerable to the problem of unemployment. The structures of the European Union take advantage of their situation to modify the entire system of labour relations through programmes such as “youth guarantee” and the “youth contract”, which only serve to “recycle” unemployment and fund the employers under the pretence of providing training.

The European Commission has recently offered some data on job creation maintaining a predicted unemployment rate above 20% in countries like Spain and Greece, which means more misery for millions of workers.

The working class and working people in the European countries should not be fooled by official figures that count as employees those who work for weeks, days or even hours, while those who are taking training course are excluded from unemployment rolls.

Millions of workers in Europe have lost all hope of finding a job and survive on family benefits or miserable social assistance programs. The protection of the unemployed is decreasing and new measures restricting the rights of unemployed workers are constantly put in place.

Unemployment means desperation, social isolation, poverty and misery for millions of workers and their families. This is intensified by the brutal increase in exploitation. Fear of job loss and the ever-present threat of unemployment allow employers to savagely punish the entire working class.

Forced chronic mass unemployment and its consequences, including emigration, suffered by broad sectors of the working class in all capitalist countries without exception, exposes the lies of the bourgeoisie about the viability and functioning of capitalism. It refutes the fallacy that if all of us "join forces" the “economy” will be saved. The sacrifices of the working class, whether accepting intolerable conditions, wage cuts, diminishing rights and increasing inequality, have not prevented the closure of plants and workplaces and their relocation to countries where slave-like conditions increase the profits of the employers.

Unemployment is not a natural phenomenon but a necessary condition of the development of capitalism which is unable to provide decent living conditions for the workers and peoples. Since unemployment is inherent in the capitalist system, it can only disappear through the overthrow of capitalism, as demonstrated by the experience of the Soviet Union and the socialist countries, where unemployment was unknown.

We call on the working class and popular sectors to fight firmly to defend their labour and social rights and for the highest level protection for unemployed workers. In each country, our parties are at the forefront of the struggle for immediate measures for the protection and relief of the unemployed. At the same time, we affirm that, under capitalism, no right is guaranteed and it is necessary to link the struggle to defend the right to work with the struggle for the construction of workers' and people's power which will put a definitive end to the scourge of unemployment.

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