Message from S&D Group Leader Udo Bullmann for International Workers’ Day

On the occasion of International Labour Day on May 1st, S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann states:

“Workers are the backbone of our societies, the fight for their rights remains at the core our the social democratic agenda. Trade unions and workers’ parties have often succeeded in taming capitalism nationally. However, in times of digitization and cross-border employment, we now must and can succeed at European level. The powerful protest last Friday in Brussels, where I joined 8,000 trade unionists from across Europe marching for a fairer Europe for workers, was a clear signal to show that progressive values are in need for the 21st century to build up a society for the many and not for the few.

“I am proud of what our social democratic family already achieved in Europe in the last term. From our push towards the new work-life balance legislation with a European minimum standard for parental, paternity and carers’ leave to our victory for posted workers, with equal pay for equal work at the same place to become a reality. But our goals go much further than the neoliberal-conservative blocking forces allow right now. We want to establish minimum wages all over Europe, which allow people to live decent lives in their respective countries, and abolish the gender pay gap so that our daughters earn the same wage for the same work as our sons. We also need to reduce the high youth unemployment rates that persist in many parts of Europe.

“These goals are embedded in our fight for more sustainability. To us, both social rights and sustainability have to go hand in hand. We need to tackle climate change but we must prevent the weakest members of our societies shouldering this transformation alone. This is our agenda towards a more social Europe. To establish robust rights for workers in Europe is also the best instrument to fight back right-wing extremists and nationalists who only play on people’s fears and frustrations while offering no improvements for the working class.”