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Congress says EU competitiveness boards could cause wage 'race to the bottom'

Date Released: 27 October 2015

The Irish Congress of Trade Unions has expressed "deep concern" at new EU proposals to establish National Competitiveness Boards that would “inform the wage setting processes” in all Eurozone member states.

Congress General Secretary Patricia King has sought an urgent meeting with An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, on foot of the EU Commission proposal in order to “express our strongly held view on this serious matter.”

The proposal to establish Competitiveness Boards in all Eurozone member states emerged from an October 23 Commission meeting and has already drawn strong criticism from the European Trade Union Confederation, which called for the plan to be shelved.

According to Patricia King, the proposed boards “could infringe upon the autonomy of social partners in collective bargaining and wage setting. Such a mechanism is unacceptable to workers and their trade unions and would, we believe, lead to a wage ‘race to the bottom’, resulting in depressed internal demand, deflationary risk and prolonged economic depression across the Eurozone.”

Congress pointed out that the National Competitiveness Council already fulfils a similar role, and “does not intervene in wage setting processes.”


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