A People’s Recovery - Everybody on board For a fairer, greener & digital future!


A People’s Recovery

Everybody on board for a fairer, greener & digital future!

ETUC acknowledges the efforts made to create a €750 billion European Union recovery plan on top of the EU’s long-term budget (ie MFF). Although not enough it represents a much better response to the COVID crisis than the EU’s austerity-driven response to the 2008 financial crisis. With 45 million workers at risk of unemployment the stakes are very high.

The ETUC calls for A People’s Recovery -  not going back to the past, instead  building a socially fairer, climate-friendly, digital future!

To be a People’s Recovery it needs to do more to reflect people’s real needs. It needs to 

  • Save and create millions of quality jobs
  • Increase investment in all sectors of the economy including social and health services
  • Leave no one behind in ambitious climate action that creates jobs and implements a socially just transition
  • Support working people hit by company restructuring
  • Digitalise our economy respecting workers’ rights and giving people more opportunities and control over their lives
  • Guarantee absolutely no return to austerity now or later down the line!

A People’s Recovery should pay out funds only to

  • EU countries that uphold democracy and the rule of law, and
  • companies that respect workers’ rights, collective bargaining and promote the well-being of their employees. 

A People’s Recovery should reduce inequalities and bring fair pay: wage increases for all, stronger collective bargaining (particularly national and sectoral), and better pay for essential workers and jobs, often done by women, that are undervalued and low-waged. Public money should not support the exploitation of working people, it should not help companies that refuse to negotiate fair wages with unions or refuse to discuss their decisions with workers’ representatives.

A People’s Recovery must also involve partnership – unions and employers in shaping European and national recovery plans, and ensuring a socially just transition to a carbon-neutral economy that means recovery for our planet, as well as people’s ability to earn a living.

Our demands to EU decision makers

ETUC asks the EU institutions to improve their recovery plans, not only as outlined in general terms above but also specifically by

  • Reversing the budget cuts to funds such as the Just Transition Fund, the Solvency Support funding and health-related funding, InvestEU, Horizon Europe, REactEU and external action programmes
  • Reversing the cuts to the EU budget proposed by the EU Council, maintaining social investment and reinforcing ESF+
  • Introducing meaningful conditions on respect for the rule of law and workers’ rights into the EU budget and recovery funds
  • Improving the EU’s ‘own resources’ to make recovery funding sustainable for the EU and member states through taxes on corporations, plastics, carbon emissions, digital economy and financial transactions
  • Involving unions and employers in the design, implementation and monitoring of the national recovery plans
  • Ensuring that the governance/emergency brake measures can neither introduce austerity policies nor hold up recovery plans as a means of delaying payments  
  • Implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights as an essential part of the recovery   

It is also essential that national and EU emergency measures, including short-time work schemes and SURE, are maintained until recovery plan investments start reaching the economy: so there is no time gap between the two when millions of workers could become unemployed. These emergency measures must cover all working people who face temporary or permanent unemployment or loss of income.