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DGB: European elections should not become a "think-tank election"

Saxony's DGB Chairman Markus Schlimbach / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa
Saxony's DGB Chairman Markus Schlimbach / Photo: Robert Michael/dpa-Zentralbild/dpa

The German Trade Union Confederation (DGB) in Saxony has warned of a shift to the right in the European and local elections this Sunday. "There is a lot at stake in the elections. Every vote counts in order to strengthen the democratic forces in Europe and in the municipalities," explained Markus Schlimbach, head of the DGB in Saxony, in Dresden on Wednesday. The European elections "must not be allowed to degenerate into a thought ballot". "For employees, the European Parliament is a key player for better working and living conditions here in Saxony. Europe is not far away. Europe is all of us."

As an example, Schlimbach cited the EU Minimum Wage Directive. It is of enormous importance for pay conditions in Saxony. "Not only does it stipulate that the statutory minimum wage should be raised to 60 percent of the median wage in Germany, but it also serves to strengthen collective bargaining coverage. Member states in which collective bargaining coverage is below 80 percent must draw up action plans to strengthen collective bargaining coverage. Germany is one of them with 52 percent. In Saxony, collective bargaining coverage is just 43 percent. Action needs to be taken now and the EU is giving us and the employees in Saxony a tailwind for the collective bargaining turnaround," argued Schlimbach.

Whoever calls for less Europe wants to reduce the EU to the internal market or, in the worst case scenario, pull up borders again. "We must not allow that. The damage would be enormous for employees, companies and society as a whole. Less investment, fewer jobs, cut supply chains, skilled workers who no longer come to Saxony. Especially in the border triangle, Europe must be expanded and not dismantled," continued the DGB boss.

Schlimbach described the local elections in the municipalities, cities and districts as the foundation of democratic society on the ground. "This is where the decisions are made that have a direct impact on our daily lives on the ground. It's about the tasks of public services, the development of infrastructure, educational and leisure facilities, social services, housing, local public transport and much more."

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