European trade unions urge action to tackle cost-of-living crisis

BRUSSELS, Oct. 5 (Xinhua) -- European trade unions on Wednesday demanded that the European Union (EU) take urgent action to tackle the cost-of-living crisis.

In a demonstration held in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, European trade union leaders called for urgent measures "to tackle the cost-of-living crisis by ensuring pay rises, emergency support for struggling families, a cap on prices, taxation and redistribution of excess profits and wealth."

The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), French unions and several union federations and confederations joined forces in the demonstration, which was followed by an event inside the European Parliament where the unions presented their six-point plan.

"Governments and the EU cannot sit this crisis out. The price of inaction or adopting the wrong response, such as interest rate increases, pay freezes or return to the failed austerity agenda, will be catastrophic," the unions said in their plan.

They demanded pay rises to meet the increase in the cost of living and to ensure that workers receive a fair share of productivity gains, as well as measures to promote collective bargaining.

They also asked for payments targeted for people struggling to afford their energy bills, put food on the table and pay the rent. They said people in poverty could not be expected to pay unaffordable bills and called for a ban on power disconnections.

In their list of demands, the unions demanded price caps, especially on energy bills, and a watertight tax on excessive profits of energy companies to prevent them from profiteering from the crisis.

Inflation in the eurozone rose by 10 percent in September, a new record high since the launch of the single currency in 1999, according to a flash estimate published last week by Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Union (EU).

The rate increased from 9.1 percent in August, a previous record, Eurostat said.

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