Since the 1990s German workers have suffered increasingly precarious work, and the German union bureaucracies collaborated in these attacks with the state and big business. For decades there has been increased inequality with rising precarious employment in the form of low-wage work, working poverty, and temporary employment.
Peter Windeler – ISL – Britain
At the end of March 2018, 7.6 million of the 32.7 million jobs in which social security contributions were being paid were classed as marginal employment. On top of this, about 8.5 percent of full-time employees in Germany also have a mini-Job. British union leaders in favour of Remain do not talk about this mass rise of oppression, exploitation, and removal of workers’ rights in Germany, where 33% of workers are precarious.
So, to say EU workers have better working rights than British workers is completely false. The many decades of centralisation and capital concentration are driving casualisation, poverty, and misery in the EU which cannot be changed by reform. To leave the EU in the struggle to end austerity in all its forms will strengthen the working class and the struggle for socialism. Direct mass workers struggle, a revolutionary programme led by revolutionary parties and by a revolutionary international.
EU Common Agricultural Policy is land theft
- Land ownership in Europe has become highly unequal and in some countries is similar to Brazil and the Philippines – notorious for their unequal distribution of land and land-based wealth. There are about 12 million farms in the EU, the large farms (100 hectares and above) only represent 3 percent of the total number of farms, and control 50% of all farmed land.
- The concentration of land ownership started decades ago but has accelerated. In Germany, for example, a total of 1,246,000 holdings in 1966/67 shrunk to just 299,100 farms by 2010. Of these holdings, the land area covered by farms of less than 2 hectares, shrunk from 123,670 hectares in 1990 to a mere 20,110 hectares in 2007, while farms of 50 hectares and larger expanded in area, from 9.2 million hectares in 1990 to 12.6 million hectares in 2007.
- In Eastern Europe, the concentration of land ownership has been particularly marked since the collapse of the Berlin Wall and a new elite group of speculators/investors have succeeded in capturing vast tracts of land.
- Public money, paid because of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), supported this concentration of land and wealth. In Spain in 2009 for example, 75% of the subsidies were controlled by only 16% of the largest farmers. In Hungary in 2009, 8.6% of farms controlled 72% of all agricultural subsidies. (Further information can be found at https://www.globalpolicy.org/)
The EU does not defend workers
In the Brexit debate (and for decades) many trade union leaderships and many of those on the left that defend remaining in the EU argue that the EU defends workers and democratic rights or that the imperialist EU can be forced (reformed) to do so.
But imperialist EU policies drive brutal attacks against all European workers such as France’s Yellow Vest struggle, “minijobs” in Germany and the Catalunya struggle for independence, and the precarious life of small farmers
The EU has always been anti-working class and has accelerated the attacks on workers throughout Europe since the 1990s. Reforming the EU has meant increasing the powers of big business, oligarchs, landlords, and banks.
The next great episode in this continuous struggle is the ﬁght to defeat pension reform in France.
Austerity, privatisation, and destruction of workers’ rights is not only pushed by all European governments but comes from the centre of European imperialism: Germany, France, and Britain.
However, the EU drive to strengthen international capital and international ﬁnancial control means they are creating the conditions for class and revolutionary outbursts such has been glimpsed in mass struggles in France and before that in Spain.
To say we should remain inside the EU is to give credence to the plans of the EU ferocious land grabs of farming and forestry by the governments, great landlords and the maﬁa and to the drive to precarious work throughout Europe.