Rising electricity and gas prices are making the energy bills of millions of Europeans unsustainable, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) warned Tuesday.
“About 9.5 million workers were already struggling to pay their energy bills” before inflation hit a record 9.1% yoy in August in the euro zone, CES says, based on a study. of the European Trade Union Institute.
An increase of 38%.
From July 2021 to July 2022 the cost of gas and electricity increased by 38% across Europe “and continues to grow”. As a result, in sixteen member states of the European Union (EU), including France, “workers paid the minimum wage must set aside the equivalent of a month’s wages or more to keep lighting and heating their homes,” they deplore. the trade unions. In 2021, this was the case in only eight of the twenty-seven EU Member States.
In 2022, an Estonian worker has to work twenty-six more days than in 2021 to pay the annual energy bill and a Dutch worker twenty days more.
“More than a month’s salary” to pay the annual bill
In Slovakia, Greece, the Czech Republic and Italy, “the average annual energy bill now represents more than a month’s salary for an active worker paid the average wage” in his country, the ETUC points out.
“When the annual bill costs more than a month’s salary, there are no tricks to save money,” said CES Deputy Secretary General Esther Lynch, quoted in the press release. According to her, “these prices are simply not bearable for millions of citizens”.
“Stop the unsustainable price increases”
The trade unions are therefore calling on European governments, which will meet at the end of the week in Prague to discuss energy issues, to “put an end to unsustainable price increases”. In a six-point plan for the continent’s policy makers, they are demanding higher wages and especially minimum wages.
The ETUC also calls for limiting energy bills and taxing the “unexpected profits” of energy companies. Paris and Berlin have pushed in recent days for a simple “contribution”, not fiscal, from these companies.
“Political leaders need to grasp this crisis before it costs lives this winter,” insists Esther Lynch.