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General Secretary of European TUC and lead MEP candidate call for renewed Social Europe


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Contact: Ellie O’Hagan
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The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) has released a paper today [Tuesday] by leading European progressives Bernadette Ségol and Jude Kirton-Darling calling for a renewed Social Europe to protect the rights and security of ordinary working Europeans.

A new ‘Social Europe’ would not act as a Europe-wide welfare state but would instead act as a set of common standards and policies ensuring that Treaties for working rights and improved living standards are implemented effectively.

Ségol and Kirton-Darling call for:

  • A robust ten year growth plan with co-ordinated investment of up to 2% of the European Union GDP.
  • A proper industrial strategy for Europe to create and maintain jobs which directly addresses the need to tackle climate change
  • Ensuring collective bargaining and social dialogue are promoted and fundamental labour rights are protected.
  • A fully-fledged banking union and a more sensible timetable for deficit reduction.
  • Reregulation of financial markets which ensures long-term sustainable investment is prioritised.
  • Prioritising fairer taxation, including the agreement of an EU Robin Hood Tax on financial transactions, and concrete action on tax evasion and avoidance in the EU.

Bernadette Ségol said, “the fundamental role of the EU should be to promote a more even distribution of wealth within and between countries. We must deliver a programme for the EU to ensure it meets this challenge.”

Jude Kirton-Darling said, “Austerity has been a political choice in Europe, and its consequences have been disastrous. Europe must now return to sound public accounts through an investment plan for sustainable growth, including smart investment in infrastructure, innovation and education.”


Notes to Editors:
1. The Centre for Labour and Social Studies (Class) is a new think tank established in 2012 by Unite the Union, GMB and the Institute of Employment Rights to act as a centre for left debate and discussion and has the growing support of a number of trade Unions including ASLEF, CWU, FEU, GFTU, NUT, PCS, PFA, TSSA, UCATT, MU, NUM and BFAWU. Originating in the labour movement, Class is working with a broad coalition of supporters, academics and experts to develop and advance alternative policies for today.
2. Bernadette Ségol is the Secretary General of the European Trade Union Confederation. From 2000-2010, she was head of UNI Europa, the European trade union federation for services and communication. She played a significant role in the creation of more than 200 European Works Councils, has contributed to the overhaul of the services directive and fought for legislation covering temporary agency work, using the dialogue established with employers to achieve a better legislative framework within the European Union. One of her main focuses is wage equality in Europe.
1. Jude Kirton-Darling is the lead Labour candidate standing to represent the North East in the European Parliament in May’s European elections. With nearly 15 years of experience working within the Labour and trade union movement, she was elected Confederal Secretary at the European TUC in 2011. She has represented workers in the service and communications sectors, manufacturing and basic industries. Within the ETUC, she directed work in the areas of international trade and development, energy, industrial policy, environment and health and safety.
1. A copy of the essay can be found here:

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For further information, articles, interviews or media requests please contact Ellie O’Hagan on or 020 7611 2571