‘Very worrying’: Trade unions alarmed by EU’s industrial collapse
(EurActiv, 16 Jan 2024) Europe’s major trade union organisations have expressed deep concern about the scale of the EU’s industrial decline, as structurally high energy prices continue to lay waste to a crucial pillar of the bloc’s economy.
Fears were compounded after a Eurostat study published on Monday (15 January) found that month-on-month industrial production in the EU fell by 0.2% in November last year, the third consecutive monthly decrease. Year-on-year industrial output was also down 5.8% in November after declining by 5.4% in October.
“We are facing a very worrying situation,” European Trade Union Confederation Confederal Secretary Ludovic Voet told Euractiv. “These figures are a canary in a coal mine: the biggest hit are the long-term investments in buildings and equipment.”
Voet’s concerns about a lack of investment in key infrastructure are also borne out by the Eurostat data.
Month-on-month production of capital goods such as buildings, machinery, and equipment fell by 0.8% across the bloc in November after dropping by 0.7% in October. Capital goods production was also 8.7% lower in November compared to the same month in 2022.
“The lack of investment we are seeing today is already having dramatic implications for working communities,” Voet warned.
“Factories are closing and jobs are being cut in the very sectors that lifted Europe to where it is today.” These especially include energy-intensive sectors such as the aluminium, fertiliser, and chemicals industries.