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Preparing to Defend Ourselves Against the Billionaires' Austerity
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Preparing to Defend Ourselves

Against the Billionaires' Austerity


The debate about cutting our salaries, pensions and other benefits will soon enough descend into mind numbing details regarding per mille and paragraphs. It is worthwhile to take a good look at the big picture before that happens.

1) The financial crisis was caused by too little and too timid public regulation. Cutting the budgets of public authorities will make the next financial crisis come that much sooner.

2) Austerity programs reduce domestic European demand. That can't be good for European jobs.

3) Austerity programs reduce the resources available for health, education and welfare. This reduces Europe's ability to defend its share of the world market against the surging BRICS.

4) No, there is not a conspiracy of 27 Member State governments afoot with the goal of reducing the EU to a third world protectorate. For elements of an explanation of their lemming like behaviours, see "10) Background Analysis" below.

5) Let us imagine that point 1) through 3) above are somehow wrong and that cutting our income can help Europe. Then the clear conclusion is that all measures taken must include a sunset clause, because they will no longer be needed once the crisis is over. And it would be unfair to punish those whose sacrifices saved Europe by holding their incomes down while its economy booms.

(In the more likely case that 1) through 3) are correct, sunset clauses would help to limit the damage being done.)

6) Generally, SID has deliberately refrained from asking for changes to the Staff Regulations because we expect any feasible package of revisions to bring far more disadvantages than new benefits to staff.

7) Since the Staff Regulations will be up for re-negotiation inevitably, we might as well mention some of the possible improvements that would cost no money at all, or even lead to savings.

One example is opening up internal competitions to Contract Agents as in
Petition 192 . The bad news is that this proposal will not create any of the badly needed new jobs in Europe. The good news; it does not cost the taxpayers a single cent. It can be argued that it will even lead to a certain improvement in the competence of the average laureate of internal competitions by opening them up for more candidates that have proven their qualifications both on the job and by passing an entrance exam.

Another example is to end the malpractice of compulsively imposing retirement at 67 if not at 65. If the employer has doubts about the health of a high seniority colleague, there is always the possibility of asking for a medical examination. Surely doctors can much better judge a person's fitness for work than wall calendars. If people are still fit and motivated to work (perhaps because they have no family living with them anymore and crave the socializing that work brings), then they have every right to do so. The practice of thanking people for decades of frustrating, complex work by retiring them against their will is cruel, life shortening and wasteful. As above, money is saved and social justice is enhanced with a small change to the text.


8) The very lowest salaries paid to Contract Agents are still below Luxembourg's minimum wage. That law was put in place to protect workers in the Grand Duchy from being squeezed too hard by their bosses. From the way the Commission blithely ignores this social protection legislation we can conclude that the interests of the wealthiest 2% are very important to it. But what about our interest?

Imposing an across the board cut on salaries would make the problem of the underpaid colleagues at the bottom of the salary chart that much worse. And it would be proof that the EU Institutions, together with the Member States, are working against the famous "ever closer union" by moving towards harsher class distinctions.

If counter productive cuts are imposed by politicians beholden to the plutocrats, at least the lowest incomes must be spared. In fact the EU should pledge to respect either its own or the host countries' social protection law, whichever is more beneficial.

9) Now that money has become so tight, there are far too many people earning five digit salaries in our midst.

The contention that these high flyers absolutely must be paid 10 000+ EUROs because of their oh so high qualifications is laughable. If they were so smart, why didn't they just prevent the financial crisis and save us all a mountain of money? If any among us share responsibility for the mess Europe is in, they are to be found at the top of the pay scale. And that is the place to cut, if at all.

There is another consideration. The big earners love to hold speeches about their profound commitment to the European cause. Well, one way of showing commitment is to work for the miserable subsistence wage of only 9 999 EUROs.

What to say to one who replies "Sorry, but I will work here for at least 10 000 EUROs, or not at all." The safest answer would be "Good bye. Please drop off your badge at the reception." Because people so attached to their private bank accounts can never be trustworthy public servants. Remember the Eurostat scandal? It was Directors, not ASTs earning half their salaries who were caught with their hands in the till.

Considering the sacrifices that Portuguese workers are being forced to make, questions arise. Has Mr Barroso paid off his mortgage? Are his kids out of the university already? How long could his family survive on 9 999 EUROs?


10) Background Analysis

Again; 2% of the people own 50% of the money on earth 1. We, the lower 98% own the other half of the money on earth.

How is it possible that the 2% and the 98% can, at least sometimes, co exist peacefully inside democratically constructed states? That is the question.

Two mechanisms are at work here.

The first mechanism is that the 2% simply own and control most of the media industry, though not http://sidtu.org . Think of Mr Berlusconi and Mr Murdoch if you want examples. Most of what we know and think is under the control of journalists whose careers depend on the plutocrats' goodwill. That system works, but not for us.

The second mechanism lies in political democracy. The so-called political class makes up around a per mille of the population, but it is essentially for the stability of our system. A cynically rational politician perceives that the 2% and the 98% are equally important for his career. The 2% for generous campaign financing and the 98% for their many votes.

He will loose big-time if he tells his voters openly that fifty of them are barely equal to one millionaire, so he keeps that embarrassing fact to himself and tells us whatever we would like to hear; world peace and strong national defence, more industrial jobs and a clean, idyllic environment, respect for human rights and the war on terror. The main point is to be elected, not to solve problems or tell the truth.

Applying this analysis to our topic, we see that destructively anti-rational policies are being forced through because half of the power lies in the hands of a minority that sees the universal enforcement of regulations as a form of enslavement. The current financial crisis has proven to be lucrative and empowering for them. That is why they are working towards the next one.

Created by: admin last modification: Thursday 16 of June, 2011 [12:47:09 UTC] by admin

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Is this in the interest of Staff? · SID platform · SID on president José Manuel Durão Barroso's State of the Union Address 2011 speech in Strasbourg · X ChamberPot 01 · Goin Viral 01 · Steps CA 01 · Big Bad HR 01 · SID's petition 192/2009 is finally through to the Legislative Committee · Public Sector Strike in the UK on 30 June 2011 and EU Officials Strike in Brussels on 29 June 2011 · Public Transport Petition · May 2011 · Profs de Langue 01 · We've Come A Long Way · X02 ShipWrecked 02 · ShipoWrecked 01 · Limited Careers · Contempt of Court Contempt of Luxembourg · do you want to take the red or the blue pill · SID questions Commission proposal to reform once again the EU Staff Regulations · X01 01 · Defend Pensions FR · Defend Pensions EN · Arbitrary Procedures 01 · Unanswered questions to Mr Kallas · Une déclaration de guerre du Conseil contre le Service public européen · Charte Européenne des Droits fondamentaux : Dernière forteresse de l'espérance ? · Staff General Assembly in support to the Contract Agents · Regarding collective action of SJE and SID against our salary cuts · Clinging to EU charter of Fundamental Rights as the best bastion of hope · How many IT jobs are to be lost as a result of Cloud Computing madness · Budget Line 26 01 02 11 · SID became an affiliate member of Amnesty International UK · SID candidates for Brussel Staff Committee election and their program · SID candidates in VOTE THE CHANGE list in Luxembourg Local Staff Elections 2010 · Message of solidarity from SID to all Irish Public Service trade Unions · A Thought for Mayday 2010 · Mayday 2010, No to Bailing Out Billionaires, Yes to Real Economic Development · Local Staff Committee Rules · Local Staff Election system and results · National Union of Teachers · Highlights of SID platform · Detached from Democracy · Beyond Local Staff Elections · The D stands for Democracy · All you ever wanted to know about SID · The Roots of SID · March 8th; Help Amnesty International Stop War Crimes Against Women and their Children · March 8, Women and Hot Air · Protect the EU from its Friends · Does Admin believe in Miracles? · Corporations versus Citizens; Profit before People · Crucifixion and the CDR · Commission's Admin does its best to cope with the financial crisis · Sammanfattning av nyheter angående Kamangar gjord av studenter på universitetet i Amirkabir · Degradando al personal de la Comision · No to Economic Cannibalism Yes to Social Democracy and Co-decision · On Democracy and local Staff election results in Luxembourg 2007 · Mayday- Mayday Pensions going down · le douteux processus de certification de monsieur kallas · How the method sometimes malfunctions · dubious kallas certification process · articles 64 and 65 · ELECTION DES REPRESENTANTS DU PERSONNEL SALARIE OGBL · 2000 job cuts and what we did about it · In defense of Iranian trade unionists · Faible politique anti harcelement · election results 2007 Luxembourg in Spanish · A Weak Anti Harassment Policy · Local Workers Teachers and Phantoms · Kallas CDR reform · Do you remember that 2000 Jobs were to go in 2006 · CDR COMPASS SCOP and the unfortunate Officials · Will it solve your promotion problems · Kallas CDR Ultimatum in Spanish · Le monologue de l Administration Sociale pourrait il etre ne serait ce qu au moins vaguement democratique · Die CDR- das Ultimatum und das Referendum · CDR in Hungarian · Democracia Ltd Abuso de la RFID ·

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