• While EU member countries struggle through their toughest times, forcing harsh austerity measures on their people in order to survive, EU employees in Brussels are visibly less keen to make sacrifices themselves.
Demonstrations and protests sparked by the euro crisis have become an almost routine event on the streets of Europe.
And now it seems that the rising tide of discontent is about to spill into the plush halls of the vast European Commission bureaucracy.
Staff unions are threatening to go on strike after rejecting a proposal by the Commission – the EU’s civil service – to save one billion euros over seven years by:
- reducing pensions
- increasing working hours from 37.5 to 40 a week
- raising the retirement age from 63 to 65
- limiting pay rises to 1.8%
- cutting 5% of jobs
But they are getting short shrift from some, who believe they don’t know when they are well off.
...[S]ome politicians are astonished at the notion of a strike by officials they claim are feather-bedded, while ordinary workers are losing their jobs and facing hardship.
“They get excellent healthcare, free education for their children in private schools here, a wonderful pension deal. And you wonder, people listening to this at home, looking at what they earn, and perhaps working 10 hours a day – these guys are grumbling because they’re being asked to work eight hours a day,” Stuart Agnew, an MEP from the UK Independence Party, told RT.
While they are perfectly within their rights to contest planned changes to working conditions, what raises eyebrows is the fact that they are complaining at a time when millions of EU citizens have been bearing the brunt of harsh austerity measures imposed by the very institutions they work for, not to mention the 23 million who don’t have a job at all.