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06. Mai 2007

For the Re-Regulation of Europe's Traffic System

Resolution of the 2. Network Conference of Left Wing Trade Unionists in and beside the Party of the European Left May 4.-6. 2007 in Athens

The transport of persons and goods are basic elements of the public services and for the chances of development of the European national states. A functioning traffic-infrastructure is the precondition for a functioning community. If decisions about this are no more inspired by political reasons, but by the cheapest choice, politics are stealing out of responsibility for the future of society.

Notwithstanding the Council of Ministers in the EU, the EU-Commission and the national governments pushed forward a policy of massive deregulation in the European traffic system, which harms employment, environment and safety.

Frequently that contractor is winning the invitation of tenders, who is paying the lowest wage and who has the lowest security-standards, but the cheapest choice. This practise has been implemented by politics and has to be considered as a wide spread practice.

This kind of politics is often accomplished by massive privatisation of former public traffic companies. For this reason municipals are loosing their influence on decisions on infrastructure, which are in public interest, depraving to dependants of the big companies, which are gambling with the location-factor.

You can also observe a lot of other political measures concerning deregulation in the traffic system:

Railway: In many countries of Europe deregulation and privatisation of railroading have very serious impact, which is questioning this means of transportation in general. The privatized and deregulated railway system of Great Britain could be taken as an example: deficits in security have lead to a great number of accidents and casualties, however the prices for the customers have been exploded. The EU-Parliaments 3rd Railway Package demands of liberalisation of the railways will strength this harmful development and will hinder a development of high-class international passenger trains as a green Alternative to the greenhouse harmful aeroplanes.

Air transportation: The introduced obligation for EU-wide invitation of tenders for the ground-services has to be considered as the beginning of lowering social- and security-standards.

Public transportation: The applicable regulations of EU directive 1182 and the coming EU directive 1191, which are requiring Europe-wide invitation of tenders, are preferring the contractors with the lowest social- ecological- and safety-standards. This is a loss for both: the employees and the users of public transportation.

Seaports: Port Packages I & II were focussed on the deregulation of the volume of traffic in harbours and other services.

Maritime shipping: Besides the already until decades usual practice of sailing under a flag of convenience, the creation of a second register (DIS) by some EU-member-states is lowering social- and safety-standards.

The Network of Left Trade Unionists in and at the Party of the European Left (EL) is demanding a definitive reversal of this process.

The Network of Left Trade Unionists is struggling for the repatriation of private traffic-companies in national, municipal and public ownership. We are rejecting privatisation of public transportation companies and trade-centres.

We are demanding regarding the social standards that either at least the minimum wage should be paid or the wages should not fall behind the terms of existing wage-agreements.

We are favouring a European minimum wage in order to stop a race to the bottom.

Traffic is not only a field of deregulation, but also for the class struggle and a common resistance in Europe. The outranging example of the European dockworkers in preventing the introduction of the port packages I & II is an great encouragement for all of us. Also cross-boarder actions like the struggle against the exceeding of "behind the wheel times" are encouraging to put forward the common action of all employees in the traffic-sector in Europe.

Proposed by:

Bernt Kamin-Seggewies - DKP (Germany)
Costas Isychos - Synapismos (Greece)
Gerald Kemski - Left Party.PDS (Germany)
Hartmut Obens - Left Party.PDS (Germany)
Erik Bach - Socialist Peoples Party (Denmark)
Heino Rüütel - Linkspartei (Estonia)

Approved by all participants of the conference at May 6. 2007