The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

European Union:
Often the Same Bosses but Never the Same Pay

Jun 6, 2005

Europe may be unified at the level of the bosses. But it’s never been unified as far as the situation of the workers. The following article excerpted and translated from the June 3 issue of Lutte Ouvrière, the newspaper of the French Trotskyist group, explains the situation.The inequalities of pay among European workers are enormous. Salaries in Denmark, for example, are on average eight times higher than salaries in Slovakia, despite the fact they come from the same multi-nationals which hire them all.

A recent article in a Paris newspaper gave the example of different factories owned by Michelin, the tire-makers. For German workers at the Karlsruhe factory, monthly pay is more than 2700 euros; for Spanish workers at Michelin’s Valladolid factory, monthly pay is 2300 euros. For Polish workers at Michelin’s Olstyn factory, monthly pay is 875 euros.

Michelin, which employs them all, announced profits of 527 million euros in 2004. The boss, Edward Michelin, got more than four million euros in 2003. His pay comes out to 10,000 euros (currently worth about $13,000) each and every day of the year during 2003.

All the big capitalist groups have long since unified the European countries by installing affiliates everywhere, by buying up companies in all the countries, and by draining surplus value from thousands of workers of different nationalities. They take advantage of monopolizing economic activity in the poorer countries of Europe to impose worse working conditions and lower salaries on these workers.

Here’s exactly why all European workers, who often have the same boss, always have an interest to carry on the same fight together.