Labour ministers must not jeopardise the European social dialogue
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Transport Workers’ Federation (ETF) are calling on the Council of Social Affairs and Labour Ministers to adopt the draft directive on certain aspects of working conditions for mobile railway workers assigned to cross-border interoperability services.
This draft directive is based on a European social partner agreement concluded by ETF and CER (employers) signed after nine months of negotiations on 27 January 2004. This agreement defines European minimum standards regarding breaks, daily and weekly rest time and maximum driving time. It also includes aspects relating to the balance between professional and private life for personnel concerned by limiting the number of rests away from home.
The social partners jointly asked for the agreement to be implemented by EU Council Decision according to article 139 (2) of the EC Treaty. On 8 February 2005, after having checked the representativeness of the social partners, as well as the legality and appropriateness of the agreement, the new Commission presented a draft directive to the Council.
This draft directive is a necessary accompanying measure to EU railway liberalisation policy. It guarantees the health and safety of workers and therefore railway safety but also facilitates interoperability of cross-border rail services. The social partners in the sector took the responsibility to create common European minimum standards for the uninterrupted border crossing of locomotive drivers and train conductors.
The implementation of a social partner agreement by EU legislation following the joint request made by the employers and trade union organisations is a key instrument for the European social dialogue. Rejecting the request of the social partners would call the value of the European social dialogue into question and would represent a threat for the European social model. Indeed, ETUC and ETF consider that following the revision of the Lisbon strategy, which includes giving more responsibility to the social partners, a rejection of the draft directive would send out the wrong signal at a moment when workers all over Europe are being asked to support the ratification process of the Constitution.
For more information :
EFT Political Secretary Railways and Urban Public transport
GSM: +32 (0) 477 512814
E- mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
ETUC Head of Communication
Tel. + 32 (0) 224 04 30 - GSM : + 32 (0) 477 77 01 64
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