More than a decade ago, the OECD estimated that up to 80% of trade is affected by standards and associated technical regulations. The relevance of standards for trade unions is multifaceted. The extending scope of European and international standards, their role in framing market competition and industrial strategies and the formal devolution of power to standard-setting bodies provide a strong rationale to strengthen our intervention in European standardisation.
The ETUC underlines that many of the areas subject to standardisation are political by nature and should be channelled through democratic decision-making procedures rather than private standardisation committees, while it insists on the autonomy of social partners and respect for collective bargaining and agreements potentially challenged by standards. However, the ETUC recognises that working conditions are among the major societal challenges that standards can help address on condition that trade unions are appropriately represented and can effectively participate in standardisation arenas. In this context, the ETUC standardisation project is aimed at strengthening our voice in standardisation to ensure standards promote high-quality working conditions and do not encroach upon the autonomy of social partners.
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