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 certainly provide a strong rationale to strengthen trade unions’ engagement and participation in European – and international - standardisation.
The ETUC recognises that many areas subject to standardisation are political by nature, and are therefore better addressed through democratic decision-making procedures rather than in private standardisation committees. The ETUC further insists on the autonomy of social partners and on the respect of collective agreements and social dialogue that could potentially be challenged by standards.
However, working conditions are major societal challenges that standards can help address, on condition that trade unions can effectively participate in their development. In this context, the ETUC standardisation project aims at strengthening the voice of trade unions in standardisation to ensure standards promote high-quality working conditions and do not encroach upon the autonomy of social partners, collective agreements and social dialogue.
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