Welcome to the September 2019 edition of Workers’ Voice National UPdates. As the Climate Action campaign gathers strength, this month we focus on how trade unions around Europe are working with young people and civil society organisations to achieve climate justice.
As usual, National Updates seeks out some interesting and even unexpected examples of how European unions are cooperating and working constructively with employers, governments and civil society to foster social progress.
On the 25th anniversary of the European Workers Councils Directive, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is calling on the new European Commission and Parliament to strengthen workers' democracy across the European Union.
A statement calling for new EU initiatives for more
- and stronger European Works Councils
- and strengthened rights for workers to be informed and consulted about major change within their company/workplace
The distribution of Commission portfolios announced today is a hopeful sign that the EU can deliver social progress over the next five years – now it’s time for the right personnel to deliver the right policies.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) applauds the fact that the proposed Commission is gender balanced and places politicians who understand the needs of working people in key roles.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) will participate in the global climate action week to put pressure on world leaders to deliver urgent solutions to the worsening climate crisis, and is calling on national trade unions to take their own actions across Europe.
Demonstrations will take place around the world between September 20 and 27 to coincide with the United Nation’s climate summit in New York, where heads of governments must take concrete action to deliver on the promises of the Paris Agreement.
As the world watches the Amazon burning in horror, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urges the EU and the international community to act decisively to save the world’s largest rainforest.
The ETUC proposes that action should include
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is appalled that Polish newspaper Gazeta Polska distributed today ‘LGBT free zone’ stickers.
Doing so could create unnecessary divisions and conflicts in workplaces and in society, as demonstrated by the violence against members of the LGTB community on Saturday. Producing such stickers could lead people to break the law by discriminating on grounds of sexual orientation, which is against EU and Polish law. It also disrespects fundamental human rights.
“Considering the tiny majority Ursula von der Leyen got in Parliament", said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation, “we urge the new President of the Commission to build an alliance with the democratic parties only, and to reconfirm the cordon sanitaire against the far right. If she wants to deliver as Commission President, she needs to rebuild the trust that was jeopardised by the Council’s decisions. She needs to work for a more democratic European Union.”
ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini today called on the European Parliament, in its discussions and votes in the oncoming weeks, to support democracy and a more just and sustainable Europe.
"I congratulate David Sassoli on his election as President of the European Parliament. The ETUC is ready to work with him and the Parliament to defend and deliver on the needs of Europe's working people and citizens for a more social, sustainable and fair Europe" said Luca Visentini.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) condemned the arrest today by the Italian authorities of Carola Rakete, the captain of the Sea Watch ship rescuing migrants at risk of drowning in the Mediterranean.
“Saving people at sea is a moral and legal duty” said Luca Visentini, Secretary General of the ETUC “and people who do it should be honoured not arrested.”
Climate change and digitalisation are among challenges which must be dealt with in a socially fair way according to a new EU report on the future of industry.
The European Commission is today publishing ‘a vision for the European industry until 2030’ – the final report of their high-level roundtable set up in December 2017 which brought together unions with employers and experts to prepare an EU industrial policy.
A new UN International Labour Organisation (ILO) Declaration on ‘the Future of Work’ – adopted today at the ILO’s Centenary conference - means that governments and employers must work with trade unions, and redouble their efforts to ensure decent work in a global economy radically changed by free trade and deregulation, digitalisation and the climate crisis.
The Centenary Declaration calls on all its members – governments, employers and trade unions of 187 states worldwide – to work together, and through ‘social dialogue’, for
The European Trade Union Confederation today congratulated trade union representatives at the UN International Labour Organisation for reaching agreement today with governments and employers on a world-wide Convention (and accompanying Recommendation) for the elimination of violence and harassment in the world of work.
The Convention establishes for the first time a global and unique right of everyone to work free from violence and harassment.
The Convention would require countries across the globe to
Commenting on EU Prime Ministers agreeing today a six page ‘Strategic Agenda’ 2019-2024, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said
“I am encouraged that the Prime Ministers agreed a text on ‘Building a climate-neutral, green, fair and social Europe’ which specifically mentions implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights. If this is done over the next four years Europe will be a much better place.
Our latest edition of Workers’ Voice National Updates picks out some interesting examples of how trade union collective bargaining with employers at local and national level achieves real benefits for workers and promotes more equal working conditions across the EU. Every three months we highlight just a few examples of how unions in Europe are cooperating across borders and working constructively with employers, governments and civil society organisations to foster social progress and justice.
The adoption of Council Conclusions on The changing world of work: reflections on new forms of work and implications for the safety and health of workers at today’s EPSCO meeting establishes a good foundation for the incoming European Commission to work on, commented the ETUC’s newly elected Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson.
In advance of tomorrow’s (Thursday 13 June) adoption of the Work-Life Balance Directive by the EU Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), the ETUC calls on Member States to take urgent action to transpose into law and implement these new rights for working families.
“This is the first legislative advance to come out of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and it is crucial to demonstrate to EU citizens that it will mean real improvements in their lives,” said ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch.
Commenting on today’s economic policy recommendations (‘country specific recommendations’) by the European Commission, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said
“Although the Commission seems to be over-optimistic on investment and employment recovery in Europe, there is a clear shift in economic policy recommendations in favour of investment, social dialogue, education and training and social protection. This is much-needed, somewhat overdue and needs to be continued in future years.”
Democratic political parties forming a new coalition in the European Parliament to exclude the far-right “must put a renewed Social Contract for Europe at the heart of their programme including for the appointment of the new European Commission President and Commissioners” said Luca Visentini, re-elected General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
Leaders of Europe’s national trade unions today re-elected Luca Visentini as General Secretary and elected Laurent Berger as President of the European Trade Union Confederation.
They also adopted a new manifesto and action programme for 2019-23 for ‘A fairer Europe for workers’.
The ETUC Congress, meeting in Vienna, also elected