Every EU member state was forced into emergency reforms of their social protection systems by Covid-19, according to new research which highlights the need for permanent improvements.
A study by the European Trade Union Institute on social protection during the pandemic found 24 out of 27 member states increased the value, duration or eligibility conditions of unemployment benefits or income support.
Twenty member states also changed conditions attached to sick pay and parental leave, most often reducing the waiting time for access to the benefits.
Commenting on the Statement of the Members of the European Council on 25 March 2021, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said:
“We appreciate the efforts put in place by the EU and Member States to provide vaccines to the whole population in a reasonable time, and to make pharmaceutical companies accountable, but we reiterate our demand to the EU to push for waivers on patents and to Member States to guarantee priority to essential workers and vulnerable groups of people.
MEPs on the European Parliament's Employment Committee approved today with an overwhelming majority significant amendments to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive, to protect workers from the risks of exposure to dangerous substances at work.
Among the adopted amendments there is the long-lasting ETUC demand to extend the Directive's scope to substances toxic to reproduction and the inclusion of Hazardous Medicinal Products in its Annex I.
Dear readers, As European countries continue to battle waves of pandemic and lockdown, trade unions are fully occupied in defending workers’ health, welfare and livelihoods. March is also the month when trade unionists celebrate International Women’s Day, and attention turns to the discrimination women continue to suffer both at work and in society. This edition of National Updates highlights a few of the efforts and achievements of national unions across Europe.
The European Trade Union Confederation is seriously concerned that the decision of the President of Turkey to pull his Government country out of the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combating Violence Against Women and Domestic Violence is a very retrograde step and urges the Government to reconsider this action and reaffirm its international commitment to protect the human rights of women and girls and all their citizens.
The EU-Georgia Association Council meeting on 16 March is called on to do more to advance workers’ rights and European values by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and Georgian Trade Union Confederation (GTUC).
ETUC and GTUC point out that
Spain has become the first EU member state to tell platform companies that food delivery riders must be recognised as workers and automatically receive rights like social security contributions.
The law, which was negotiated by the ETUC’s affiliates in Spain, covers the following food delivery giants: Deliveroo, Glovo, Stuart, Amazon and UberEats. Other platform companies will also have to inform trade unions about how their algorithms affect working conditions.
Pressure is mounting on the EU to legislate to hold EU businesses accountable for violations of human rights and environmental standards across the world.
The 2013 Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh caused the death of 1,134 garment workers and injured about 2,500 people. International clothing factories and brands that were subcontracting the production of their products paid no attention to the disastrous working conditions of suppliers they worked with directly or indirectly.
Employers, legislators and law enforcement bodies are not doing enough to tackle violence and harassment at work, a survey of European women trade union leaders has found.
Carried out January-February 2021, the ETUC survey of women union leaders in 21 European countries found that only
Responding to the European Commission’s action plan on implementing the European Pillar of Social Rights and the Effective Active Support for Employment, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“The time for a socially fairer Europe has come. This action plan could make it a reality.
“The need for a more social Europe has never been stronger. The Covid crisis has exposed the problems with a Europe built on insecure work, low wages and badly funded public services.
Commenting on the European Commission’s proposal to extend the ‘escape clause’ from the Stability and Growth Pact, European Trade Union Confederation General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Member states need to use all the resources at their disposal to limit the economic and social fallout from the pandemic by extending support for workers and companies until a real recovery is underway. It will cost a lot less to save jobs and businesses now than to try to recreate them later.
The European Commission is finally set to present its pay transparency directive on 4 March – 460 days after President von der Leyen took office on a pledge to deliver it “within 100 days.”
But now ETUC’s hopes for progress on reducing the gender pay gap are being undermined by conflict in the European Commission’s policymaking with what seems to be THREE different versions of the draft Directive being leaked.
The European Commission published today its new Adaptation Strategy designed to increase the resilience of the EU against climate change consequences.
While the European Trade Union Confederation strongly welcomes the idea of developing a new EU Adaptation Strategy, we regret to see that the one proposed by the Commission today fails to protect European workers against climate change consequences.
The ETUC is calling on the European Commission to face down cynical new efforts by platform companies to avoid their most basic obligations to their workers.
The Commission will tomorrow launch a consultation on improving the working conditions in platform companies like Uber, Deliveroo or Glovo.
More than 24 million workers on low wages in the EU would receive a much-needed pay rise if trade union proposals for the EU’s draft Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages are accepted.
The European Trade Union Confederation is pushing for a ‘threshold of decency’ to be included in the legislation that would ensure statutory minimum wages could never be paid at less than 60% of the median wage and 50% of the average wage in the Member State.
In light of recent complications with the Covid-19 vaccines roll out, the ETUC believes that a higher degree of democratic control is needed over the process and that people must come before profit.
While unions fully support the principle of European coordination on vaccines as a means of avoiding vaccine nationalism, the process so far has been blighted by a lack of transparency in procurement and unexplained delays in production which have cost lives and livelihoods.
European trade unions, together with a large coalition of NGOs and academics, are leading a campaign for the European Commission to permanently scrap austerity policies which have been paused during the pandemic.
A ‘General Escape Clause’ relaxing the rules of the Stability and Growth Pact was introduced last year as part of the European Commission’s response to the Covid-19 crisis, which also included the creation of the SURE emergency job support scheme and the unprecedented recovery fund.
11 months after the start of the pandemic, young trade union leaders say that young unemployed, those neither in employment or education or training, and workers in platform companies are not being helped enough by job and wage protection schemes and related emergency measures.
These findings will be presented today to Commissioner Nicolas Schmit and the Portuguese President of EU Council of Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Ministers, Ana Mendes Godinho at an online conference ‘(How) Will Europe prevent a Lost Generation?’ attended by over 200 young people.