The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) welcomes today’s EU-Western Balkans Zagreb Summit going ahead. But despite the recent positive decision to open accession negotiations with North Macedonia and Albania, a broader message on positive prospects of the future of the accession process for the Western Balkans is missing.
The Summit hopefully will strengthen political dialogue and socio-economic cooperation between the EU and the region and show solidarity and joint effort in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.
ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini today took part in today’s informal Council of Employment and Social Affairs Ministers (EPSCO) and asked
• Ministers to ensure that the proposed EU Recovery Plan features a strong social dimension and includes investment in jobs, higher wages, social protection, public services including health care and education and training.
Women make up well over half of the workforce in professions on the frontline of the coronavirus crisis, official EU data shows.
Over 50% of workers in six highly exposed categories of work - personal care, cleaning, health associates, health, teaching and personal service – are women.
ETUC condemns the arrest of leaders of our Turkish affiliate DISK today. We demand the immediate release of Arzu Cerkezoglu and Adnan Serdaroglu and other arrested trade union leaders, and without charge.
Some union leaders met at the headquarters of the Turkish trade union DİSK this morning to commemorate May Day. The police surrounded the building and arrested 20 leaders including General Secretary Arzu Çerkezoğlu and President Adnan Serdaroğlu using violence.
It is believed to be the third time the leaders have been arrested this year.
The ETUC is using Workers Memorial Day to appeal again to the European Commission to prioritize workplace health and safety in its plans for the next five years in light of the coronavirus crisis.
Trade unions first raised the alarm last September when occupational health and safety was omitted from Ursula von der Leyen’s political guidelines, pointing out that every year there are 4,000 fatal accidents at work and 120,000 people die of work-related cancer.
Commenting on the outcome of the European Council, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“EU leaders have finally backed the urgently required emergency measures, but it’s very worrying that they will not be available before 1st June when workers, companies and public services are struggling now.
Photo: European Council
The ETUC is urging EU leaders meeting tomorrow to agree and implement without delay or conditions proposals to help workers, companies and public services hit by the coronavirus crisis
The European Council will consider on Thursday a 540bn support package that includes the SURE job and income protection scheme, and how to fund the economic recovery.
The ETUC is urging the European Commission to reconsider plans to abandon its pledge to introduce binding measures to boost equal and fair pay because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Binding pay transparency measures to close Europe’s 15% gender pay gap were one of just five pledges that Ursula von der Leyen vowed to deliver within 100 days of becoming Commission President.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) appreciates the effort of the European Commission to propose a Roadmap towards lifting Covid19 containment measures, but criticises it for failing on basic principles and neglecting to acknowledge the practicalities of a return to work, insufficiently mentioning either health and safety at work or the need to apply strict ‘precautionary’ measures.
The ETUC asks the Commission to start an urgent and proper consultation with trade unions and employers to define a proper implementation of the Communication.
“The Eurogroup has finally taken some important steps to help protect working people, support companies, fund public services and stabilise the economy through this crisis in the short-term.
“The activation of the ESM, the EIB and particularly of SURE goes in the right direction. We now ask all 27 member states’ governments to adopt this and the other measures before Easter. With 15 million jobs already affected by the lockdown, workers and companies cannot wait longer.
Criticising the failure of the Eurogroup to give its support to the EU’s €500bn package of economic aid to deal with the economic impact of corona virus, and continuing divisions over Eurobonds and ‘conditionalities’ for ESM funding, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
European trade unions are calling on EU finance ministers to agree a 500bn Euro support package to deal with the economic consequences of the coronavirus which has already hit over 10 million workers.
Estimates collected by the ETUC show that unemployment has risen by at least 4 million since the crisis began, while more than 7 million workers are on short-time work schemes.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) urges EU Finance Ministers and the Council meeting next week to approve the European Commission’s proposal for a €100 billion ‘SURE’ scheme to support short-term work and other measures to protect jobs and wages during the coronavirus crisis.
The ETUC calls on Member States to swiftly put at the disposal of the European Commission the necessary guarantees to make the scheme operational as soon as possible!
Responding to the European Commission’s announcement of the SURE short-time work scheme, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“We are very pleased the European Commission has listened to our request to fast track the launch of the SURE unemployment reinsurance scheme and support short-time work measures.
“The situation of working people affected by the COVID-19 breakdown is deteriorating every hour and the last thing Europe needs in the middle of this health emergency is mass unemployment and another economic crisis.
Photo credit: Credit Score Geek
Trade unions are calling on banks and big business to do their bit to overcome the economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis by suspending dividends payments and share buybacks.
Most companies would normally be set to pay out dividends shortly and shareholders are forecast to receive a record €359bn in dividends this year – an increase of €12 billion on the previous year.
European workers affected by the coronavirus crisis will keep receiving up to 100% of their normal wages under protections won by trade unions.
ETUI research for the ETUC has found 18 EU countries, Norway and the UK have taken some measure to protect the jobs and wages of workers who have been temporarily laid off or had their hours reduced.
Commenting on the outcome of today’s European Council online meeting, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation said:
“We totally agree with the Italian Prime Minister that the proposals put forward for dealing with the economic cost of the coronavirus crisis are completely inadequate. Some national leaders have wasted the opportunity to ensure workers’ livelihoods are protected, public health services are properly funded and we avoid another damaging recession killing thousands of companies.
The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the Pan European Regional Council of the International Trade Union Confederation (PERC) strongly urge the European Council, meeting tomorrow, to approve the opening of accession negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia - righting the wrong decision that was made in October 2019.
The ETUC is calling on the Eurogroup to support corona bonds, and the European Commission to postpone its EU economic-policy making Semester.
“It is time to launch the EU pandemic-bonds” said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the ETUC. “Europe risks a recession even worse than the one following the financial crisis of 2008-9 and needs to invest in protecting jobs and the economy.”
The European Trade Union Confederation sends a message of solidarity to our Croatian affiliates, the SSSH and NHS, following the devastating earthquake which hit Zagreb and Croatia on Sunday.
Speaking on behalf of ETUC members in 37 other countries across the continent, General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Trade unionists across Europe send their strongest solidarity to the Croatian population, workers and our colleagues in Croatia at this extremely difficult time.
Photo credit: Descrier
Efforts to raise wages and improve working conditions across Europe are being set back by the deliberate misuse of European data protection legislation to deny trade union rights.
An ETUC survey of affiliates about the implementation of GDPR in member states found a worrying new trend of employers abusing the law to deny trade unions their right to contact workers at work.