Today, the European Social Partners Framework Agreement on Digitalisation was signed by BusinessEurope, ETUC, CEEP and SMEunited to support the successful digital transformation of Europe’s economy and to manage its large implications for labour markets, the world of work and society at large.
Responding to the failure to reach agreement on the EU Recovery Plan at the European Council, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Although this was somewhat expected, the delay in adopting the recovery plan is a blow to 42 million European workers who have been temporarily laid-off and need this investment to save their jobs.
“Citizens don’t want to see more summits; they want the support they’ve been promised to arrive in time to make a difference and without austerity conditions.
More than 42 million jobs are at stake in the European Council’s talks over the EU recovery plan.
That’s the number of workers who have been placed on temporary unemployment during the coronavirus crisis, according to research by the European Trade Union Institute.
European workers will benefit from better protection from Covid-19 following pressure from the ETUC and MEPs on the European Commission.
The Commission had decided against putting Covid-19 in the highest risk group of its Biological Agents Directive without proper consultation of trade unions and the European Parliament.
MEPs threatened to use their power of veto over the Commission decision following concerns raised by trade unions about its consequences for workplace safety.
At the European Commission's Hearing today on the Future of the European Pillar of Social Rights with Vice President Dombrovskis and Commissioner Schmit, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said that “the European Pillar has to remain a key programme of the European Commission and be part of the economic recovery programme of the EU. All tools available to the EU have to be used in implementing the Social Pillar: including legislation, coordination of economic and social policies and targeted use of the EU budget.”
A European Commission initiative on fair minimum wages is needed not only to repair the damage caused by EU economic policies following the 2008 economic crisis, but also to deal with the effects of the corona virus crisis says the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), on the day the Commission launched its 2nd consultation on minimum wages.
“Many working people had not got over the effects of wage austerity from the previous crisis before the new crisis hit us” said Esther Lynch, Deputy General Secretary of the ETUC.
Trade unions are calling on employers to respect the right to disconnect as millions of people continue to work from home as the lockdown is lifted.
Before the outbreak, just one in ten people worked from home every day. But new European research shows that almost 40% of EU workers started working from home during confinement.
Trade unions are shocked and concerned that the European Commission still has no official plans to make workplaces safer in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
An updated work programme published by the Commission today includes 43 new initiatives, including proposals ranging from airport charges to crypto assets and ‘better regulation’.
But the Commission has again omitted improvements to health and safety from the document, having already overlooked the issue in its political guidelines and original work programme.
Commenting on the EU Recovery Package, Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said:
“Europe is facing the worst recession since the 1930s following the worst pandemic for a hundred years, which risks massive unemployment and inequality.
“That’s why the ETUC welcomes the ambitious EU recovery strategy proposed by Ursula von der Leyen. Funds of up to €750 bn for recovery, on top of 1.1 trillion from the MFF, are what Europe needs.
Commenting on the results of new research published by the European Parliament, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Far from being divided between the frugal north and free spending south, this poll shows European citizens are united in wanting to see more solidarity between member states over the coronavirus crisis.
Commenting on the European Spring Package and Country Specific Recommendations, ETUC Confederal Secretary Liina Carr said
“The European Commission’s decisions not to enforce EU budgetary rules for member states, not to give fiscal guidance and not to open excessive deficit procedures are necessary and appropriate, especially but not only because of the current crisis.
“There must be no return to the catastrophic austerity measures taken after the financial crisis of 2008, not now, not after the crisis is over and not after a recovery.
Commenting on the adoption of the SURE Regulation by COREPER today, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said
“The ETUC welcomes the decision to adopt the EU job-saving scheme SURE, but regrets that it took one month for this process to be finalised due to the veto of a few member states which have put EU workers’ jobs and income at risk.
“Now we appeal to member states to speed up their decision-making to make the guarantees immediately available, and make SURE operational as soon as possible. 42 million workers on short-time work in Europe cannot wait longer.
Commenting on the decision of the European Commission not to put Covid-19 in the highest risk category of the Biological Agents Directive, ETUC Deputy General Secretary Per Hilmersson said:
"While the ETUC welcomes the fact that the Covid-19 virus will be included in the Biological Agents Directive, we regret that the decision today, if confirmed by the Commission, would mean that it will be classified as an agent belonging only in the second highest risk group.
Trade unions are calling on the European Commission to rethink its proposal not to place Covid-19 in the highest risk group of biological agents.
The Commission and member states’ experts in the so-called Technical Progress Committee will decide on Thursday whether Covid-19 should be categorised under the Biological Agents Directive, with potential consequences for workplace health and safety and public health.
Currently, the Commission insists Covid-19 does not meet the definition of agents in the highest of four risk categories:
The EU’s job-saving scheme will come too late to make a difference unless it is signed-off this week, trade unions are warning as new data shows 28% workers have lost their jobs temporarily or permanently due to the coronavirus crisis.
Over a month after the 100bn Euro SURE scheme was first proposed, the package should finally face its last hurdle at the European Council’s Coreper meeting of member state ambassadors on Wednesday.
Responding to the European Commission’s economic forecast for Spring 2020, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Today’s forecast confirms that Europe is facing the deepest recession in its history, which means the only logical response is to launch the most ambitious economic recovery plan.
“Europe must learn the lessons from 2008 by supporting public investment to create economic demand needed for renewed growth rather than pursuing further austerity that would kill the recovery.
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.