ETUC comments on European Commission Work Programme

Commenting on the European Commission’s Work Programme 2016, the European Trade Union Confederation:


Welcomed the Work Programme Communication’s commitment to

  • ‘The development of a European pillar of social rights’ including ‘social benchmarks’ for ‘upward convergence’;
  • ‘fair, efficient and growth-friendly corporate taxation’ based on the principle of ‘pay..where profits are generated’;
  • A ‘new skills agenda’;
  • ‘Special attention’ to ‘work-life balance of working families, with a view to increasing women’s participation in the labour market’;
  • ‘overhaul our common asylum policy’, ‘proposals for a structured system for resettlement’  and a ‘renewed approach on legal migration’.


Noted the lack of

  • reference to the future of the Youth Guarantee which runs out in 2016, or other measures to tackle youth unemployment;
  • specific commitment to legislative action for social progress, including for work-life balance;
  • concern for job losses as a result of digitalisation, only the opportunity to create jobs;
  • any commitment to tackle precarious work;
  • new concrete measures to create quality jobs beyond the skills agenda and single market initiatives.   

Expressed concern about the intention to put health and safety legislation under REFIT review. 

“2016 is the year President Junker has to deliver on his promise for a triple A social Europe” said Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the ETUC. “The years of crisis and cuts have been very damaging for working families. We will negotiate with the European institutions and employers to get the best possible deal for working people from this Work Programme. It is far from clear what is concretely proposed, but some of the commitments are at least encouraging.”