Commenting on the publication of the European Commission’s work programme for 2020, ETUC General Secretary Luca Visentini said:
“Ambitious social policies are needed to rebuild trust with working people after the financial crisis. The work programme contains several positive initiatives, including a commitment to define an action plan for the implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights, and to deliver an Unemployment Reinsurance Scheme, a European Gender Equality Strategy and binding pay transparency measures.
“The foreseen initiative on minimum wages should deliver on the promise of fair minimum wages for European workers and promote the right of workers to organise and bargain collectively for fair wages. Any initiative in this area must fully safeguard well-functioning collective bargaining and industrial relation systems.
“We welcome the European Green Deal and especially the proposal for a Just Transition Mechanism. It is good to see that the social dimension is finally part of EU’s climate policies. This being said, in order to ensure an inclusive and fair transition, more money is needed and more emphasis should be given to the role of social partners in the governance of the Green Deal.
“We welcome the intention of the Commission to carry out a review of the Economic Governance Framework, which needs to pave the way for its reform in order to swap austerity policies in favour of public investment, economic growth and social cohesion.
“At the same time, the ETUC reiterates its firm opposition to the so-called “One In, One Out” approach. EU regulation should be assessed for the benefits it brings society, and the investments it requires to solve the problem which it seeks to tackle, and not only for the costs it brings to some business.
“There are also important elements still missing in the Commission agenda, on which we need urgent actions at European level in the next months and years. At a time when there are 4,000 fatal accidents at work every year, 120, 000 people die of work-related cancer and over a quarter of workers in Europe experience excessive work-related stress there is a need for a new and ambitious EU strategy on occupational safety and health, as well as initiatives to strengthen democracy at work and a European directive on human rights due diligence and responsible business conduct.”