Employment is top of the trade union agenda. Creating more and better jobs is fundamental to the Lisbon Strategy, and must be based on workers' participation and partnership with employers. For this reason the ETUC supports the German Presidency's decision to promote the quality-of-work agenda.
However, precarious work is currently on the rise in the EU. The ETUC notes the ongoing debate on 'flexicurity' in the labour market and emphasises that flexicurity is only acceptable if it leads to improvements in the quality of work through decent jobs and adequate wages, an end to the expansion of precarious work, and better health and safety in the workplace. It must also combine job security with new forms of assistance for workers, in order to ensure adequate social protection and the skills needed to confront the rapid pace of change.
In addition, the ETUC is pressing the German Presidency to pursue a way out of the current constitutional impasse, but not at any price. The European trade union movement believes that the existing draft Constitution represents a step forward for Social Europe and workers' rights. “We will never accept a 'mini-treaty' that does not integrate the Charter of Fundamental Rights,” warns John Monks. The ETUC wants open consultation on the way forward, and opposes 'closed-door' diplomatic and intergovernmental deals.
The ETUC is backing moves towards a common European energy strategy, and calling for an ambitious policy to curb greenhouse gas emissions. It believes climate change can be a spur to new employment and social cohesion opportunities. However, the social impacts of all measures must be taken into account and managed fairly.
“The ETUC is convinced of the urgent need for a European energy policy that will lead the EU down the road to sustainable development,” declares John Monks.
As the European Union celebrates the 50th anniversary of the signing of its founding treaty, the ETUC is looking for an even stronger commitment to the EU's social dimension. “We need to upgrade Europe's economic and social capacities in a globalised world, in a way that meets the approval of European citizens and workers and respects the principles of the European Social Model,” says John Monks.
- Trade Union Memorandum to the German Presidency
ETUC meets Chancellor Angela Merkel to present its key demands for a stronger Social Europe