Stop ISO standard on compensation systems


Compensation mechanisms are regulated in law and collective agreements not private standards

Compensation mechanisms or any wage systems belong to the core competences of public authorities and social partners. The autonomy of trade union organisations and employers’ associations to bargain collectively is a key prerequisite in any democratic system and is a fundamental right worldwide.  It belongs to the democratic foundation of the European Union. Only stronger collective bargaining systems and binding collective agreements can set and promote decent and fair wages.

Private standard setting activities on compensation disregard such fundamental values and rights. Such activities are based on non-democratic procedures that massively endanger social partners’ autonomy and put collective bargaining at risks. Therefore, compensation systems, or any other wage related mechanisms, should not be addressed in private norm setting activities.

In May 2019, the International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) launched a proposal to elaborate an international standard on ‘compensation system’.

The ETUC calls for a stop to all ISO standard activities on ‘compensation system’!

The ETUC has strongly opposed this project as it represents an unacceptable risk of interfering with national legislation and collective agreements. At the end of 2019, the ETUC, in coordination with the ITUC, launched a lobbying campaign to stop this initiative and urged the ISO to immediately cease its activities on this project. In 2019 and 2020, the ETUC alerted the European Commission and stressed the risks of the initiative given that the principle of primacy of international standardisation  does not guarantee a robust control of legality and compatibility of international standards  before authorising their application at EU and national levels.

Despite our efforts, an ISO technical committee has started to work on compensation systems. If such an initiative proceeds,  is adopted, it will enter into conflict with national legislation and collective agreements on pay in the Member States, even where legislation and collective agreements take precedence over standards. This is an unacceptable situation which must be stopped. Wage-setting mechanisms shall not – under any circumstances - be determined by voluntary technical standards.

Contact us to join the ETUC campaign!

Image of desktop with guy calculating salary