Success stories

ETUC STAND Project evaluation 

The Framework Partnership Agreement with the European Commission, as part of which the ETUC STAND project was set up in 2015, is coming to a close on 31 December 2020. The ETUC has therefore carried out an evaluation of the project over the past 4 years in order to better assess the achievements and the challenges of the project, as well as the lessons learnt. The ETUC trusts the exercise will help us reflect on future priorities.  

The evaluation consists of a qualitative and quantitative analysis of the activities carried out in the project. The evaluation includes a survey within the members of the Special Committee on Standardisation and the experts contributing to the project. In terms of the overall assessment of the ETUC STANDardisation project and its activities, the feedback is in general very positive. The survey was sent to 50 trade union organisations, members of the committee, of which 24 are active in standardisation.  19 organisations that have replied to the survey stressed the important role played by the ETUC STAND project in ensuring that trade unions participate in standardisation, and strongly encourage its continuation. 


International Workshop Agreement on “Humane Entrepreneurship” not pursued by ISO  

In February 2020, SAC (China), JISC (Japan), and KATS (Republic of Korea) submitted a proposal to elaborate an ISO International Workshop Agreement (IWA) on Guidelines for Humane Entrepreneurship. The ETUC STAND questioned the usefulness of this new standardisation work, which raised in the ETUC  opinion many concerns for trade unions (see  March Newsletter). The ETUC STAND therefore launched a lobbying campaign, inviting their affiliates to vote against the proposal.  

In April, the ISO/Central Secretariat informed us that the proposal to elaborate a new International Workshop Agreement on “Humane Entrepreneurship”, was not accepted. This shows that ETUC and its affiliates unions can in fact influence the decision-making process in the standardisation system both at European and international level, if we act timely and work in coordination. 


European standard on patient involvement in care approved  

The European standard EN 17398 on ‘Patient involvement in healthcare - Minimum requirements for person-centred care’ was adopted in April 2020 and will soon be published. The ETUC STAND has participated in the development of this standard, which addresses the involvement of the patient in healthcare services through mainly patient empowerment, and the development of a partnership between the patient and its relatives with healthcare professionals. The new standard will be a helpful document to start routines for improved patient-involvement in healthcare. 

Through the ETUC active involvement, we ensured that the standard clearly addressed the need to foresee routines and time for healthcare professionals to dedicate work for person-centred care. We also succeeded in including in the standard the ‘education and continuous training in patient involvement, as part of the training of care personnel and other staff members’. 


ETUC increased use of the Right to submit a Formal Opinion

In October 2019, the ETUC submitted a Non-Favourable Formal Opinion on FprEN 45554 “General methods for the assessment of the ability to repair, reuse and upgrade energy related products“, which was out for Formal Vote in CEN-CENELEC Joint Technical Committee (JTC) 10. Although the ETUC supported in principle the future adoption of the standard, we strongly recommended in our Formal Opinion the development of a complementary standard to address specifically the material efficiency of the repair or maintenance operations of energy related products. 

The JTC 10 Secretariat took note of our proposal and further supported it. They are now considering the development of a further document, covering the “Material Efficiency of the Repair of ErP” as requested by the ETUC. 


ETUC STAND joins work on AI

AI may have significant impact on recruitment, performance management, planning and organisation of work, equality and diversity in the workplace, health and safety at work, and dismissals. In order to monitor the European standardisation activities on AI, the ETUC Standardisation project joined in April 2020 the CEN-CENELEC Focus Group on AI, and contributed to the development of the Roadmap on the European standardisation for AI. The Roadmap was finalised and approved in September 2020.

In the standards to be developed, the ETUC will insist that trade union representatives should be involved in monitoring the compliance with the GDPR of a given AI system at the workplace. The aim is to lay down measures to safeguard the human dignity, legitimate interests and fundamental rights, with particular regard to the transparency of processing data.

As a significant amount of standards setting activities is taking place at international level, specifically in the ISO/IEC JTC 1/ SC 42 ‘Artificial Intelligence’, the ETUC has applied for A liaison status with the ISO/IEC JTC 1/SC 42 and we are now monitoring the work there as well.


National awareness and training events

Few trade unions participate in standardisation – at national and international level. Standards however have become a policy instrument for the legislator. Trade union participation and the safeguarding of the workers’ interests in the standards writing process, in particular of standards which contain a social and societal dimension, is therefore essential.

Therefore, the ETUC organises national seminars to stimulate awareness and train experts to participate in the drafting process of standards (i.e. capacity building). These events are organised in the local language, with view to involve also interested trade unionists who may face language barriers.

The following events were held over the past few years: 


  • AKAVA – SAK – STTK – ETUC joint virtual seminar,19th November 2020, for the Finnish Trade Unions


  • Fratia – Alfa – BNS – CSDR – ASRO – ETUC joint seminar, 28th March, Bucharest, Romania 
  • CEK-CYS-ETUC joint seminar, 3rd April, Nicosia, Cyprus 


  • LBAS – LVS – ETUC joint national seminar, 13th June 2018, Riga, Latvia 
  • Lithuanian Trade Unions – LSD joint national seminar, 18th October 2018, Vilnius, Lithuania 
  • FNV – NEN – ETUC joint national seminar, 25th October 2018, Utrecht, Netherlands  


  • Italian Trade Unions – UNI – ETUC joint national seminar, 7th November 2017, Milano, Italy 
  • GWU – ETUC joint national seminar, 24th November 2017, Valetta, Malta 


Icelandic Equal Pay Management System standard helps to bridge the gender pay gap

The Icelandic standard IST 85:2012 Equal Pay Management System – requirements and guidance was developed by the social partners and with the support of the Ministry of Welfare. The objective was to create a system that ensures that women and men working for the same employer are paid equal wages and enjoy equal terms of employment for the same jobs or jobs of equal value. To show how standards can be used in a social context and to bridge the gender pay gap, seminars took place at the EFTA Secretariat (Brussels) and the United Nations (New York). At the ETUC, Maríanna Traustadóttir of ASI – the Icelandic Confederation of Labour – provided background on the Icelandic standard. The Icelandic standard shows how standards can be used to improve the wellbeing of workers.


Respecting collective bargaining in healthcare standards

With the growing proportion of elderly people in our society and the increasing need to guarantee them a dignified lifestyle, age-friendly nursing and care has become paramount. CEN has developed standards on quality of care for older people and patient involvement in person-centred care.

CEN TC 449 has developed a standard on quality of care and support for older people. While the ETUC is critical towards healthcare standards, we have contributed to this work. We welcome the TC accepted our demand to ensure that many requirements are in compliance with collective agreements, if in place. Also good working environment and occupational safety of the workers are of high concern of the ETUC in this work and has been raised by us.


Building up capacity and competence

One of the objectives of the ETUC STAND project is to provide national trade unions with the knowledge to participate in standardisation. Since its launch in 2015, the project has built a up competence centre which is providing training and ongoing support to ETUC representatives in standardisation committees. Besides training on standardisation, we also provide our affiliates with news and information from the standardisation world. Starting from scratch, the ETUC is now participating in over ten different standardisation Technical Committees.