15 ETUC priorities for the new mandate of the EU institutions


The European Trade Union Confederation represents 45 million workers from 90 national trade unions in 38 European countries and 10 European sectoral trade union federations. It presents the following priorities for the new mandate of the EU institutions, particularly the new Commission’s Work Programme and strategic agenda for the next five years.

They are aimed at the European and national institutions, social partners and stakeholders; so as to build cooperation on a fairer future for Europe, based on democracy and social justice, just transitions, quality jobs, better working conditions and higher wages.


  1. Future of Europe and Democracy

Build European alliances for democracy, involving social partners and civil society organisations, alongside political and institutional representatives.

Ensure the full participation of social partners in the announced Conference on the Future of Europe and in any other related consultations and proposals regarding the Future of Europe, the Rule of Law and possible constitutional reforms and Treaty changes, including a stronger role for the European Parliament and the extension of the Qualified Majority Vote, in full respect of social partners autonomous negotiations and agreements.

All these initiatives should aim to achieve a renewed European Social Contract, a Social Progress Protocol, and stronger social dialogue and democracy at work at all levels; while ensuring that all EU policies respect social and environmental sustainability.


  1. Economic governance

Launch an extraordinary plan for public and private investment for quality job creation, by implementing a fiscal capacity to allow public investment and investment in public services.

Reform the European economic policy framework to promote increased public and private investment, to achieve upward economic convergence between Member States and increase economic and social cohesion while pursuing the climate objectives.

Improve the European Stability and Growth Pact, EMU governance, the European Semester process and EU budget, to make them more investment, social and environment friendly, and implement the ‘golden rule’ making new public investment debt-financed and deducted from deficit calculations in the Stability and Growth Pact targets.

Consider the introduction of a European unemployment reinsurance scheme, to tackle macroeconomic shocks on labour markets.

Consider the introduction of social and environmental conditionalities in the use of the European Funds. In particular, social conditionalities for the ESF+ should include respect of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights, as well as social dialogue, collective bargaining and workers’ participation rights.


  1. Taxation policy

Fight tax avoidance and tax evasion, including through alliances with civil society organisations.

Fully respecting that personal income taxation policy remains a national competence, increase progressivity in personal income taxation rates, as well as maximum marginal tax rates.

Implement a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base for all EU businesses. Implement a common minimum corporate taxation rate and counter the fall in corporate tax rates. Prevent tax avoidance in digital business models


  1. Wages and collective bargaining

Achieve wage increases and upward wage convergence in Europe, to address the wage gaps between and within countries (particularly between East and West), improve the wage share in the economy, reduce inequalities, and enhance internal demand and productivity – including through:

  • All available economic and social governance tools, such as the European Semester, the Employment Guidelines, the European Pillar of Social Rights, the Social Scoreboard and any other legislative and policy measures;
  • The launch of a tripartite Partnership on wages and collective bargaining, involving European and national social partners and institutions.

In this context, strengthen national sectoral collective bargaining as a fundamental right and an essential tool for equality and prosperity for all, including through a European legal instrument to:

  • Promote the right to collective bargaining, including respect for the right to organise, that makes collective bargaining possible and reinforces/establishes sectoral collective bargaining in each country and across countries;
  • Set legal frameworks, minimum wage standards and measures for upward convergence;
  • Amend Public Procurement rules to ensure that tenders go to companies that respect the right to collective bargaining and sectoral agreements;
  • Ensure the full implementation of the principle of equal pay for equal work; by addressing any form of wage and social dumping and divergence, between and within countries as well as in multinational enterprises across Europe.

Additionally, introduce an EU directive to address the gender pay gap and binding pay-transparency measures.


  1. Social dialogue

Improve support for the relaunch of European cross-sectoral, sectoral and national social dialogue, including:

  • Support social partners in the implementation of their Social Dialogue Work Programme 2019-2021 – most importantly the conclusion of an Autonomous Agreement on Digitalisation;
  • Support the full implementation of existing Autonomous Agreements at national and sectoral level;
  • Establish/reinforce tools and funding for capacity building at national level.

Ensure that social partners agreements can become legally binding, based on the provisions of the Treaty and through a binding process for implementation to be discussed with the European Commission.


  1. Democracy at work

Reform the EU legal framework on worker’s participation and European Works Councils (EWC) towards more inclusive and robust approach to workers’ rights for information, consultation and participation. Actions should include: a legal framework on information; consultation and participation; legally binding minimum standards on workers’ board-level representation; gender equality and diversity in company boardrooms; and a review of the EWC directive.

A European directive on due diligence, focusing on human rights and responsible business conduct, should include workers’ and trade union rights, reflecting the core values of the EU Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU. The directive should provide legally binding measures for multinational companies including supply chains.  It should also strengthen a preventive approach to liability and remedies for human rights violation and environmental damage.


  1. European Pillar of Social Rights & UN 2030 Agenda

Establish an Action Plan for the implementation of the EPSR; through full involvement of social partners and a range of tools - including legislation, policy measures, targets and standards, the European Semester, the social scoreboard and the Multiannual Financial Framework.

The Action Plan should implement all principles and relevant recitals contained in the Pillar. This should be done on the basis of an in-depth analysis of what has already been achieved in terms of European and national legislation and action; and address among others specific initiatives in the fields of workers’ and trade union rights, education and training, youth non-discrimination and gender equality, public services, social protection and pension systems, minimum income schemes, child protection, fight against poverty, undeclared work, social and wage dumping.

The UN Agenda 2030 SDGs should be implemented in Europe by incorporating them into European Economic Governance and Semester, the implementation of the EPSR and the EU’s post 2020 strategy.


  1. Industrial policy and digitalisation

Design and implementation of an ‘Industrial policy Made in Europe 2030’ with a focus on the social dimension and decarbonisation. EU Competition legislation should be revisited and adapted to European industrial specificities and the needs of industrial regions.

Deliver of a more inclusive, socially just transition for workers including digitalisation and automation, in which digital technologies improve working conditions and quality employment.

Set up EU investment tools and active labour market policies to support workers in sectors facing technological change and to mitigate disruptive effects. This should include initiatives towards a digital single market that is respectful of workers, their rights (to data protection, to disconnect, and to information, consultation and participation) and their working environment and conditions.


  1. Non-standard work

Ensure equal pay for equal work, achieve fair and equal working conditions and access to social & labour rights for non-standard workers, including for platform workers, and reform/interpret competition law to give self-employed and freelance workers the right to organise and bargain collectively.


  1. Health and safety

Include a vision of zero fatal accidents at work and zero work-related cancer in a future EU strategy on occupational safety and health, also through further revision of the EU Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive.

Deliver an EU Directive on Psychosocial Risks and an EU Directive on Musculoskeletal Disorders.


  1. Sustainable development, climate change, energy policy

Make climate action one of the first priorities of EU policy and increase the 2030 target to reach zero net emissions by 2050; including through consulting trade unions on, and involving them in, a European Green Deal.  This should be based on a proactive and inclusive EU governance, matching environmental with economic and social aspects.

Establish just transition plans to leave no one behind, through public and private investment for quality job creation, job transition and anticipation, appropriate funding (including a Just Transition Fund), social protection, upskilling & reskilling, reducing harmful working conditions and protecting health & safety at work.


  1. Fair mobility, free movement and posting of workers

Achieve fair labour mobility, based on equal treatment of workers, and fight against abuses, through:

  • The establishment of the European Labour Authority with an active role for social partners;
  • A transposition of the revised Posting of Workers Directive that fully respects the equal treatment principle; and the application of the Enforcement Directive;
  • The conclusion of the Mobility Package to extend equal treatment and equal rights and protection to all categories of mobile workers;
  • The revision of Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems, in a way that ensures equality, adequacy and portability of social protection for all categories of mobile workers, with no discrimination nor indexation mechanisms.


  1. Migration

A comprehensive migration and asylum agenda for Europe that commits all member states; based on solidarity, responsibility and full respect of human rights, including the revision of the Dublin Regulations and the support to search and rescue at sea.

Establish safe and legal channels for economic migration, and an integration and inclusion policy based on equal treatment of migrants in the labour market; including through the full implementation of the Partnership for Integration signed by the European Commission and the social partners in 2017.


  1. International trade

Ensure enforceable labour provisions and sanctions for violations of labour rights in trade agreements.

Full trade union involvement in consultations with the Commission on the mandate, progress, conclusion, implementation and enforcement of trade negotiations.


  1. External relations

Ensure full respect of European social rights and values, of social dialogue and social partners involvement in the European Neighbourhood Policy, in enlargement policy, and in the EuroMed region.

Strengthen and reform multilateralism and defend European economic, social and environmental values and policies within the multilateral institutions and fora, including the G7 and G20.

Fully protect jobs and workers’ rights and protection, today and in the future, in the framework of Brexit negotiations and future agreements.