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Brussels needs to relaunch social dialogue, at half mast in firms

Posted Jan 25, 2023, 4:10 PM

Fall in union membership, emergence of unrecognized collective organizations, low protection of collective agreements… Throughout Europe, social dialogue is weakening. Confronted with this sluggish deterioration, the European Fee has determined to behave, with out sounding the alarm.

Moderately than launching a brand new European regulation, she formulated on Wednesday a sequence of suggestions for member states to advertise social dialogue and collective bargaining. These must be agreed unanimously by the Twenty-Seven earlier than being applied. “Social dialogue makes for a extra resilient economic system,” justifies Nicolas Schmit, Commissioner accountable for employment and social rights.

On the Outdated Continent, commerce union membership and the share of staff coated by collective agreements on the nationwide degree fell from round 66% in 2000 to round 56% in 2019 on common. In some sectors, corresponding to care, there’s nearly no type of social dialogue… The emergence of labor through platforms, corresponding to Uber, with no frequent office for workers, has accelerated the weakening of social dialogue.

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Poland and Hungary referred to as to order

In its suggestions, the Fee invitations the Member States to advertise entry to info for the social companions, to outline goal standards for figuring out them and to take measures to make sure their security, when they’re repeatedly subjected to pressured or stigmatized.

In 2022, the Fee referred to as Poland and Hungary to order, similar to Romania earlier than. Different international locations have been singled out lately corresponding to Bulgaria, Greece, Croatia, Slovakia, Czechia, Cyprus, Malta, Slovenia and the Baltic international locations.

“The Fee is asking for transparency to permit the social companions to know all of the parameters of the negotiations wherein they’re referred to as upon to intervene when difficulties come up in sure international locations”, specifies a senior European official.

In recent times, non-union actions, however which undertake their position, such because the Yellow Vests in France, have been gaining momentum in Europe. Nonetheless, they aren’t consultant, which raises the query of their legitimacy. “Some Member States like France confuse civil society and social companions, however their missions are completely totally different, this poses an issue”, factors out this similar senior official.

Telecommuting and the proper to disconnect

Extra usually, the Fee additionally needs to encourage broad collective agreements, a sectoral settlement having, for instance, extra affect than an settlement at firm degree. This collective bargaining “protection” is especially weak in Romania, Bulgaria and the Baltic international locations.

Conversely, France is an effective scholar on this space. “It is without doubt one of the international locations whose collective bargaining protection is among the many highest in Europe, due to agreements prolonged to totally different branches, we slip into the corridors of energy in Brussels. However, the density of affiliation to commerce unions, round 10%, is low there in comparison with different European international locations”. This has penalties for the bargaining energy of staff.

Past that, the EU additionally needs to strongly encourage the European social companions to barter extra agreements between themselves, more likely to affect future European laws. This has been the case previously, however not for a decade…

Just one settlement is being negotiated at European degree, that on telework and the proper to digital disconnection. “As quickly because the negotiations are concluded – this summer season, editor’s be aware – the Fee will be capable of take up the outcomes and make a proposal for a European directive or regulation”, signifies Nicolas Schmit.

Different topics are below dialogue within the European Parliament on the standard of internships in firms and on a revision of the directive on European works councils. They need to be the topic of resolutions which the Fee must comply with up on if they’re adopted.

The delicate social area is repeatedly the topic of heated discussions between Member States. That is evidenced by the present negotiation of the directive on staff on digital platforms, which is skating within the Council and Parliament, deeply divided on the difficulty.

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