The members of the Sectorial social dialogue committee Gas want to point out their reflections on the ECOTEC study.
While Eurogas, EMCEF and EPSU underline the importance of a stable and prospective growth and employment in the gas industry they also accentuate the need to prepare for future evolutions and their effect on employment. The ECOTEC study offers a first insight on what has happened and which conclusions could be drawn for the future. The information provided help to understand the influence of the internal market for electricity and gas on employment, often through reorganisation of the companies while recognising the influence of other factors. The study does indicate that the impact on the gas sector has been less pronounced then in the electricity sector. It is a rapidly developing sector.
A follow up needed:
The social partners of the gas sector would have wished more detail of analysis on the impact on the gas sector especially with a focus on how the internal market and other directives and energy policies influence each other and the companies and employment.
With reference to the gas industry less information is available and as a consequence less in-depth analysis and conclusions have been drawn. This lack of profoundness cannot be compensated by applying the results of the electricity sector to the gas industry. Although both sectors deal with energy their respective evolution is quite different. While the evolution has fairly progressed in the electricity sector, the gas sector is still going on to adapt to a new economic environment, which does not only include liberalisation, sometimes accompanied by privatisation, but also concentration, new supplier systems, and the increase of renewable energies etc..
We suggest that a follow up study should take account of experiences from other “liberalized” sectors (transport, telecommunications, post and electricity e.g. and as far as relevant) and to identify practicable methods evidenced to produce better understanding and knowledge about future needs. The social partners would appreciate to bring in their experience and knowledge in order to encourage prospective studies of the European Commission.
...with a specific focus
It is of particular interest to go further into analysis how new employment has been created, what kind of new qualifications have been identified and which technical key competences (for the blue as well as white collar workers) might be needed in the future.
Challenges The study does identify a number of challenges for the social partners such as making sure skills and competencies allow for continuity, continuing with a high level of health and safety, attracting young talents to the industry that merit special attention. A major issue that has been identified is the increase of outsourcing. The social partners are determined to consider these challenges further in the context of their ongoing work.
The social partners have approached the European Commission for support to create a working group that will consider questions related to competencies, demographic evolution/aging and the impact of unbundling. This could lead to processes of adaptation of the companies and apart from possible critical effects on investment and security of supply will have an impact on employment relations.
Continued consultation is important
We refer to our joint letter to the Commission (DG-Energy, 28 June and attached) which raises a number of concerns related to:
• the absence of an analysis how the European energy package will effect employment for example. The social partners have requested how the Commission will take this into account;
• Request for information on the results of impact assessments undertaken, and the opportunity to discuss these as social partners with the European Commission;
• Demand to be consulted on the new measures being prepared regarding the internal market for electricity and gas.
We also ask the Commission to inform us of the conclusions it draws from the EcoTec study in that letter.
We further suggest that the European Commission sends the results of the EcoTec study to the Members of the European Energy Community. This will allow them to consider the possible consequences and reflect on eventual measures to address them.