Developing social dimension of Europe's energy policy says EPSU Committee's Presidium

(16 January 2012) Company developments, European energy policy and future prospects for the trade unions were considered in discussions of the EPSU Standing Committee Utilities Presidium on 12 January. {{Sven Bergelin}}, the EPSU Utilities Committee President welcomed that the Commission has included the social dimension in its recent [Energy Roadmap 2050->art8257]. {"This is a success for EPSU which has argued for years that addressing the social implications of European energy policy should be part and parcel of the Commission’s work. This is to be built upon to ensure high quality jobs for workers and just transition towards a decarbonised power sector by 2050. This is the only way in which the radical change that is before us will be socially acceptable"}. EPSU will continue to work with others to ensure energy poverty is addressed as more and more people have difficulty paying their bills. {{Jan Ruden}}, EPSU vice-president noted {“The energy road maps continue to put the internal market and promoting competition as the core of the European energy project. This is a faulty approach and leads to underinvestment in networks and in production capacity. Relying on private investors who demand high profit margins will make electricity more expensive than it needs to be. We do not agree with the Commission approach to advocate merchant lines and commercialization of the public infrastructure. The role of public enterprise should be given prominence in the future development of Europe’s energy infrastructure.”} And {{Reszo Gal}}, EPSU vice-president (Hungary) drew attention to the challenges of the decarbonised power sector for unions. {“The power sector will change with new forms of production and use of new technologies, and new services being created with the development of smart grids and more attention for energy efficiency. While we will remain vigilant about the consequences for workers and citizens of such developments like smart meters (Please link with the social dialogue smart meters joint statement), new jobs will be created. These workers will want unions to defend their interests. Improving working conditions and organizing these workers is a union priority.”} The different scenarios of the roadmaps consider all technologies and colleagues had a broad ranging exchange on the role of nuclear, the challenges for gas and coal, renewables and energy efficiency, Desertec and smart grids, the fragmentation of the sector. The next Standing Committee on Public Utilities (20 March) will discuss this in more detail with key points being the critique of the internal market and the mechanism of private finance advocated by the Commission, improving the social dimension, ensuring democratic decision-making processes and the public service nature of infrastructure. Contacts with governments and MEPS will be key. The Presidium of the Committee met to prepare the agenda of the [next meeting of the committee 20 March 2011->art8167], Brussels ([MINUTES last meeting 28 September 2011->art8051]). Issues on the agenda will include: - Discussion on the EPSU input in the Energy roadmap 2050. - Follow up on nuclear safety and the recent agreement (please the link with the social dialogue position on nuclear safety) with Eurelectric. EPSU campaigns for inclusion of subcontracted workers in the nuclear safety regime. - Proposals of the Commission on Public Procurement and Concessions - Developments in Water (including the European citizens initiative on water) and Waste. There are a range of company developments in the energy sector that merit discussion as several companies have announced restructuring. The meeting took place on 12 January 2012, in Berlin. EPSU Deputy General Secretary participated. For more information on the work of EPSU: - Twitter (Energy unions) for relevant information from a broad range of sources [http://twitter.com/energyunions->http://twitter.com/energyunions] EPSU’s work on Energy [http://www.epsu.org/r/34->rub34] with links to the social dialogue committees in gas and electricity Our work on water and keeping water in public hands [http://www.epsu.org/r/38->rub38] Waste and environmental services [http://www.epsu.org/r/37->rub37] Research on developments in the utilities is available on Public Services International Research Unit [www.psiru.org->www.psiru.org]