(20 November 2012) Training was the main issue. The unions and employers considered the follow up of their conference on the Future of Jobs and Skills in the European electricity industry, 15 November. The evaluation was very positive with a shared interest to address the looming lack of skilled staff for the sector. Presentations of national bodies involved in vocational education and labour market research underlined that this is a common problem in all EU countries. Relying on mobility and importing skilled staff from other countries will have limits. Investment in training and skills is an urgent necessity. The union and employers representatives therefore decided to continue to work together on this issue and explore the possibilities of setting up an EU Sector Skill Council that could bring all various stakeholders together.
The employers and unions are also considering a Framework of Actions on Training. The trade union group has made proposals and the employers provided their comments and contributions. There is a common approach on most issues and agreement on the priorities. Discussions remain over actions to stimulate young workers to enter the industry, the contribution to the Commission consultation on the Quality of Traineeships and the best way to implement the agreement and what steps to take when the agreement is not implemented. It is expected that the Framework of Actions will be concluded in March. The social partners will also undertake to consult their members.
Others issues on the agenda:
- Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) – EPSU presented the results of a research project undertaken with SOMO, the Dutch research group on CSR on how solid the reporting is of companies on CSR, how they use the Global Reporting Initiative and the Electricity Utility Sector Supplement. The report is a follow up to an earlier report on CSR in the EU electricity sector done by SOMO for EPSU
- The social dialogue committee agreed to review their joint statement of 2009
- A representative of the European Commission presented the main lines of the Communication Making the internal energy market work It was published 15 November 2012. It sets out a range of actions the European Commission and Member States are to take to ensure the internal market functions better. One of these is to phase out socalled regulated prices that protect domestic households. There was much discussion on the communication as certainly on the trade union side it is argued that the Commission relies on the markets to solve problems that can only be addressed by government action and investment in public infrastructure. The Commission is also consulting on the best ways to deal with capacity allocation schemes and has published detailed national country reports.
Next year the union side will chair the meeting. It will be a colleague from IndustriAll. The meeting took place on 16 November 2012, Brussels. Colleagues from Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, Switserland, UK took part. The union preparatory meeting was chaired by Jan Ruden, SEKO. He is vice-president of the committee.
Next meetings are in 2013:
15 March, 24 May, 13 September, 15 November