Executive Committee discusses right2strike, organizing and pillar of social rights

(April 2016) With the agreement on information and consultation signed by the trade unions and the employers (ministers) for central government a major step has been made. Hundred thousands of public service workers will have improved rights concluded the Executive. It met to discuss progress and actions on a range of topics like economic governance. Europe’s workers need a pay increase and certainly many public service workers after years of pay cuts and freezes.  Other issues included:

  •   The progress on the inter-sectoral negotiations on active ageing.
  •   Adoption of a position paper on digitalisation.
  •   The action against the commercialisation of health and other care
  •   Trade. EPSU Executive adopted a position against the Trade agreement between Canada and the EU (CETA). It does not live up to our demands.
  •   Refugees
  •   Circular economy
  •   Organising and recruitment. Following discussion at the November meeting we developed our policies further. We discussed it in several constituency meetings in Central and Eastern Europe. Many seminars have taken place. The Executive Committee decided to focus resources on supporting projects of unions that seek to activate members and that have concrete targets for recruiting new members.

Trade union rights

Esther Lynch, confederal secretary of ETUC, gave an overview of the ETUC trade union rights campaign. We are asking Members of the European Parliament to pledge their support for trade union rights. The executive committee adopted a resolution in support of the ETUC work. The resolution was proposed by the colleagues from the Mediterranean region. It calls for the EU to adhere to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg as foreseen in the Treaty of Lisbon.  With members of the Executive Esther discussed the proposal of the European Commission to develop a pillar of social rights. This initiative of the European Commission is a response to the demands of the trade unions to develop Social Europe. It will be an opportunity to stress trade union demands. It can thus build confidence in an EU that responds to workers, our families and communities. The proposals for the social pillar have three parts:

  •   Equal opportunities and access to the labour market
  •   Fair working conditions
  •   Adequate and sustainable social protection

They have to be underpinned by social dialogue and collective bargaining. Members and ETUC are not blind to the risks of the Commission strategy. The Commission continues to stress its Better Regulation and so-called Refit Agenda. These undermine a credible social strategy. The Better Regulation Agenda seeks to exclude Small and Medium sized Enterprises from health and safety, consumer and environmental regulations for example.

The Executive Committee adopted the EPSU annual report 2015 and the final 2015 finance report.

Membership requests of the following unions were approved:

  •   Federation of Energy Workers – Podkrepa (FEW-Podkrepa). 
  •   Thessaloniki water company (EYATH) workers unions (SEEYATH). 
  •   Independent Trade Union of Health of Montenegro (ITUHM). 
  •   The Panhellenic Federation of workers at municipal water-sewerage companies (POE-DEYA). 
  •   Democratic Trade Union of Crèche Employees (BDDSZ). 

The Executive Committee considered the forthcoming PSI Congress 31-October- 3 November 2017, Geneva. Action orientated policies focused around core themes like trade union rights, organizing, redistribution of wealth and tax justice and promoting public services for example are to be considered. The Executive Committee further indicated the positions on core amendments to the PSI constitution to be discussed by the Constitutional Working party.

The EPSU Executive Committee took place 19-20 April 2016, Brussels. It was chaired by vice-president Isolde Kunkel-Weber. Close to 90 union leaders from 27 countries participated in the meeting.