(12 May 2021) The European Commission launched the Pact of Skills in November 2020. The objective is to work with the relevant stakeholders to reflect and decide on the measures to be undertaken in order to adequately skill people of working age in their industrial ecosystem. One such industrial eco-system is Renewable Energies. It is a priority given its importance to the European economy and to ensure the EU can realise the Green deal.. A lack of skilled staff can hold realising growth and the green deal back. At the same time the content of many jobs is changing, and certain industries grow while others are in decline and encouraging transfer of skilled and qualified workers between those will be important. For the Commission EU Commissioner for Environment, Oceans and Fisheries Virginijus Sinkevičius participated. He presented the Commission’s plans for stimulating the Blue Economy (all activities related to oceans, seas and coasts) which includes ocean renewable technologies like wind, wave and tidal energies.
He referred to the forthcoming Communication of the Commission on Zero Pollution in air, water and soil.
Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit addressed the Pact for Skills and its links with the European action plan to implement the Pillar of Social rights. Thierry Breton, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs stressed the Industrial Strategy, its relation with the Green Deal and how a skilled work force is crucial for the EU. The Commission encouraged all to work on a European Skills Agenda including the Pact for Skills to support the strategic industry. The social partners for the electricity and gas industry were invited to contribute to the discussion and share their thoughts on the commitments for the pact on skills.
The EPSU General Secretary participated. For trade unions the concept of Just Transition needs to be mainstreamed throughout the different strategies. Just transition requires developed social protection systems and public services and is based on social dialogue and collective bargaining. Anticipation of change, training and up-skilling and reskilling is important for workers. Unions demand that workers have the right to training. Unions need to be involved from the workplace up to the sectoral level and through European Works Councils in the large multinational companies. As many companies and industries request public funding and support for making the transition, this support is to be tied to having collective agreements and respecting environmental and social standards.
The meeting took place 11 May 2021 online.
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