Schmit reassures social partners for central governments their digitalisation agreement is in friends’ hands

Social Dialogue meeting with Commissioner Schmit, 19 February 2024

Digitalisation, telework and right to disconnect: Commissioner Schmit reassures social partners for central governments their agreement is in friends’ hands.

TUNED/EUPAE press statement  (Brussels, 4 March 2024) In a meeting held at the Berlaymont on 19 February, Commissioner Schmit welcomed the EU sectoral agreement on digitalisation and the signatory social partners’ request to implement it through EU legislation.

One month after the Val Duchesse II summit on social dialogue, Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights said that the Commission must “walk the talk and get results” and that “(social partner) agreements are welcome”.

To this end, the Commissioner Schmit discussed with a delegation of trade unions and employers for central governments how best to make progress.

The meeting follows the request sent on 6 October 2022 to the Commission by the EPSU-led trade union delegation, TUNED, and the employers for central governments, EUPAE, to implement their agreement on digitalisation via a directive for Council decision.

The request was sent on the same day as the signing of the agreement with the participation of the Commission. It had been left undealt with since, pending the outcome of the cross-sectoral negotiations on telework and right to disconnect, which eventually fell through last November.

Yet, digitalisation, AI and telework continue to gain more importance in the daily work of 9 million workers and civil servants across the EU.

The joint delegation of EU social partners emphasised that a legislative implementation of the sectoral agreement will be a win-win situation, for workers, public administrations, good governance as well as for the survival of EU social dialogue following the disappointing failure of cross-sector social partners to reach an agreement on telework and the right to disconnect.

As stated in the Commission Communication on the European Administrative Space (ComPAct), the need for EU common minimum social standards and protection across all EU public administrations has become all the more necessary. EU public administrations are expected to become more efficient and this must go hand in hand with better working conditions and a better service for all citizens in the EU.

The work of social dialogue on digitalisation is crucial in this regard, as recognised by the EU Ministers for public administration in the Ghent Declaration adopted on 28 February 2024.

Commissioner Schmit underlined that there was no fundamental opposition to the agreement from the Commission’s legal services, some adjustments in the agreement might be required here and there but it should become law in line with TFEU article 155.2.

The social partners are ready to work with the Commission’s services to ensure a good outcome.

Contact persons

Pablo Sanchez for EPSU-led TUNED, [email protected]

Carlos Moreno Gonzalez for EUPAE, [email protected]

For more information, see here

The joint delegation consisted of:

  • On TUNED’s side, EPSU General Secretary Jan Willem Goudriaan, ST International Secretary, TUNED co-chair Karin Brunzell, UNSA-Fonction publique International Secretary and TUNED co-chair Alain Parisot, CESI General Secretary Klaus Heeger, EPSU Policy officer/TUNED Coordinator Nadja Salson
  • on EUPAE’s side Carlos Moreno Rodriguez and Alicia Teresa Romero Muñoz, Spain, Kurt Van Raemdonck and Christophe Vanderschueren, respectively head of Cabinet and policy advisor of Deputy Prime Minister Petra De Sutter, Belgium, Christof Petsimeris, Greece.
  • Commissioner Schmit was accompanied by his cabinet and DG EMPL staff