(9 July 2020) Social partners for central government administrations -EUPAE, on the employers’ side representing 18 EU governments and TUNED, for the trade unions led by EPSU- reached a joint statement on Covid-19 and its aftermath, following an online meeting on 26 June 2020.
The statement pays tribute to public sector workers who kept on delivering services to citizens, on the frontline or working from home, throughout the covid-19 pandemic.
It pledges for the positive recognition of the public sector and its workers to remain central in the ongoing EU economic recovery plans and calls for more investment in public sector personnel who have shown the value of a democratic, welfare state.
As the pandemic is not yet over, the social partners underline that the protection of workers dealing with the public, who are most exposed to the coronavirus infection, should supersede all other immediate concerns.
The priority must remain on preventing a second wave of the covid-19 pandemic by neutralizing the health risk for all workers and the people under their care and society at large, so that gradually safe social and sustainable economic activities can be restored.
The statement also promotes the notion of ‘spare capacity’ in public services, i.e. to ensure that all public services have the breathing space to cope with the unexpected such as a sanitary crisis and to avoid a crisis management based on shortages of material and human resources.
EUPAE and TUNED also underline the importance of trade union rights and an effective social dialogue at times of crisis and, amongst others, urge the European Commission to implement their agreement on information and consultation rights, not least on restructuring, via a legislative proposal for adoption in Council.