European and national sectoral social partners calling for the need to strengthen involvement of social partners to boost the recovery of the pandemic
The European Commission has published its Industrial Sector and an overview of so-called eco-systems recently. The European Trade Union Federations and the ETUC are critical about the lack of engagement with the social partners at national and European level.
The International Labour Conference has agreed a Global Call to Action outlining measures to create a human-centred recovery from the pandemic. Delegates from 181 countries representing governments, workers and employers adopted the call unanimously, prioritizing the creation of decent jobs for all and addresses the inequalities caused by the crisis. The agreement covers measures to be taken by national governments and their employer and trade union ‘social partners’, to achieve a job-rich recovery that substantially strengthens worker and social protections and supports sustainable
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
The main trade union confederations are taking part in the major national demonstration on 28 May. The unions are particularly concerned about the government’s refusal to engage in meaningful social dialogue and to consult trade unions over key pieces of legislation. The unions are also raising concerns about government plans on tax and other measures that mainly benefit the rich and risk undermining the welfare state. EPSU sent messages of solidarity.
The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations have set out a number of demands on the government to take effective measures solve the persistent problem of temporary employment in the public sector. As long ago as 2017 an agreement was negotiated to get temporary employment below 8% in the follow-up to legal rulings on excessive use of temporary contracts. The unions underline the importance of consolidating temporary staff into permanent positions taking account of their experience. The unions also want to see measures are taken that will ensure permanent reductions in
The Sanitas health union is calling on the government to offer permanent employment to the many medical and auxiliary workers who were taken on to help cope with the pandemic. These workers will see their contracts terminated once the end of the emergency is declared. The union argues that these workers have clearly demonstrated their skills and competences in helping to deal with the crisis with many facing high risks of infection and some even losing their lives to COVID. Sanitas also sees continuing staff shortages as another argument for offering these workers permanent employment.
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.