Improving Pay and Conditions and building Social Europe

Thursday, 7 June, 2018

EU Member States and the European Parliament are currently working on their positions regarding the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive proposed by the European Commission in December last year. The proposals should improve the employment situation for workers with a precarious contract and not make it worse for others or undermine their rights. This and the Work-Life Balance for parent and carers directive will be discussed in the Council of Ministers meeting on 25 June. Our recent collective bargaining conference underlined why such steps are important to improve overall employment protection.

The conference, under the theme of quality employment and quality of public services took place in Brussels on 6-7 June.  A number of pieces of new research were presented including case studies on the employment conditions of child care workers and prison service staff. Delegates’ contributed to the debate with their experiences, underlining how bad working conditions impact on service quality where in terms of education for children or rehabilitation of prisoners. In the case of prisons, the evidence of increasing violence faced by many workers was alarming. Other issues debated at the conference included a new report on tackling low pay in sectors dominated by women and a new analysis of pay trends in the public and private sectors. Representatives of the EPSU youth network were active, chairing sessions and putting together their own panel discussion. I was delighted to welcome them in the EPSU office after the conference. Working hard and in overdrive ! 

And we’ve passed a new milestone on the way to Congress. With a year to go to Dublin, all affiliates have now received the Draft Programme of Action and the proposed amendments to the constitution. After the discussions in the Congress working groups, standing committees and the Executive, it is now over to our affiliated unions to express their views.

To end: it is less than a year to the European Parliament elections. We will be called upon to defend the values we stand for: solidarity, social justice and democracy. Our challenge is to urge workers and members to come out to vote for a Europe that embodies those values. After what I experienced at our quality employment conference and with the young workers delegates, the energy is there to make the difference !