(17 May 2018) The main topic of the 57th EPSU Executive Committee was its decision to take the European Commission to Court in an unprecedented move to defend Social Europe. It had a principled discussion over the refusal of the European Commission to propose the social partner agreement on information and consultation rights to Council to implement it as a directive. If done, this would ensure that workers in central governments would have the same rights as other workers. It adopted a political strategy to further those rights in the meantime. The Commission's decision deprives nearly 10 million workers of protection of their information and consultation rights in EU law.
The Executive Committee took a range of other decisions:
- The EPSU position on the Western Balkan strategy of the European Commission was adopted. The social pillar of the strategy needs to reinforced and public investment in public services defended and promoted. We have now sent our position to the European Commission. It will be discussed in the relevant constituency meetings.
- We endorsed further actions to promote equality between women and men following the Prague Conference. EPSU supports the work of PSI and others for an ILO Convention to end violence against women. The EPSU Executive Committee endorsed the Prague Statement #Breakingwiththepast
- The Executive Committee had a first discussion of the EPSU Programme of Action for the Congress 4-7 June 2019 in Dublin. It will consider the Future of Public Services, the Future of Work in public services and the Future of Trade Unions in public services. Several amendments were made that will be included and the Congress Resolutions Committee 23 May will consider these further. The amendments to the Constitution were approved and will be circulated to the affiliated organisations shortly. The Executive Committee approved the financial assistance for delegates from Central and Eastern European countries to Congress.
- It approved the key issues EPSU wants to see reflected in the programme of action to be adopted at the ETUC Congress in May 2019 (Vienna). They include amongst others the importance of standing for collectively funded and democraticly run public services, the rejection of public private partnerships, progressive and just taxation, a critique of privatized standard setting and the recognition that all workers should have information and consultation rights in EU law. We discussed the Future of the ETUC underlining the importance for EPSU and Europe’s public service unions of having a well functioning, efficient ETUC Secretariat that reflect gender balance and regional diversity. Working methods can be improved to maximize our influence over employers, governments and European institutions.
- The issues for the ETUC Congress are further reflected in our approach to the European parliament elections in 2019. Under threat from conservative, extreme-right and Eurosceptic forces standing for a democratic, public-service and worker friendly European Union that brings progress, prosperity and peace is a key aim. The European Parliament has made a difference on important issues for workers and public services. We will work with ETUC and others to realise this Europe that can make a difference.
- The ETUC Pay Rise Campaign and its proposals for a Wage Alliance were considered. The payrise campaign has been making a difference for workers and especially in the New Member States it assisted in upwards wage conference. EPSU will continue to support the demands for pay rise for the hundred thousands of public service workers that have not had an increase for years, for the strengthening of collective bargaining, social dialogue and the capacity of unions to negotiate decent pay and conditions.
- We noted key economic developments in Europe, the work being done to influence the Annual Growth Survey and the influence we seek over the Deepening of the Economic and Monetary Union.
- The priorities of the PSI following its World Congress in Geneva last year. An impressive body of work is being proposed and affiliated unions will have the possibility to react and engage with the work suggested before it is adopted in the Autumn Executive Committee of the PSI.
- The final EPSU Finance report was approved and the comments of the Member Auditors noted. We have further done an external audit of our accounts which showed these were kept in good order and not problems were discovered.
- The EPSU Executive welcomed new affiliates: The Firefighters union of Montenegro, the trade union of state, public and banking institutions of Tajikistan and the French energy union CFE-CGC.
- The EPSU Executive further noted the substantial work that has been done in our sectors and the social dialogues and overseen by the standing committees.
The meeting took place 8-9 May 2018, Brussels. It was presided by EPSU President Isolde Kunkel-Weber.