(25 April 2019) The SpitzenKandidat for the European socialists and democrats Frans Timmermans addressed the ETUC Executive Committee. He underlined his priorities including around democracy, strengthening collective bargaining so workers benefit more, ensuring all workers have a decent wage, equality between women and men, and addressing tax avoidance and evasion to ensure the rich and corporations pay their part. Critical questions were raised over Better Regulation and Information and Consultations rights for workers in public administrations. He committed to work with EPSU and ETUC to address the gap and ensure all workers have information and consultation rights. Many points of the trade unions have found their way into the PES programme and in the priorities of this Spitzenkandidat. The perspective of a progressive majority in the EP that could deliver the next Commission President is a possibility and would break the reign of the Conservatives (EPP) who have delivered the Commission President preventing progressive policies for over 15 years. ETUC seeks discussion with other parties SpitzenKandidaten as well.
The Members of the ETUC Executive Committee discussed its position with regard to the amendments on the Programme of Action for Congress. EPSU is maintaining a number of amendments where the text is not clear as regards investment. We do not promote investment everywhere independent of sustainability and other public interest criteria. Most issues were resolved. Other debates took place on voting procedures, on the programme for Congress and the report of activities. EPSU raised the importance of Congress supporting the demands for a strong interpretation of the EU Treaty articles on social dialogue and ensuring information and consultation rights for all.
The Executive Committee adopted policy positions on the role of Artificial Intelligence and the work place, and on energy transition. Unions can support more ambitious goals to achieve larger reductions of green house gas emissions in 2030 (-55%) when linked with just transition principles and funding. Several industries and regions will be effected and need new perspectives, new industries and services.
The ETUC Executive Committee took place 24 April 2019, Brussels. The EPSU General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary (ETUC Programme of Action) took part.