The European Commission has announced that it will focus more on the achievements of the European Social Model in future and that it will adjust it to meet new challenges. Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker explained in his State of the Union speech in September: “This means that workers should get the same pay for the same work in the same place. (...) Europe is not the Wild West, but a social market economy.” In doing so, the Commission intends to drive forward the plan, which Juncker already announced in autumn 2015: the development of a “European Pillar of Social Rights”. It shall include three chapters, firstly 'Equal Opportunities and Access to the Labour Market', secondly ‘Fair Working Conditions’ and thirdly ‘Adequate and Sustainable Social Protection’. Regarding these proposals, the Commission has now launched a so-called public consultation.
Joint action by European trade unions
The European trade unions have developed a concept, in which the Chamber of Labour was also involved, since from the point of view of workers the proposal by the Commission does not go far enough. Initially, it would be important that the Pillar of Social Rights applies to the entire EU and not only to the Eurozone; furthermore, the enforcement of those rights, which are defined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the European Social Charter and the European Convention on Human Rights, must be guaranteed by it. It should promote social dialogue and collective bargaining and work towards ensuring that the approximation of labour conditions in the European Union means an improvement for all workers and that any backward steps are prevented. The position is clear: “Fundamental social rights must take precedence over economic freedoms.”
Speaking with one voice - simply and quickly!
However, there are many different groups that want to have their influence felt and there is a rea danger that once more the interests of major corporations and banks will prevent effective change. It is therefore necessary that as many employees as possible reply to the Consultation of the Commission. A Website has been set up for this purpose: it enables everybody to convey the concept of the trade unions and the Chamber of Labour to the Commission – in a quick and uncomplicated manner. We appeal to everyone to respond to the Consultation of the Commission! The Consultation will be closed on 31 December.