“High employment rates and signs of improvement for the youth”, this is how the European Commission advertises the current Quarterly Report on Employment and Social Developments in the EU. The Commission far too often paints a too rosy picture of the economic and social development in Europe. However, from the AK’s point of view, additional efforts have to be made at European level to ensure that the increased growth and employment rates also improve people’s working and living conditions. 

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On 13th March 2019, the EU institutions reached an agreement on new regulations concerning cross-border company relocations in the EU. In this context, a necessary step has also been taken to combat tax avoidance and to safeguard the co-determination rights of employees.

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The current edition of the publication “Social policy in the European Union: State of play 2018” is focussing on the European Pillar of Social Rights. The question is raised to which extent it influences a European social policy and whether it would be able to promote the creation of a European Social Union. Further topics are social security, digitalization of the labour market, progress in occupational medicine as well as eco-social policies.

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The independent Annual Sustainable Economy Survey, which has been prepared by the Chamber of Labour in cooperation with several European research institutes, clearly shows: even though economic and social developments in the Eurozone have improved over recent years, environment development has not. Hence, it is obvious that the next Commission is required to take action.

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Against the background of initiated merger control proceedings by the European Commission and the anticipated sale of the Nidec plant in Fürstenfeld, 400 jobs might be lost. In a personal conversation with Cecilio Madero Villarejo, Deputy Director-General for Antitrust at the European Commission's Competition Directorate-General, AK Steiermark President Josef Pesserl has pressed for preserving the jobs at the Austrian location.

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On the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Brussels is focussing on gender equality. Many events were organised in the advance in order to show and to discuss the still serious, mainly structural discriminations.

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Each year, the European Commission prepares a Country Report for each Member State within the framework of the European Semester. From the point of view of the Chamber of Labour, the current Report for Austria, which was published on 27 February 2019, includes several critical assessments by the Commission, but also contains a number of aspects, which have been raised by AK for years.

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About 40 % of the European labour force works in atypical forms of employment. Furthermore, a fifth of jobs in the EU are so-called “poor jobs”, which are characterised by poor working conditions and low wages. This affects young people and women in particular. But there are also new forms of employment, created within the scope of digitalisation, which come under the banner of precarious work. At European level, the European Pillar of Social Rights represents a basis to counteract shortcomings in the world of work.