European Pillar of Social Rights
Eurocadres has been part of the process of ETUC on developing a position of the European trade union movement on the public consultation of the European Commission on the European Pillar of Social Rights. We therefore to a large extent follow the joint response as many of our priorities are reflected in that. In our response we make some specific remarks for the issues we chose to prioritise.
See PDF below for the full response. In the article you will find the specific priorities of Eurocadres.
The free movement of people within an open labour market is a corner stone of the European Union. Especially labour mobility of high-qualified professionals and managers, makes a vital contribution to a knowledge-based European economy and society that is consequently, enhancing Europe’s competitiveness.
Education is the generator of economic growth and civilisation. Having more knowledge leads to innovations, job creation and higher stability. Those with higher education tend to have shorter unemployment periods than those without. Therefore, investing in education benefits the society as a whole. Eurocadres believes that a strong European economy will be reached by supporting higher education and research.
This means encouraging strategic investment, in particular in research, innovation and higher education, and working closely with trade unions to identify and deliver such investment in a way that creates the sustainable improvement of employment and social standards as laid down in the EU Treaties.
There is scope and need for further EU action. As stated in the draft European Parliament statement on the Social Pillar, this process must lead to CONCRETE proposals from the Commission, including legislative ones. Secondly, the EU level actions should concentrate on the issues which are in the competence of the EU, in particular working life.
New skills requirements
EU is suffering from substantial skills mismatch: between 25 to 45 % are either under- or over-qualified. Higher education institutions must work closer with Social Partners to minimise risk of skills mismatch. Labour mobility within EU is low: only 3.3 % of EU citizens work in another EU country. We need more incentives for people to make use of the freedom to move across borders, minimising the labour gap and skills mismatch. Currently jobs do not reach the right people and vice versa. However, mobility must always be voluntary.
Those with higher education tend to have shorter unemployment periods than those without. Investments in higher education, research & innovation are essential and benefits the society as a whole.
Transition support systems must be strong, giving the opportunity, also for highly skilled, to up- and re-skill in particular during highly transformative developments, such as digitalisation.
Higher education largely focuses on the young, but there is an increasing need to adapt or complement curricula and financial support for professional employees in need of professional development or reskilling; this should be taken into account in both EU and national policies. Employers also have a responsibility for their employees: workplaces should support their employees’ skills in the long run. In addition, governments should have instruments to support the labour market during large and fast structural reforms;
We must recognise that increasing opportunities for skills development further up the labour market can create knockon opportunities further down. Education and training is not a zerosum game. Employers have a major responsibility to invest in their workforce, and provide progression routes and career development opportunities.
Professional and Managerial Staff's access to knowledge and skills development should be facilitated. Working as a professional requires a constant upgrade of skills, keeping up with modern technologies, digitalisation and new working methods. Access to professional development ensures longer and better working lives, improves the functioning of the labour market and increases the overall productivity of the economy, enhancing Europe’s global competitiveness. There is also an increasing need to adapt or complement curricula and financial support for professional employees in need of professional development or reskilling. Higher education must be made more accessible for those that have already entered the labour market.
Work-life balance and gender equality
The groundless derogation of Professionals & Managers (autonomous workers) from the scope of the working time directive must end. Only 19 % of managers and 7 % of professionals can freely determine their own working hours.
Enabling women to take up managerial roles, as well as executive positions, is a key measure to promote change in attitudes as well as organisational behaviour and culture. Eurocadres supports the Women on Boards directive. A competitive Europe needs to include not just one gender in leading positions in economy.
Psychosocial health risks
To continuously –particularly when restructuring and reorganising – assess psychosocial health risks is a clear legal requirement. The European Occupational Safety and Health framework directive should contain direct mentions of psychosocial health risks to further clarify this. Other paths to increase awareness of and action on mental health in the workplace should also be assessed.
The EU Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work 2014-2020 contains very few concrete actions. The EU targets regarding working environment must focus on challenges of modern working life in the knowledge-based labour markets and should include legislative initiatives (e.g. an Ergonomics Directive).
The social partners have an important role to play in improving the situation. The framework agreement on work-related stress should be taken up for discussion once again.
The right to freedom of expression: including protection from victimisation and dismissal for ‘whistleblowers’, outlawing ‘blacklisting’ and offering redress and compensation to victims. The best way to discourage whistleblowing is to make it unclear whether it is safe to report or not. A patchwork approach where no minimum protection level is set across countries and sectors puts workers in danger. The protection of whistleblowers must therefore be horizontal and EU-action is necessary to create a more secure situation for today’s workers as both workers and companies are active across borders.