Our Position

Presentation by Martin Jefflén – Draft Resolution A: Professional and Managerial Staff Taking Responsibility for Strengthening European Integration Based on Democracy, Solidarity and Equality

“It was now one and a half year ago that we started the process leading up to Congress. This time has been filled with discussions on a number of themes that are among Eurocadres’ priorities.

For us the Congress is a time when we can come together and review the different policy areas that we are working on, a time when we can strive to make a balance, find our priorities and perfect our views and our analyses.

The draft resolution that you should have in front of you has been prepared firstly by a working group and later also worked on by the Presidium and Executive Committee. It has been sent out to member organisations for amendments and the executive committee has made proposals that has lead up to a final consolidated draft.

The proposed title of the resolution, “Professional and Managerial Staff Taking Responsibility for Strengthening European Integration Based on Democracy, Solidarity and Equality”, is a lengthy one. But it is also a precise title that summarises our view on Europe and our role in it.

As we set out in the resolution, Europe and its labour market are changing rapidly. The percentage of Professional and Managerial Staff (P&MS) within Europe’s labour force is growing continuously. Knowledge work and the internet economy are changing the way in which work is organised; we, as Professional and Managerial Staff, are often the first ones to face new contents, problems and opportunities. Individual competences and skills are becoming more and more important; collective negotiations must therefore be able to deal with individual needs.

In May next year the European Union is going to elections. In times of economic crisis and political turmoil, we can see that citizens are questioning the European project and even democracy itself. There is an urgent need for a clear trade union response. P&MS can have a specific role in such a response, because we can contribute to the strengthening of a Social Europe and we can underpin the need for a clear focus on higher education, research and innovation – a competitive Europe.

Our joint message together with the ETUC, that austerity has proven itself to be the wrong way to try to fix the crisis, is of course once again raised. We however do not believe that the remedy lies in national deficit spending policies. The cure for the crisis and the way to counter austerity is a plan of strategic investments in innovation, research and higher education, coupled with policies for social cohesion and inclusion, and investments directly financed by the European Union to promote sustainable growth in an economy based on skills and knowledge. Such a solution needs a continued European integration based on democracy, solidarity and equality.

The core activities of Eurocadres are of course connected to our role as a recognised cross-sectoral social partner. Our autonomy and representativeness is the foundation for this work. Although, in this, we emphasise the need to work closely with the ETUC and also with CEC in our joint liaison committee. Being well-coordinated will of course mean that we can be more successful in our work. We confirm the importance of the agreements with CEPLIS and ANSE for sharing our respective competences and for representing them in the European social dialogue and we will continue to develop links with social partners representing employers.

The systems for social dialogue – bargaining, dispute resolution, political influence and/or involvement in decision-making processes – are constructed in different ways in most of the European countries. These models all need to be strengthened, on the European cross-industry and sectoral level as well as on the national level. Trade unions need to play a clear role in this.

Increasing trade union density is of course crucial for this and we especially call on all trade unions to strengthen the efforts made towards organising P&MS. Good representation at all levels in undertakings is essential for trade union success, and the way forward will be to improve the organising.

We are not afraid of globalisation. But we see the need for Europe to be competitive in today’s knowledge-based globalised economy and transnational interlinked societies. Education, qualifications, research, development and skills are basic building blocks of this economy.

Professionals and managers have to be innovative, mobile and flexible within their jobs, on the labour market and throughout their professional life, while respecting their personal life. But we also clearly underline the necessity of a fair balance between individual security for each worker and flexibility through social dialogue. We will continue to insist on quality public systems to guarantee welfare, and will reject cuts in public systems as an answer to requests for flexibility.

We want Europe to be a higher education area with excellent working conditions for both staff and students, in order to attract excellence in European research. We support the construction of the European Research Area.

Innovation has to be an overall principle, in particular in working life. We see it as something which makes a major impact on lifelong learning, sustainable development, creativity, openness and social dialogue. So in short: Globalisation is continuously and permanently affecting the daily work of P&MS and we call for “more and better globalisation”.

One aspect of flexibility is mobility. Knowledge and science recognises no borders between states, and even the EU is too narrow for P&MS ‘mobility’. For the past few days it has become very clear that a core element of the treaty, free movement of persons, is under fierce attack. This resolution is also a strong call to EU-leaders to resist these nasty attempts to once again close borders and raise barriers. We instead want to enhance mobility from one task or job to another, across branches, across countries and even beyond Europe. Mobility, however, must be a free choice. We will continue to work to overcome concrete difficulties such as complicated procedures for getting qualifications and diplomas recognised, and the problems caused by the various pension schemes in cross-border mobility; we will therefore further develop our network of trade union advisors, mobil-net.”

The traditional working timetable is not always enough to measure performance. The protection and development of life, energy and health; qualifications and employability; a career within a hierarchy; income and professional reputation; and a balance in terms of time, energy and commitment between work, oneself, family and friends, social concerns and political responsibilities are all aspects that constitute a good working life for P&MS. There is a pressing need for a considerable improvement of the workload conditions of P&MS, in particular in reference to the gender perspective, mainly by negotiating collective agreements.

Our concept of Managerial Social Responsibility, MSR, can build a bridge between the defence of the European social model, and the aim of recovering and strengthening the competitiveness of the European economy.

We stress the need for protection of whistle-blowers, and especially P&MS. It is the task of EUROCADRES to assist and defend its members in trying to bring about such protection. We are committed to supporting the efforts of our member organisations with European and international institutions for the legal protection of whistle-blowers.

An important topic addressed in the resolution is of course P&MS participation in European Works Councils. P&MS activity should be much higher than it is today. But we also stress that the only legitimate representatives with a mandate for negotiating are the social partners. Promoting P&MS participation in EWCs should be done in close cooperation with the European Trade Union Federations.

Regarding Transnational Company Agreements they can serve as an opportunity to further develop Managerial Social Responsibility. EUROCADRES asks the Commission to regulate these agreements in a framework directive negotiated by the social partners.

The differences between countries in the regulation of professions are one of the most serious obstacles to worker mobility in Europe, and have a particular impact on P&MS, for whom mobility can be a career opportunity. EUROCADRES will continue its work concerning the implementation of legislation on professional qualifications. The principle of freedom of movement must be guaranteed for P&MS.

Mandated by and based on the decisions of the October Executive Committee meeting, I hereby present the final consolidated draft of resolution A for approval by the congress.