BEERG: ETUC Looks to Strengthen EU Labor Laws in 2019–2023 "Action Program"

May 31, 2019

Europe’s largest trade union organization included in its four-year plan the convening of a Partnership for Collective Bargaining in the hopes of achieving a Framework Directive that commits each EU Member State to creating stronger trade union rights.

Among a number of other action items adopted, many of which the ETUC has argued for before, are the following:

  • [Create] a Partnership for Collective Bargaining, to achieve a general pay rise and upward convergence of wages and working conditions for all.  The partnership should lead to Council recommendations and possibly a Framework Directive, to reinforce and build stronger and autonomous national collective bargaining and workers’ and trade union rights in each EU Member State.

  • Reinforce and build stronger and autonomous national collective bargaining and workers’ and trade union rights in each EU Member State.  A reform of competition law, company law and new legislation on due diligence and supply chains within the single market, in order to ensure full respect for social, workers’ and trade union rights.
Long shot:  The chances of the European Commission proposing a Framework Directive on union recognition and collective bargaining seems very much a long-shot.  Even if the Commission was of a mind to proceed with such a Directive, it would be many years before it hit the national statute books.

"Having said all that, the employer community would do well to think about its position on the issue," BEERG notes.  "The stock answer that collective bargaining is something that should be an exclusive national competence and that the EU should stay out of it may not cut it.  It is always best to sort out the roof before the rain comes."

Read the full BEERG Global Labor Newsletter.