Call to the European Commission to respect the EU Treaties on social partner agreements

On 11 October 2017, UNI Europa issued a Call for Action on the European Pillar of Social Rights & Gothenburg Summit and the Hairdressing Social Partner Agreement. Information received by the trade union side was that the Commission had concluded that it would make a decision not to forward the Hairdressing and the Central Administrations social partner agreements to the Council for legislation.

This concerns the longstanding fundamental question of whether the EU Treaty gives the social partners a role as quasi co-legislators. Our position, as adopted by the ETUC Congress and UNI Europa, is that the Commission’s political views and objectives should not have any influence on its decision. Its role is to check an agreement as the guardian of the EU Treaty and to propose it to the Council if the technical criteria are met. We are convinced that the Hairdressing Agreement meets all criteria, not least because the revised agreement was finalised with the active involvement of the Commission’s legal services.

Ever since the revision of the Hairdressing Agreement in 2016, the Commission continues its approach to refuse to communicate with representative social partners in any meaningful way. Information requests on the Commission’s action on the agreements are not answered in social dialogue meetings and our joint letter with ETUC and the hairdressing employers, CoiffureEU, to Commission President Juncker of November 2016 has still not been answered.

On the initiative of UNI Europa and EPSU, the ETUC Executive Committee adopted a statement reiterating its support for the two social dialogue agreements. They reiterated the position taken at the last ETUC Congress, which stated that by refusing to present the two social partner agreements, the Commission is not fulfilling its duty. As it stands, the Commission is threatening to destroy the social dialogue and the whole social acquis.