New European project seeks to improve social welfare

Friday 27 July 2018

Earlier this month, workers’ representatives from nine trade unions and three European works councils together with a managers’ association and a bank top player gathered in Paris for the kick-off meeting of the project: ‘Defining a company welfare system through the joint action of EWCs and Trade Unions in the metal and finance sectors: The key role of workers’ participation rights’.  This project is a qualified European partnership promoted by First-Cisl and financed by the European Commission, which focuses on social welfare, from a contractual point of view and in the light of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The context of the project derives from the economic crisis which has pushed governments to adopt cost cutting policies for public welfare. The social needs of the population, on the contrary, have increased as a result of major cultural, demographic and economic changes, thus widening the gap between citizens’ needs and the response of the public sector.

Against this background, the general increase in welfare levels can only be achieved through an improved cooperation between the public and private sectors, with trade unions and EWCs playing a strategic role. The problem, indeed, is the weakness of the EU regulatory framework for bargaining.

“The transnational agreements signed by social dialogue actors are not legally binding like the collective agreements at national level” says Mrs. Sabrina Brezzo, project manager and First-Cisl national secretary “but, on the other hand, it is more and more strategic to negotiate at European level in order to define a system of subsidiary company welfare and to guarantee homogeneity of treatment to a multinational’s employees, wherever they work”.

“Therefore, the ambition of the project is to foster the transnational joint action of company and national trade union organizations, EWCs and European federations through the exchange of experiences, good practices and above all the dissemination of a contractual toolkit to facilitate global framework agreements and their ‘transposition’ into local and company contractual provisions,” Brezzo concluded.

The first public event of the project is a workshop to be held in Brussels on 25th January 2019 with the participation of project’s partners and the European Commission.