Oliver Roethig puts forward 3 concrete actions that services sector unions want to see come out of the European Social Summit, taking place in Porto on 7-8 May 2021:
EU leaders are meeting in Porto for the Social Summit. Working people need action.
We often talk about Europe, Social Europe being the example for the US, the rest of the world, especially during the past years of Trump. But it is not just where we are, it is also about where we are going. Biden turned the table in his 1st 100 days. In terms of concrete measures the score is Biden 3 – von der Leyen 0
First, President Biden set up a task force, including most cabinet members and aims to mobilise the entire US government to promote collective bargaining.
Why does the Commission not do the same? A task force of all Commissioners and their services that see how each of them can promote collective bargaining and social partnership through concrete action, rather than too often ignore Social Europe or working against it.
Second, Biden put forward massive investment programme that aims in particular to spend money on creating jobs, good paying jobs. Jobs that allow – no, give confidence to – workers to join unions and be covered by collective agreements without fear of being at the mercy of their employers. Why does the Commission not do the same with the trillions of Euros the EU and Europe’s governments have committed to spend?
Third, Biden with a stroke of a pen used public procurement rules to give workers $15 minimum wage. Why does the Commission not pick up this lowest hanging fruit and sharpest tool public authorities have to promote collective bargaining? As workers’ unions across Europe, we want the Commission to commit now to a change in public procurement rules so that public contracts only go to companies with collective agreements, followed by swift legislative action.
Europe needs to equalise quickly, the eyes are on Porto, on von der Leyen, EU governments and MEPs. We need concrete change now.