The European Commission has reiterated its support for stronger collective bargaining and social dialogue in its proposed joint employment report 2023.
All EU member states are invited to “promote collective bargaining, social dialogue and timely and meaningful social partners’ involvement, including in relation to the implementation of the recovery and resilience plans as well as the European Semester process”.
Following the EU’s adoptiong of the Minimum Wage Directive in late 2022, the EU is now calling on the member states to go for a rapid adoption and implementation. As such, the reports suggests that EU member states frontload the implementation by already taking measures to promote collective bargaining.
In terms of good examples, the report refers to the changed legislation on collective bargaining in Romania, Spain and Estonia.
UNI Europa supports the Commission in its call to decisively and swiftly take measures to promote collective bargaining. EU member states can do so by looking at their own institutions and at capacity building initiatives for social partners.
Time for EU action
However, UNI Europa highlights that the EU can and should be taking action itself too. Under the current EU rules, public spending through public procurement cannot be used flexibly to strengthen collective bargaining and democracy at work. Moreover, half of all public contracts are awarded by looking at the lowest price only. This stimulates a race to the bottom which leads to lower wages and puts pressure on collective bargaining and democracy at work.
It is time that the EU take action and change the public spending rules so authorities are actively encouraged to develop policies that strengthen collective bargaining through public spending. Over 160 MEPs agree with this demand and therefore invite the EU commission to ““promote collective bargaining, social dialogue and timely and meaningful social partners’ involvement, including in relation to the public procurement”.