The biannual Tripartite Social Summit brings together the presidents of the EU institutions and the European social partners at top executive level. Taking place on 23 June 2020 by conference call, the theme of the meeting was Relaunching Growth and Employment in the Aftermath of COVID-19.
Oliver Roethig, Regional Secretary of UNI Europa addressed European Commission and Council presidents as well as Commissioners to outline four key steps to achieving a new normal of decent work across Europe. This is what he said:
Speaking on behalf of services workers and the European trade union federations, our message is clear. We have to come up with a new normal, in which people take centre stage – not corporations. Together we must overcome workers being afraid for their jobs and health.
So first, COVID-19 has shown again that, where there is good social dialogue, there is more resilience. We need the EU to strengthen collective bargaining as a priority. One element is changing the public procurement directive so that companies must be party to a collective agreement.
Second, in terms of the recovery plan, there must be a focus on investment in services, like retail and care. The crisis showed just how essential the functions that services fulfill are. Most people work in services and they will be central to getting consumption back on track.
Third, recovery means restructuring in many companies. Already now, corporations are not abiding by their legal obligations. We need the EU to ensure that the consultation rights of the EWC Directive are properly enforced.
Finally, we just signed the social partner agreement on digitalisation. Our partners, the European sectoral employers’ associations, are not party to the agreement, they are not part of Business Europe. As European trade union federations, we will engage with them to implement the agreement at sector level.