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February - May 2013

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29/05/2013 - EMPL-Committee meeting on the Commission proposal to enforce the Posting of Workers Directive at the European Parliament (EP): Consideration of compromise amendments

The EMPL-Committee held an exchange of views to consider the compromise amendments. The Rapporteur Danuta Jazlowiecka (EPP), the shadow rapporteurs, then several EMPL-Committee members representing the diverse EP political groups and a representative from the European Commission expressed their opinions on the current negotiations aiming to make emerge compromise amendments. In general, it was recognised that more still needed to be done in order to adopt a balanced reform. The main controversial articles remained articles 9 and 12, and article 3 (preventing abuse and circumvention) was also subject to intensive debates.

In this context, the French EMPL-Chairwoman Pervenche Berès (S&D) stated that the work of compromise was on-going and that EMPL members should take their responsibilities to reach an agreement, after several months of discussions within the EP. According to her, this dossier is the most important for the EMPL-Committee in the current legislature 2009-2014 of the Parliament. It was announced that the vote of adoption of the final EMPL-Committee report was foreseen for 20th June.

27/05/2013 - Thematic Liaison Forum on demographic challenges at the Commission, DG EMPL

The “Liaison Forum”, which is organised several times per year by DG EMPL, offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on subjects of interest for EU social partners’ representatives. This thematic Liaison Forum aimed to discuss about the demographic challenges that Europe will face in a near future. Demographic changes affect employers and workers, but changes in age management practice in workplaces and labour market require active contributions from both. According to the Commission, concrete initiatives at national, sectoral and company level aiming to facilitate longer and more stable working lives need the continuous involvement of social partners’ organisations. Based on this Commission statement, the meeting served to provide EU social partners’ organisations with the opportunity to present their projects contributing to overcome the EU demographic challenges. An exchange of views took place on diverse good practices aiming to further improve the measures taken to tackle demographic challenges. To this end, the meeting was divided into workshops dealing with the following four main issues: Promoting active ageing / Increasing solidarity between generations / Re-thinking recruitment and retention activities / Improving gender and work-life balance.

16/05/2013 - High Level Group on business services: first meeting of the ad hoc working group on Internal Market at the European Commission, DG ENTR

The European Commission recently established the High Level Group (HLG) on business services (for further details, see both Secretariat notes of 3rd May and 4th July 2013).

In the framework of the HLG, the first meeting of the ad hoc working group Internal Market mainly served to explore the relevant issues to the functioning of the Single Market, at all levels, from local to supra-national, by taking into account both the perspective of service providers and services users, as well as the different needs and views of labour-intensive and knowledge-intensive services sectors.

In this regard, the topic of mobility of labour will be dealt with full respect to national labour laws and national collective agreements. It was also decided to avoid discussing issues for which a legislative action has been recently taken at EU level or is in the pipeline.

After this definition of its scope and objectives, the working group discussed the following issues:

·       Main facts and trends about businesses in the Internal Market;

·       Types of barriers and problems hampering the free movement of services and the freedom of establishment in the Internal Market;

·       Further topics discussed: posting of workers issues (especially wage gaps), labour laws, collective agreements (relevant mostly to labour-intensive services)

·       Scope for recommendations to be provided to the Commission

On this last point, it was decided that recommendations due to be given to the Commission should be concrete and business-oriented, and aiming at facilitating provision and reception of services in the Internal Market and at allowing businesses to improve their competitiveness.

23/04/2013 - European social partners’ lunch debate on the theme “Keeping older workers in the labour market: quality of life policies” organised by Eurofound

Organised by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), this lunch debate aimed to discuss the developments of active ageing policies within the context of the on-going crisis and pressing demographic challenges on the European labour market.

According to demographic projections provided by Eurostat, the population of working age will fall by 50 million by 2060. The need to increase the employment rate of older workers is fundamental for the EU. Although the employment rate in the 55-64 age group increased in last 10 years, the share of older workers will be more and more important in EU populations. Furthermore, the related strain on the sustainability of national welfare and pension systems amplifies the pressure for reforms aiming at encouraging longer careers in Europe.

This general discussion focused on some policy approaches taken by governments and social partners at national or sectoral level, aiming to keep older workers in the labour market, in particular thanks to improved working conditions. As basis of the debate, the recent Eurofound report served to present the role of governments and social partners in keeping older workers longer at work.

Furthermore, European social partners exchanged their views on findings from the latest Eurofound research on sustainable work and workplace age management.

20/03/2013 - Stakeholders’ consultation on Eurofound sectoral fact sheets based on the 5th European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

Organised by the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound), this meeting was dedicated to the following issues:

§  Overview of the 5th European Working Conditions Survey (EWCS)

§  Presentation of the sectoral secondary analysis and the selection of sectors, followed by discussion on the sectoral selection

§  Introduction of the content of the factsheets

§  Introduction of the content of the comparative report

 

05/03/2013 - European Business Services Round Table at the offices of the European Standardisation Committee

The aim of EBSRT is to develop a common platform for business-related services on issues of mutual interest. It gathers representatives of services sector associations across Europe. The following subjects were presented and discussed:

§  High-Level Group on Business Services: Joanna Zawistowka (European Commission, DG MARKT) (see in this regard the Secretariat note of 3rd May 2013)

§  Points of Single Contact: Agnieszka Bajno (European Commission, DG MARKT)

§  Update on CEN activities: Maitane Olabarria (European Standardisation Committee, CEN)

§  The FM standard (EN15221): Jos Duchamps (BringFM!)

§  Future plans for EBSRT: Paper from Chairman Norman Rose for consideration

05/03/2013 - Seminar of the political group of the Socialists & Democrats on the enforcement of the PWD at the European Parliament (EP)

Organised by the Socialist and Democrats’ political group (S&D), this seminar was dedicated to discuss the question of posting of workers in the framework of the current legislative procedure to enforce the existing directive (1996/71/EC). Various issues were identified to be resolved, e.g. the definition of posted workers and posting companies, the national control measures that can be imposed by the authorities of the host country and the principle of liability.

In this context, the topic was introduced by the following speakers: Minodora Cliveti (S&D MEP and EMPL-Committee’s member) and Stephen Hughes (MEP and Vice President of the S&D Group in the EP). Afterwards, the following keynote speakers presented their opinion: Evelyn Regner (S&D MEP, JURI-Committee’s member (Legal Affairs)); Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D MEP and IMCO-Committee’s member); Andreas Lill (EFCI Director General); Harald Wiedenhofer (General Secretary, European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism trade unions (EFFAT)); and Philippe Vanden Broeck (General advisor at the Belgian Social Control).

After the presentations a discussion took place between participants during which Andreas Lill stressed again that the list of national control measures (article 9 of the Commission’s proposal) has to be opened in order to give to Member States the possibility to adapt these measures both to their national context and labour market (for further details, see the Secretariat note of 30th April 2013).

 

04/03/2013 - European social dialogue Committee meeting on industrial cleaning

Jointly organised by UNI Europa and the EFCI, this meeting was dedicated to the following issues:

§  Presentation by Lorenzo Munar from the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work on the online interactive risk assessment (OIRA) tool to tackle health & safety risks at the workplace that will be developed by social partners during 2013

§  Adoption of working programme 2013-2014 and priorities for 2013

§  Daytime cleaning: activities to be developed

→ European Commission Office for infrastructure (OIB) conference on 18 June 2013

Eventual European campaign to promote daytime cleaning

§  EU legislative proposals and EFCI/UNI Europa lobbying activities:

Revision of the EU directive on public procurement: Report of the Parliamentary Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) and Council position

→ Proposal for an enforcement directive on the Posting of Workers Directive: UNI Europa/EFCI common position