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November 2013 - February 2014

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11/02/2014 - European Employers’ Network (EEN) at BusinessEurope

The EEN, which is organised several times per year by BusinessEurope, offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on issues of concern for European employers associations’. During this meeting, the following subjects were discussed:

§  Tripartite Social Summit on 20 March 2014: information on theme and designation of the EEN member to be included in the BusinessEurope delegation

§  Future of EU social dialogue: conference of EU cross-industry social partners on 11-12 December; debate on Commission’s recent and planned activities; exchange of views on respective positions

§  Activities in the cross-industry social dialogue: in-depth employment analysis

§  Activities in the sectoral social dialogue: exchange of views; ongoing social impact assessments

§  Update on social affairs dossiers: quality framework on restructuring; posting of workers; temporary agency work; quality framework on traineeships; apprenticeships; corporate social responsibility; EU Health and Safety policy framework

29/01/2014 - Podcast on the future challenges of the Swedish cleaning sector organised by the global hygiene company SCA in Stockholm

The Director was invited by SCA to discuss the future challenges in the European cleaning industry. During the meeting, the following industry trends were discussed:

·       Increased professionalism and consolidation: Increased competition creates pressure to cut costs while maintaining the same quality level. Therefore, cleaning actors have to increase efficiency and particularly larger companies have to offer facility management and other support services.

·       Staff retention and social sustainability: The challenges of high sick leave and staff turnover have raised the issue of improving cleaners’ work situation. It involves initiatives on wages, working hours, education, ergonomics, stress, status of cleaning, health and wellbeing of staff.

·       Environmental sustainability: Reductions of energy consumption, water usage and carbon footprint are possible via green cleaning practices, innovation and daytime cleaning. Increased importance of sustainability certifications is noticed not only for new buildings, but also for the existing ones.

·       Increasing usage and efficient management of technology:  Increased availability of complex data and technology used as management tools can help to plan and optimise processes for increased efficiency and quality.

·       Changing work styles: Changing work styles significantly affect both the occupant behavior and the vacancy rate of buildings, which affects how buildings must operate.

27/01/2014 - Liaison Forum on the functioning of the EU sectoral social dialogue, at DG EMPL

The Liaison Forum offers a regular platform of information, discussion and exchanges of experience on issues of interest for social partners’ representatives at EU level. The first part was dedicated to discuss recent and forthcoming developments for European social dialogue and industrial relations. In this regard, a state of play of representativeness studies was presented by the Commission and the special edition of the EU social dialogue newsletter of January 2014 was summarized to highlight the outcomes and success stories of the EU sectoral social dialogue. Furthermore, the Commission presented its draft Vademecum, which is a practical guide for European social partners and their national affiliates in order to support to EU social dialogue. Following a discussion on the functioning of EU social dialogue, the format and themes of the future Liaison Forum meetings in 2014 were discussed. In the afternoon, participants held a debate on the quality framework for restructuring as well as the upcoming Commission communication on job creation in the green economy. Finally, Professor Swen Malte John presented his recent EU research project aiming to develop and implement European standards on prevention of occupational skin diseases (ISCH COST TD 1206).

17/01/2014 - Second working group meeting for the OiRA tool in the new premises of the European Agency for Health and Safety at Work (EU-OSHA) in Bilbao

Jointly organised by UNI-Europa and the EFCI with the support of EU-OSHA, the meeting was dedicated to the following issues:

·       Introductions and purpose of the meeting by EU-OSHA representatives

·       Update/overview on the second structure proposal of the OiRA tool for the cleaning sector by Lieven Eeckelaert from the Belgian research institute Prevent

·       Overall discussion on the second structure proposal between participants

·       Dates and venues for the next working group meeting

16/01/2014 - High Level Group on business services: workshop at DG ENTR

In March 2013, the Commission established the High Level Group (HLG) on business services (for further details, see both Secretariat notes of 3rd May and 4th July 2013). The workshop aimed to gather the members of the HLG and the five working groups created to deal with specific matters (Innovation, Skills, Internationalisation, Internal market and Instruments) in order to resume the general state of play of the HLG’s work. The HLG is expected to propose policy recommendations aiming to define appropriate future policies for business services by Spring 2014, ahead of the European Parliament’s elections (May 2014) and the installment of the new European Commission (autumn 2014). Following a general introduction of the HLG Chairman Professor Carlo Secchi, the current main insights and conclusions of the HLG were presented by its Rapporteur Professor Andy Neely. Afterwards, a panel debate of stakeholders took place regarding future challenges and opportunities for business services. Amongst others, the following issues were explicitly discussed: single market; e-leaders; regulatory barriers to new business models; streamlining public and private procurement.

11/12/2013 - Thematic Liaison Forum entitled "15 Years of EU Sectoral Social Dialogue – Quo Vadis?", at DG EMPL

The “Liaison Forum”, which is organised several times per year by DG EMPL, offers a regular platform of information and discussion on questions of interest for European social partners’ representatives. This meeting firstly aimed to exchange views with social partners’ organisations of practical experience and achievements in EU sectoral social dialogue over the last 15 years. In this regard, the EFCI and UNI Europa Secretariats provided to the Commission a joint contribution to highlight a success story related to the activity of our industrial cleaning EU sectoral social dialogue committee (“The joint declaration on daytime cleaning of 2nd March 2007 and follow-up activities until 2013”). Afterwards, participants discussed the future challenges and perspectives, especially the capacity of identifying, analysing and addressing structural changes at sectoral level, as well as the added value of EU sectoral social dialogue. A further debate allowed for participants to express their opinions on the follow-up, reporting mechanisms and visibility of EU social dialogue outcomes at all levels.

03/12/2013 - Business breakfast organised by the European Builders Confederation (EBC) at the European Parliament: “Construction SMEs as the driver of sustainable economic growth in Europe”

Founded in 1990, the EBC is the European organisation representing national associations of Craftsmen and SME’s working in the construction sector. The construction sector represents 10% of the EU GDP with SME’s producing 80% of the output.

This event hosted by German MEP Jürgen Creutzmann (ALDE), aimed to highlight construction SME’s requests and suggestions to the next European Parliament after the May 2014 elections. Mr. Creutzmann firstly resumed what has been done during the actual legislature in order to improve the SME’s business environment and highlighted the Late Payment Directive (entered into force in March 2013) as well as the reform of EU rules on public procurement. Then, Riccardo Viaggi (EBC Secretary General) presented the EBC Manifesto for next years by resuming the 6 priorities for construction SME’s. Finally, Maarit Nyman (Deputy Head of Unit at DG ENTR) briefly presented what the Commission aims to propose in the coming months for SME’s, especially a green action plan to improve their access to green markets (see the Secretariat note of 21st November 2013).

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