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September - November 2013

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12/11/2013 - 5th European conference on personal and household services at the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC)

Organised by the European Federation for Services to Individuals (EFSI), this conference mainly aimed to promote the development of personal and household services (PHS) throughout Europe.

Over the past decades, the PHS have created jobs for people with low or no qualification and enabled women to return to the job market. Furthermore, it has helped to conciliate professional and personal life and contributed to the social inclusion of the most dependent people. Nevertheless, the sector's potential still remains highly untapped in certain areas.

This conference therefore intended to explore new ways to further exploit personal and household services' contribution to our societies. It was organised around the following 4 questions:

·       Personal and household services: what added value for our societies?

·       Universality and providers’ complementarities: the best way to fulfill users’ needs?

·       How to make personal and household services (PHS) an attractive sector for workers?

·       Why and how companies should support the development of personal and household services?

21/10/2013 - Conference on European Labour Law at DG EMPL of the European Commission

Organised by DG EMPL, this high-level conference gave an opportunity to obtain feedback from stakeholders and engage an open public debate about future priorities in the field of EU labour law. It brought together representatives from national ministries, the European and national social partner’s organisations, the EU Institutions, the International Labour Organisation, and experts and practitioners. In 2006, the Commission had launched a debate on how to modernise labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century, by underlining the need to work towards inclusive and flexible labour markets. In the meantime, the economic and financial crisis of unknown proportions has put labour market rules across the EU under a severe challenge.

In this context, the conference aimed to reflect on the results reached and on the way forward in the light of the upcoming challenges for the EU. The two main objectives were to disseminate and obtain feedback from key stakeholders about forthcoming initiatives and/or recent policy evaluations by the Commission, and to engage stakeholders in an open public debate about future Commission’s priorities in the field of EU labour law. The event was organised around the 3 following streams:

·       A decent work agenda: tackling vulnerability of undeclared workers and reinforcing EU cooperation;  

·       Fighting segmentation of labour markets: the legal EU acquis and the single open-ended contract;

·       Managing and anticipating change: the role of information and consultation rights.

16/10/2013 - European social dialogue Committee meeting on industrial cleaning

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

·       Report on the development of the OiRA tool to tackle H&S risks at the workplace, developed by the European social partners in collaboration with OSHA

·       Commission consultation on undeclared work: discussion between members and next steps

·       Feedback from members on their experience about the implementation of the Directive 2011/7/EU on “combating late payments in commercial transactions”: impact on the cleaning sector since its transposition into national law on 16 March 2013: the Spanish example by Juan Dies de Los Rios

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

Revision of the EU directive on public procurement: Report on the political agreement reached in June 2013 between the three EU institutions (Commission, Parliament and Council)

Proposal for an enforcement directive on the Posting of workers directive: Report on the Council position and state of play of trilogue negotiations between the Commission, Parliament and Council

·       Dates of next meetings for 2014: 26th March (instead of 11th March as previously announced by the Commission), 6th June and 29th October

15/10/2013 - First joint working group meeting of the European social partners to develop an Online interactive Risk Assessment (OiRA) tool for the cleaning sector, in EFCI premises

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

·       Formalities: presentation of each participant

·       Presentation of the first structure proposal of the OiRA tool for the cleaning sector by Lieven Eeckelaert from the Belgian research institute Prevent and discussion among participants

·       General discussion between participants on the scope and main aims of the future OiRA tool

·       Dates and venues for the next working group meetings

 

10/10/2013 - European cross-sectoral social partners’ joint conference on “Skills needs in greening economies”, organised at International Trade Union House in Brussels

The transition towards a low-carbon economy will require new and higher skills in all sectors of the economy. The conference jointly organised by EU cross-sectoral social partners in the framework of their work programme 2013-2014, aimed to enhance the exchange of experiences between national and European trade unions, public and private employers (including SME’s).

The main objective was to inform participants on future social dialogue activities at all levels aiming to address the skills challenges linked to the greening of the EU economy. The EFCI representative was accompanied by Stéphanie Hirtz, advisor at the French member association FEP who is in charge of sustainable development’s issues.

The reason of her interest to attend this conference was to obtain further information on what has been done at EU, national and company levels in this area and on best practices, as well as to meet European involved actors in the greening of EU economy. In this regard, FEP aims eventually to submit its application next year to receive funds from LIFE +, the European programme on sustainable development. Indeed, FEP would like to reiterate its positive experience carried out in the period 2010-2012 with this EU programme in order to develop additional tools to the ones already elaborated, and in link with sustainable development’s issues in the cleaning industry.

During the event, the following issues were addressed by various stakeholders: Welcome and introduction by the European social partners (BusinessEurope, ETUC, UEAPME and CEEP); Models of social partners’ involvement and engagement; Identification and anticipation of skills needs; Recognition and validation of skills; Information, support and guidance.

07/10/2013 - Thematic Liaison Forum on psychosocial risks at work, at 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 European social partners’ representatives. This Thematic Liaison Forum was dedicated to psychosocial risks at the workplace and was divided into 4 sessions as follows. The meeting started with a scene setting session introduced by representatives of the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work (OSHA) and the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound). And it finished by a Commission presentation informing European social partners about the lessons learnt during the past and referring to its future perspectives. Session 2 presented to social partners examples of experiences at national level and at company level, the latter focusing on the relationship between health and restructuring. Session 3 was dedicated to initiatives of EU social partners, with a focus on the two cross-industry agreements regarding work-related stress and harassment and violence at work and complemented by a presentation on multi-sectoral guidelines related to third-party violence. Session 4 gave to participants some additional information in relation to sectoral approaches and experiences (rail, education and steel sectors). Finally, participants had the opportunity to learn more about the new OSHA campaign on psychosocial risks for the years 2014 and 2015, which will be launched on 28 April 2014.

17/09/2013 - High Level Group on business services: third meeting of the ad hoc working group on Internal Market at the European Commission, DG ENTR

In March 2013, the European Commission has 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 third and last meeting of the ad hoc working group Internal Market served to discuss the content of its report on this specific area, due to be delivered to the HLG early in November. This report which will be a synthetic policy paper of 10-15 pages aims to summarise the main insights and conclusions of the group’s work.  Based on the reports of the five ad hoc working groups, the HLG is expected to propose policy recommendations aiming to define appropriate future policies for business services by summer 2014. The first part of this meeting was dedicated to present the following issues: Commission initiatives in the VAT (Value-Added Tax) field; Commission initiatives in the field of double taxation, transfer pricing and Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB); Single Member Company: A Commission initiative in the field of company law; and A manufacturer’s point of view on services: the example of Renault.  During the second part of the meeting, participants discussed the working document of the Rapporteur by focusing on the most important issues to be addressed in their future recommendations. Furthermore, they define the time-table of their upcoming joint work before sending policy recommendations to the HLG at the beginning of November.  The next meeting of the HLG is foreseen for 14th November 2013 and will serve to analyse the reports and recommendations of the five ad hoc working groups Innovation, Skills, Internationalisation, Internal market and Instruments.