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The European Commission is calling on the 27 to strengthen social dialogue amid declining union membership and collective agreements.

The European Commission wants the 27 to improve social dialogue at a time when union membership is declining and collective agreements are shrinking. For this reason, it sent a recommendation to the European Council, where member states are represented, for a series of proposals for improving collective bargaining and also for tripartite dialogue, in which, in addition to unions and employers, governments are also represented. . Brussels also wants to increase the capacity of social agents to draw up regulatory frameworks at the European level, such as legislation on remote work or the right to disconnect, as explained by the European Commissioner for Employment and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmitt.

“Union membership has long been in decline, largely due to the difficulty of attracting new union members, in part because of a more individualistic way of working and living. The number of employees under the collective agreement has decreased,” said Vice-President and Commissioner of Commerce Valdis Dombrovskis. According to the Commission’s calculations, workers covered by a collective agreement fell from 66% in 2000 to 56% in 2019. In addition, it warns that workers are underrepresented on digital platforms or in sectors such as youth. This led him to issue a series of recommendations that member states will have to analyze within the Council for their hypothetical implementation.

“We are ready to help countries strengthen social dialogue and collective agreement negotiations,” emphasized Dombrovskis, who defended that good labor relations contribute to “fair and socially sustainable economic growth, in addition to maintaining competitiveness and the attractiveness of European companies.” A time when “Europe is facing competitiveness problems due to high energy prices and low productivity,” in addition to Joe Biden’s threat of an Inflation Reduction Act (IRA).

Among the various proposals that Brussels addresses to European countries is “support” for the social partners by “strengthening their capacities” at different levels according to their needs”, which include the field of “logistics, training and technical support. and legal knowledge. One of the requirements of the trade unions is that there is an economic contribution to the tasks they are assigned.

“Remove legal or institutional barriers to social dialogue and collective bargaining, including new forms of work,” says the commission, targeting, for example, digital platform workers. In Spain, one of the coalition government’s arguments for ending the ultra-activity limit (a maximum of one year of collective agreement extensions unless a new one was agreed) was precisely that it represented an obstacle. Negotiation team.

The Commission is also committed to conciliation, mediation or arbitration formulas to resolve conflicts between parties outside of statutory administrative or judicial procedures. Vox recently announced the liquidation of SERLA, Castilla y León’s labor mediation body, due to a “lack of funding” from the regional government.

The Community Government is also encouraged to ensure that the social partners are consulted on the development and implementation of economic measures, social and employment policies and that they have access to relevant information.

Source: El Diario





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