Commissions on Employment & Social Affairs and Women’s Rights & Gender Equality constitute

Yesterday, CESI's Commissions on 'Employment and Social Affairs' (SOC) and 'Women's Rights and Gender Equality' held their constitutive meeting after CESI's Congress in December last year. Following the elections of the presidency and vice-presidency for the term until 2020, the commissions, as CESI's internal chief members' committees for deliberation and positioning on EU horizontal employment, social and gender equality policies and politics, discussed some of CESI's most pressing European priorities that concern the employment conditions of workers in Europe.

Commissions on Employment & Social Affairs and Women’s Rights & Gender Equality constitute

In unanimous votes, Javier Jordán of the Spanish Central Independent and Public employees’ Trade Union (CSI-F) and Siglinde Hasse from the German Civil Service Association (dbb) were elected as President and Vice-President of the Commission on ‘Employment and Social Affairs’.

Javier Jordán and Kirsten Lühmann to lead CESI’s Commissions on Employment and Gender Equality 

Likewise, Kirsten Lühmann (dbb), Carmen Jaffke from the Luxembourgish General Confederation of Public Services (CGFP) and Catherine Verschraegen from the Belgian National Union of Public Services (UNSP) were re-elected President and Vice-Presidents of the Commission on ‘Women’s Rights and Gender Equality’.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “I am glad that CESI will again have a very competent leadership to steer the two Commissions on Employment and Social Affairs as well as Women’s Rights and Gender Equality during the next years. Both Commissions will be headed by dedicated and long-standing trade unionists which are all committed to make Europe more social and just. I am sure that they will be able to carry out successful work for better and fair employment conditions for workers in the era of digitalisation and globalisation.”

On the agenda: Digitalisation, the European Pillar of Social Rights and work-life balance for working families and carers

At the meeting of the two commissions, some of CESI’s most pressing European priorities that concern the future of work were discussed.

With the participation expert researchers from the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS), the members of the Commission on Employment and Social Affairs debated on impacts of digitalisation on employment and working conditions as well as on the work and organisation of trade unions and as well as on the future role of trade unionism, social dialogue and collective bargaining in the collaborative economy. Guided by a main motion adopted by CESI’s last Congress, these topic areas are key playing grounds for CESI.

In the presence of representatives from the European Commission, strategies and ways on how social partners and trade unions can best help implement and enforce the 20 rights and principles of the recent European Pillar of Social Rights in the Member States were also addressed. It was highlighted that many parts of the Pillar must be addressed and realised in the Member States and at the national level – where trade unions will play an important role in carrying the Pillar via their advocacy work to national governments as well as as social partners via social dialogue into collective agreements with the employers. However, it was also noted that in some areas with EU legislative competence, the realisation of the Pillar is clearly the responsibility of the EU institutions.

In this context, the Commission on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality discussed new work-life balance measures at the EU level under the European Pillar of Social Rights. Deliberations focused mainly on CESI’s positioning in relation to the European Commission’s legislative proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. Commission members welcomed the proposal as a step forward for gender equality – in particular because it aims to push for a more equal sharing of domestic responsibilities between men and women – but noted that provisions on leave rights should not be watered down in negotiations between the European Parliament and the Council. Commission members also demanded that additional provisions should be included especially in terms of avoiding any negative repercussions of leave under the Directive on pension entitlements and establishing safeguards to prevent unjustified denials of requests by workers for flexible/reduced working time.

Next meeting in 2018

The next meeting of the two Commissions is scheduled to take place in the first quarter of 2018.

Picture: CESI’s SOC and FEMM Commissions in session © CESI 2017