International Workers’ Day: Quo vadis, Europe?

1 May 2016

On the occasion of this year's International Workers' Day, CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger recalls the long way that the EU still has to go to realise fair working conditions for all.

International Workers’ Day: Quo vadis, Europe?

Mr Heeger said: “Decent working conditions and fair worker rights are still far away for many citizens across Europe. I welcome very much the new narrative on a more social EU that was picked up by European Commission President Juncker. The Pillar of social rights which he proposed earlier this year is a useful tool to work towards fairer working conditions, sufficient social protection and effective access to the labour markets. However, the pillar outline issued by the Commission has made few references to implementation tools. While it refers to the pillar vaguely as a ‘reference framework’ and ‘compass’ to promote reforms for more social justice in the Member States, we must make sure that the pillar will have teeth when it comes to implementation and enforcement. The Pillar will need to be measured against results on the ground. We must move from words to deeds.”

He added: “Globalisation and digitalisation have led to an increasing fragmentation of labour markets in space and in time. Atypical and precarious forms of employment are on the rise, and many of them remain unregulated. This leaves a legal vacuum for abuse and exploitation by employers. The EU urgently needs to address working conditions and worker rights in new forms of employment.”

Picture: Secretary General Klaus Heeger © CESI 2016