Joint FEMM-SOC meeting discuss Gender Equality, LGBT Rights and Social Dialogue

6 Nov 2013

The joint meeting of the CESI Women’s Rights and Gender Equaltiy (FEMM) and Employment and Social Affairs (SOC) Committees took place today (Wednesday 30 October) in Brussels at CESI’s offices. The broad agenda covered issues from gender equality to the European Semester and looked at the European Commission’s fitness check on the information and consultation of workers.

Joint FEMM-SOC meeting discuss Gender Equality, LGBT Rights and Social Dialogue

Following a brief overview from CESI President Romain Wolff on what the work of CESI is currently focused on, FEMM committee members proceeded to the election of its President and Vice Presidents.

Kirsten Lühmann (deutscher beamtenbund und tarifunion, dbb) was reelected as FEMM President, while Carmen Jaffke (Confédération Générale de la Fonction Publique, CGFP) and Catherine Verschraegen (Union Nationale des services publics, UNSP-NUOD) were elected as Vice Presidents.

With a new FEMM Board in place, discussions began on gender equality. Gesa Böckermann from the Gender Equality Unit in DG Justice presented the European Commission’s Mid-term review of the Strategy for equality between women and men (2010-2015). While calling this review a timely assessment, Ms Böckermann underlined that addressing the issue of gender quality is an ongoing process and conceded that the Commission had more work to do in this area.

Dennis Van der Veur, from the European Union’s Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA) came to present the Agency’s recent European Union lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender survey. The FRA received over 93,000 respondents from across the 28 Member States in just 3 months in the online survey. The results call for more to be done in encouraging and supporting anti-discrimination policies in the workplace and in correcting pay gaps for the LGBT community, a field in which trade unions can take the lead Mr Van der Veur suggested.

In the afternoon session focused on Employment and Social Affairs (SOC committee), a second representative from the European Commission, François Ziegler, presented the Commission’s recent Fitness check on the Information and Consultation of Workers. Mr Ziegler underlined that the three Directives on informing and consulting workers were seen as ‘fit for purpose’.

Recent findings show that the benefits of informing and consulting workers outweigh the costs on employers; however this evidence is drawn primarily from the private sector. Mr Ziegler commented that there is a fundamental lack of data on the information and consultation of workers in the Public Sector across the EU.

The joint committee meeting will be followed by a number of position papers on the topics discussed.