Klaus Heeger on Labour Day: Keep employment and social affairs high on the agenda

On Labour Day 2018 CESI is encouraged by a new momentum in political discussions on employment and social affairs in Europe. As the European Pillar of Social Rights, put forward by the European Commission in March last year, celebrates its first anniversary, policy makers across Europe are increasingly -and finally!- acknowledging the need to also think social when pursuing economic policies. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger, who spoke at a public Labour Day event of CESI's member organisation CONFSAL in Naples today, however recalled that political discussions must now also yield tangible commitments.

Klaus Heeger on Labour Day: Keep employment and social affairs high on the agenda

Speaking to Confsal’s affiliates, Klaus Heeger called for employment and social policies in Europe that invest in people, put solidarity first and protect workers and employees.

Heavy cuts in public budgets and labour markets reforms after the last economic and financial crisis have led to increasing social inequalities and deteriorating working conditions or even job loss for many. The economic took precedence over the social, and it took the EU long to respond to this imbalance with a new European Pillar of Social Rights which was officially launched last November.

Klaus Heeger said: “When it comes to the future of Europe, the social agenda is key. The EU and its Member States need to step up their investment efforts in social infrastructure and human capital. For CESI and its members, all workers count and no one should be left behind. This is especially true for the younger generations. It is vital that our young generation, the future bedrock of our societies, is well-educated, has access to the labour market and engages in civic processes. Policy makers need to create the framework conditions for this, and this will involve investments. Social partners and trade unions such as CESI and its affiliates also need to play their part in accompanying these efforts. CESI made a start already several years ago when it founded its own youth organisation, the CESI Youth, to inform policy debates with youth-specific input and to foster the civic participation of young people in trade unionism in Europe.”

“Investing in people, decreasing social inequalities and ensuring fair and decent employment and working conditions is what can make a tangible difference to citizens and workers. Decision makers in the EU and the Member States should keep employment and social affairs high on the agenda but move more from debate to commitments”, Klaus Heeger added.

Picture: Klaus Heeger at the central manifestation of Confsal in Naples © Confsal 2018