May 1 is International Workers’ Day!

1 May 2015

On the occasion of the International Workers' Day on May 1, CESI recalls the widespread challenges that still need to be overcome if workers are to be adequately protected in the EU.

May 1 is International Workers’ Day!

Commonly marked on May 1, the International Workers’ Day is being celebrated since the 19th century all around the world in order to commemorate past achievements of the trade union movements and to reflect on future challenges for worker rights that still need to be addressed.

In the EU and its Member States, working conditions for employees have -generally speaking- of course come a long way during the last decades. The EU in particular has on many occasions responded successfully to new developments in the labour markets. As people and workers have become more mobile -sparked not least by the EU’s efforts to set up a functioning common market- it has put legislation in place to set minimum occupational rights standards for all EU citizens and especially for workers that move for work across borders or to another Member State.

In fact, the EU institutions even often praise themselves for having adopted legislative pieces such as the Working time directive, the Posted worker directive or the directive on equal treatment at work. However, this is not to say that today all workers in the EU enjoy fair and adequate working conditions at any time: Much more can be done when it comes to the implementation and enforcement of the previously mentioned pieces of legislation. And the EU is still lacking a common regulation on many important aspects related to work and the labour markets.

In this context, CESI and its member organisations would very much welcome if EU and Member State policy makers would take the occasion of this year’s International Workers Day to think about being more bold and more ambitious in their employment and social policies. After all, the challenges are numerous: The Maternity leave directive proposal needs to be saved, effective measures need to be put in place for fair and voluntary labour mobility, and the Youth Guarantee needs to be implemented as soon as possible and without exceptions in all Member States. Just to name a few.

As in the past, CESI stands ready to advise and be consulted.