Formally themed ‘Labour mobility: Opportunities and risks. Which role for trade unions and NGOs?’, the event addressed questions such as:
• What are the challenges for trade unions and social NGOs to take on a more active role in informing and assisting people who move to work to another EU Member State?
• What can the EU do to further facilitate the engagement by trade unions and NGOs?
• How can the Labour mobility package and trade union/NGO engagement with mobile workers be squared with each other?
Needed: More financial support for trade unions and NGOs, better enforced laws
Following introductory words by the hosting MEP Jean Lambert (Greens/EFA), the Secretary Generals of CESI and Eurodiaconia, Klaus Heeger and Heather Roy, outlined the practical challenges that trade unions and NGOs face when they want to counsel mobile workers. They highlighted especially the need for a better financial support by authorities for trade union and NGO efforts to set up fair mobility counselling structures and an adjustment and proper enforcement of applicable legislation on equal treatment and social security coordination across borders.
After a statement by Jordi Curell-Gotor, Director ‘Labour mobility’ in the European Commission’s DG EMPL, about recent related Commission initiatives in the context of the forthcoming Labour mobility package, Alice Hamilton, expert researcher at the EU Fundamental Rights Agency (FRA), presented best practices of trade union and NGO initiatives on fair labour mobility on the ground. Many of the cases she presented were directly derived from the FRA’s recent report ‘Severe labour exploitation: workers moving within or into the EU‘, which had found “scant evidence” of severe labour exploitation of many people who move to work to another EU Member State.
Speakers and audience stress the importance of transparent pre-departure information
MEPs Agnieszka Kozłowska-Rajewicz (EPP group), Agnes Jongerius (S&D) and Gabriele Zimmer (GUE/NGL) delivered their views on how the EU can better help that trade unions and NGOs ensure that labour mobility in the EU happens in a fair and non-discriminatory matter.
In a concluding Q&A session, attaches from permanent representations as well as representatives from trade union confederations, employer groups and NGOs brought in their views. A majority underscored the importance to not only revise legislative frameworks but to have existing rules actually being implemented, respected and enforced effectively. Many participants also stressed the need to step up cross-border cooperation with regards to the provision of transparent and comprehensive pre-departure information for mobile workers about rights and challenges involved in labour mobility.
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