CESI Commissions on Employment & Social Affairs and Women’s Rights & Gender Equality, within the framework of PULSER project, call for socially just post-Covid rebounce

On October 14 CESI’s members’ Commissions on Employment and Social Affairs and on Women’s Rights and Gender Equality convened under the PULSER project to discuss the European Pillar of Social Rights, the impacts of the Covid pandemic on workers and gender equality in employment. In discussions with European Commission representatives, CESI members made clear that the maintenance of jobs and of health and safety has utmost priority for workers in Europe, and that the crisis must not lead to a backlash in gender equality in Europe.

Chaired by Javier Jordán of CESI’s Spanish member CSIF and Kirsten Lühmann, affiliate of CESI’s German member dbb, the meeting brought together representatives from CESI’s various member organisations in charge of horizontal employment and social policies as well as a number of presidents and vice-presidents of CESI’s sectoral members’ trade councils to talk about the European Pullar of Social Rights and the role of Trade Unions during Covid-19.

They all reported: Covid has led to a real crisis for workers and employees, with health and safety having been compromised on in many occasions and numerous jobs being lost or threatened, and with especially women being disproportionally on the losing front and in many ways, be it in terms of exposure to the virus (most health and care workers are women), violence (enduring lockdowns led to increase stress and agressions leves in confined homes and families) or reduced financial independence (women are overepresented in precarious types of jobs without adequate protection and social security, which have been cut first during the crisis).

They however also stressed: Correctly managed, the Covid fallout could provide the opportunity for an unprecenteded sustainable economic bounceback based on social justice, inclusive growth, digitalisation and climate and environmental protection.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “The European Commission has a central role to play in steering the resources of the EU’s unprecedented, almost €700 billion heavy Recovery and Resilience Facility in the right direction. The loans and grants that Member States will receive from the EU must not only serve big business but serve to implement the EU’s New Green Deal and the European Pillar of Social Rights on an equal footing. Citizens, workers and climate and the environment must come first.”