CESI parliamentary breakfast debate: How to counter abusive employment relationships?

At a European Parliament breakfast debate on Wednesday June 20 CESI took stock of previous contributions made by MEPs, Eurofound and trade union leaders on precarious work contracts and the abusive use of fixed-term contracts in the EU Member States.

Policy makers from the European Parliament and Commission as well as trade union representatives from CESI member organisations from 4 European countries -Italy, Spain, Luxembourg and Germany- met to discuss the current state of play in the EU Member States as regards abusive uses of fixed-term work contracts under the EU Directive 1999/70 on fixed term work and what could be improved at the EU level in order to achieve less abuses at the national levels and limit the occurrence of abusive work contracts in the labour markets. CESI trade unions members from Spain and Italy expressed concerns about their situation at the national level regarding the abusive use of fixed term contracts especially in the public sector. In this context it was als ocriticised that the European Commission’s recent legislative proposal for a Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions could exclude public sector workers.

Not least in light of the recent resolution of the European Parliament’s Petitions Committee (EP PETI) of May 31 this year and increasing case-law on precarious work, CESI believes it is important to start coordinated initiatives with key stakeholders in order to improve access to labour rights and social protection for workers in atypical work.

In addition to stakeholders from CESI and its member organisations, Members of the European Parliament, representatives from the European Commission and the Director of Eurofound Juan Menéndez-Valdés participated in the event.

MEP Thomas Mann (EPP), who hosted the event, called for a better implementation of existing labour standards at the international, EU and national levels. In this context, he highlighted in particular the relevant EU directives, the International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) decent work agenda and the European pillar of social rights. MEP Brando Benifei (S&D) emphasised the importance of promoting job security especially for younger generations facing particularly high unemployment rates and precariousness. MEP Neoklis Sylikiotis (GUE/NGL), rapporteur on a recent own-initiative report of the European Parliament on precarious work, underlined that since 2005 standard employment has fallen from 62% to 59% while atypical work has increased.

To fight fraudulent employment contracts, Juan Menéndez-Valdés highlighted the need for more contractual clarity and transparency for workers in precarious forms of employment.

Marcello Pacifico, President of CESI’s Italian affiliate ANIEF, and Javier Jordan de Urries Sagarna, President of CESI’s Employment and Social Affairs Commission and affiliate of CESI’s Spanish member organisation CSIF, summed up a number of main priorites for trade unions to bring down and prevent abusive employment relationships:

1. More awareness at the national and EU levels on precariousness and the importance of effective labour rights and social protection;
2. A truly consistent application of the principle of non-discrimination and correct and uniform application of EU legislation at the national levels, especially of Directive 1999/70 on fixed term work;
3. An adaptation of EU legislation to reflect evolving changes in the labour market so as to cover all forms of new work and guarantee access to effective and adequate labour rights and social protection for all.
4. The full implementation of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

Picture: CESI breakfast debate with MEP Thomas Mann © CESI 2018