CESI supports EPSU legal suit against the European Commission over information and consultation rights for central government administration employees

In March, the European Commission stated its refusal to bring an agreement of the European sectoral social dialogue committee ‘Central Government Administration’ on information and consultation rights for central government administration employees to the Council for an implementation as a binding EU directive. Today, as EPSU, the European Public Service Union, announces legal action against the European Commission’s decision at the European Court of Justice, CESI states its support for this move.

According to the European Commission the agreement of the social partners, which dates back to December 2015, cannot be translated into a binding EU directive because central government administrations are placed under the authority of national governments and exercise the powers of a public authority – which means that their structure, organisation and functioning are entirely a matter for the respective national authorities of Member States. Moreover, according to the European Commission, the organisation of central government authorities varies widely between Member States so that a binding EU Directive transposing the social partner agreement into EU law would result in significantly different levels of protection depending on how centralised or decentralised the central administrations of the Member States are.

CESI disagrees with this interpretation and stresses that with this decision the European Commission denies workers in central government administrations information and consultation rights based on EU law.

Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “Of course the organisation of government authorities varies, but this is the very reason why we need an EU directive which sets common minimum standards that all Member States need to fulfil!”

CESI is also in agreement with EPSU that the European Commission’s refusal to propose a transposition of the social partner agreement into an EU directive counteracts the autonomy of the social partners. CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger added: “How credible is the European Commission’s recent initiative for a New Start for Social Dialogue if it does not support a transposition of a landmark social partner agreement into EU law, as foreseen by the Treaties?”

EPSU and CESI are, on the employees’ side, the two recognised European sectoral social partners in the area of central government administrations, forming a common delegation in the social dialogue committee named TUNED.

Picture: At today’s EPSU press conference on information and consultation rights for central government workers © CESI 2018