Trade Council LRA meeting in Brussels: Digitalisation, transparent working conditions, precarious work through privatisation in regional and local administrations on the agenda

On Tuesday September 26 the members of CESI’s members’ Trade Council ‘Local and Regional Administrations’ (LRA) convened for their annual meeting in Brussels. CESI’s trade union affiliates employed in local and regional administrations took the opportunity to deliberate on digitalisation effects on employment, EU measures for more predictable and transparent working conditions and spreading precarious work in their sector.

In an input presentation, Marco Thomé, President of CESI’s Luxembourgish member organisation FGFC presented the social aspects of a study conducted by the Luxembourgish government to reform its public administration system in the context of digitalising work and organisational processes. Benefits and concerns about the growing use of digital technology were mentioned, as well as the need for trade unions to address this subject and raise awareness on how to manage potentially adverse impacts that digitalisation could have on jobs, on people and the social sphere of our society at large.

With Lara Wolters from the S&D group at the European Parliament as a guest, the trade council members then deliberated on a (possible) exclusion of (certain) public sector workers from chapter III of the currently negotiated new EU directive of predictable and transparent working conditions.

The members made clear that possible flat-rate exclusions of all civil servants and all workers employed in public emergency services, the armed forces, the police authorities as well as judges, prosecutors, investigators and other law enforcement services, as suggested by certain actors, is unacceptable. If at all, exemptions should be carefully tied only to individual articles and apply only to personnel where this can clearly be justified, the members argued.

Susanne Kraatz from the European Parliament’s research service the presented a study recently commissioned by the European Parliament on ‘Employment in Privatized utilities: A higher risk of precariousness?‘, which showed a decrease of public administration staff and a great impact on jobs through privatisation of public utilities. An important discussion on the potential need to (re-)municipalise services followed. The trade council members agreed to continue to address this topic.

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger also outlined the concept of a [email protected] event for the next day on the organisation of working time in public services under EU law following the so-called ‘Matzak’ judgment of the European Court of Justice (CJEU) of February 21 2018 which had ruled that, under EU law, stand-by time of a worker at home who is obliged to respond to calls from the employer within a short period must be regarded as ‘working time’. discussion followed about the impact of the judgment on the system of firefighters in particular but also on other professions in sectors such as health and social care.

The next meeting of the trade council will take place in 2019.

Picture: At the meeting of the LRA Trade Council © CESI 2018