After years of harsh austerity policies, the European Union remains confronted with anaemic growth, high unemployment, rising poverty and growing divergences between countries and social groups. No wonder that the recent European elections highlighted citizens’ doubts and fears about of the EU’s current political and social course. Therefore, it is high time for fresh ideas and real alternatives. Even the new Commission president recently mentioned the need for a new start for Europe. But which new start? Which new path should the EU choose?
Belgium’s socialist transport workers’ union BTB-UBOT has handed the authorities the names of 85 companies hiring drivers at well below Belgian minimum wage rates via Eastern European subsidiaries.
Given the need to jumpstart growth and tackle Europe’s unemployment and investment crisis, this year’s edition of Social developments in the European Union advocates a complete reorientation of the EU’s socio-economic policies. The fifteenth annual report on the state of social Europe, written by the European Social Observatory (OSE) and published by the ETUI, was launched at a well-attended conference at the European Economic and Social Committee in Brussels on 1 July.
Highlights of the June issue of the Collective Bargaining newsletter with the following most important developments at European and member state level over the past month:
The European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) has joined with the Spanish Trade Union Institute ISTAS to develop the RISCTOX chemicals database. Workers can now access data cards through the ETUI website on 100,000-odd chemicals.
In early June, the Clean Clothes Campaign (CCC) demonstrated in a report that working and pay conditions in the textile industry from four countries belonging to the European Union, and six other on its boarders, are similar to those experienced by their colleagues in Asia.
The 2014 conference of the Trade Union-related Research Institutes (TURI) network will take place on 23 and 24 June in Sofia, Bulgaria. It will be hosted by the two Bulgarian members of the network - ISTUR and ISETUR.
On 15 June, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions (Eurofound) released a Policy Brief on ageing workers and their expectations in relation to working time organization. The findings reveal considerable variation according to country and workers’ qualifications.
European Social Affairs Commissioner László Andor put forward a Communication – the "Strategic Framework on Health and Safety at Work" - on 6 June 2014. It sets the seal on the policy followed by the two Barroso Commissions since 2004, but veers away from the aim of levelling-up working conditions in the European Union.
The June issue of our general e-newsletter focuses in its editorial on our upcoming ETUC-ETUI conference (24-26 September) on jobs and quality employment, the main challenge for the new European Parliament and the Commission. It also provides links to all our latest publications, as well as recent and forthcoming events.
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