Since 2012 European citizens have gained the right to place a topic on the European agenda provided they succeed in collecting one million signatures from at least seven member states within a year. This target was met by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) which in 2012 launched the European citizen initiative (ECI) ‘Right to Water’. Can this mechanism, an innovation enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty, seriously be expected to foster direct democracy in Europe? The issue was debated on 22 January on the occasion of an ETUI monthly forum.
According to the new ILO report World Employment and Social Outlook – Trends 2015 published on 20 January, unemployment will continue to rise in the coming years due to slower growth and widening inequality.
Some 150,000 citizens and organisations took part in the consultation on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), announced the European Commission on 13 January. The vast majority of respondents registered their opposition to the investor-to-state dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanism. This is the most controversial aspect of the negotiations insofar as it would allow companies to initiate proceedings against legislative provisions – social, environmental, consumer protection, etc. – judged by them to run counter to their own economic interests.
Find below the highlights of the December issue of the Collective Bargaining newsletter with the most important developments at European and member state level over the past month:
An important association of public health professionals has issued an online appeal for an increase in the research resources devoted to investigating the occupational causes of breast cancer. The appeal is launched in a context of scientific controversy unleashed by the publication, at the beginning of January, of an article that might be interpreted as shifting the weighting of environmental and genetic factors in the increased level of cases of cancer observed in recent decades.
Enrolling young members and improving their effective participation represents a paramount challenge for the future of the European trade union movement. In most European countries, young workers are less unionised than their older colleagues. This issue was the focus of a conference held in Brussels last December.
To show trade union solidarity with France, the victims of yesterday’s murderous attack, and in support of freedom of speech, European and international trade unions held a minute of silence in front of ITUH House on 8 January.
The special report in the latest issue of HesaMag, the ETUI periodical on health and safety at work, looks at the main factors that are undermining occupational health services in Europe.
While recent years have seen investors fleeing a Europe mired in crisis, Chinese inward investment has increased dramatically. Should workers in now-Chinese-owned firms fear worsening employment and working conditions? Are “European-style” worker representation and collective bargaining under threat?
The research department of the European Trade Union Institute is recruiting a researcher specialised in European industrial relations and workers’ participation.
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