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European trade union leaders call for European Social Compact

protest against austerity Spain

EU trade union leaders meeting in Brussels from 5-6 June launched a call for a debate on a European Social Compact. As it is becoming increasingly clear that the austerity programmes in several member states are not solving the crisis and after the presidential win of François Hollande in France, the EU's narrative has been gradually shifting from austerity to growth as a policy priority. But although the rhetoric has changed, the overall policy drive remains one of competition, deregulation and further attacks on the European social model.

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Occupational health in Europe: the Dublin survey shows a slight improvement, but the gap between workers persists

working conditions

On 12 April last, the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions presented to the European Parliament in Brussels the summary report on its survey of working conditions in Europe, often dubbed the ‘Dublin survey’ on account of the city where this European Union body is based. Some 40,000 workers from 34 countries in Europe, including the 27 European Union members, were interviewed about their work. Part of the survey, conducted in 2010, relates to occupational health risks.

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The Spectre of the Precariat

london protest

A spectre is haunting Europe in the form of a new class-in-the-making called the precariat and it is still unclear how this new class will restructure the political landscape. This was one of the main messages of a presentation by Guy Standing, Professor of Economic Security at the University of Bath, during the April Monthly Forum of the ETUI on 27 April 2012.

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Economic crisis leads to large-scale deregulation of labour law in Europe

A new working paper published by ETUI maps the labour law reforms in various European countries either triggered by the crisis or introduced using the crisis – falsely – as an excuse. Such reforms generally render existing labour law provisions more flexible and loosen minimum standards, shifting the emphasis to soft law (deregulation).

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Working conditions in Europe: mounting inequalities

Working conditions are deteriorating in Europe, helping to reinforce social inequalities between workers, in particular in terms of health. Such is the conclusion drawn at the end of a two-day seminar staged in late March in Brussels by the ETUI. This event, originally intended for the research community, attracted a far wider audience of some 170 participants: proof that even at a time of economic crisis, the question of working conditions remains more than ever a major social issue.

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Stronger social dimension needed in Rio+20 process

Clear targets and more political emphasis on sustainable growth, employment and social justice are needed if the Rio+20 conference in June 2012 is to become a real success. This was the main outcome of a two-day debate organised by ETUI and ETUC on 12-13 March at the Danish Metalworkers’ School in Jørlunde, Denmark.

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Social inequality worsening in European Union

benchmarking cover

A new comprehensive study launched on 5 March by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) confirms growing forms of social inequality in all EU member states. This worrying trend is the result of long-term policy choices for market liberalism and the prioritisation of harsh austerity programmes as a result of the financial and fiscal crisis post-2008.

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Towards Rio+20: A Sustainable New Deal for Europe


In the context of the Danish EU Presidency the ETUI and the ETUC are currently organising a joint event to prepare the European trade union movement’s activities in the run-up to Rio+2. The event, which will be held on 12-13 March at the Danish Metalworkers’ School in Jørlunde, Denmark, will bring together key academic thinkers and trade union activists to chart the alternative agenda.

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White Paper on Pensions

old man walking

The European Commission has just published a White Paper on Pensions (16/02/2012). This document is the follow up of the Green Paper 'Towards adequate, sustainable and safe European pension systems' published in July 2010. Its purpose was to initiate a European debate on the key challenges concerning pensions, the main question being: how can the EU best support the efforts of Member States to ensure adequate, sustainable and safe pensions for their citizens both now and in the future. On the basis of the responses to the open consultation launched by the Green Paper, the White Paper identifies the most important measures to be taken forward in this respect at the European level. The ETUI has embarked on this issue for a long time. It has published several Working papers and Policy Briefs to feed into the debate.

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Beyond the crisis: developing sustainable alternatives


Conference co-organized by the Socialists & Democrats, the Greens and the ETUI, 9 February 2012, European Parliament The purpose of this conference is to obtain reactions and feedback – from MEPs, academics and social policy actors – to some of the ETUI’s research findings and policy proposals. How is the current situation to be evaluated? What are the most relevant considerations in constructing an agenda, a narrative, and policy alternatives to unadulterated austerity measures? These are the two major questions up for discussion.

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