What does it take to have a European union working for workers?
Permanent Representation of Austria to the EU, 1st floor; Avenue de Cortenbergh 30, 1040 Bruxelles; 18h30 - 20h

Launch of the ETUI/ETUC Benchmarking Working Europe 2019 report

This year’s Benchmarking Working Europe report sets out to make a basic diagnosis of the state of Social Europe and presents some suggestions for improvement. To do this stocktaking exercise the different chapters of the report each assess the direction that member states are taking, and how they are performing relative to the European average.

Although most leading labour market indicators suggest that the economic situation has been restored to the levels seen before the outbreak of the crisis, important problems remain which still need to be tackled. Real wages in most countries have not tracked productivity gains, leading to wageless growth. Questions can also be raised with regard to the quality of jobs offered. Unresolved conflicts still remain between the right to organize and the strictures of competition law. And a comprehensive European strategy to tackle occupational cancers needs to be urgently adopted.  

With regard to the overall macroeconomic situation, the report identifies three main challenges that need to be dealt with: weak productivity and output growth rates; rising income inequalities; and the incompatibility of our current economic model with policies to reverse or halt climate change. Underlying all these issues is the need to stimulate investment, including social investment. All in all, important and far-reaching reforms are needed to national macroeconomic policy frameworks.

The Benchmarking 2019 report also argues for more democracy at work because, as the authors show, a voice for workers reinforces political democracy and reduces inequality. Reinforcing workers’ voice and democratic oversight of their work and organisations lead also to a general improvement in life satisfaction, more productive employees, a higher labour force participation rate and more innovative and sustainable companies. In short, enhancing democracy at work can help overcome many of the shortcomings identified in the stocktaking exercise.

After the presentation of the Benchmarking report, Luca Visentini, the General secretary of the ETUC, and other guests will have a discussion on the challenges ahead with representatives of the main European thinktanks and the European Commission.  

Welcome: Wolfgang Katzian, President of the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB) and Philippe Pochet, ETUI General Director

Presentation of main findings of the Benchmarking 2019 report: Maria Jepsen, Director of the ETUI Research Department

Panel: Luca Visentini, General Secretary of the ETUC; Ruth Paserman, Deputy Head of Cabinet of Commissioner Marianne Thyssen; Sotiria Theodoropoulou, Head of Unit: European economic, employment and social policies, ETUI; Adi Buxbaum, senior expert in the Social Policy Unit at the Austrian Federal Chamber of Labour

Chair: Steve Coulter, Head of Unit: Communication and Publications, ETUI

Simultaneous interpretation DE/EN will be foreseen.

Twitter: #Bench19

Participation is free of charge but please register here or here

After the event, we invite you to a buffet.