The ETUC adopted a resolution on the European Commission's new EU Adaptation Strategy (as part of the European Green Deal). The key demands state that the Strategy should:
- address the impact that climate change will have on working conditions and employment
- be legally binding and include a strong social dimension with a people-centred approach
- provide for a strong and inclusive governance where workers and trade unions are involved
- include concrete policy measures that maintain jobs and protect workers' health and safety
- include active labour market policies as well as reskilling and training to prevent job losses
- should guarantee sufficient investments in public services and infrastructures.
An ETUC position on the assessment of the Annual Sustainable Growth Strategy (ASGS) 2021 stresses that sovereign debt levels in the EU are increasing while the huge GDP losses in 2020 mean that in spite of an expected rebound next year it will take time to go back to the level of 2019.
The ASGS did not assess the impact the massive wave of restructuring currently taking place across Europe will have on the European economy. The European Solvency Support Funding needs to be restored to offer support in cases of restructuring. The ETUC calls for prolonging and refinancing of the SURE instrument and affirms that national and EU emergency measures, particularly those connected to employment protection and income support, must continue until the full recovery. While acknowledging some improvements, the position paper notes that the ASGS does not entirely fulfil the requirements of the UN2030 agenda. While supporting the overall objective of the Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF), the ETUC stresses that it needs to be implemented in the interest of everyone.
On the European Union recovery plan, the ETUC calls for a "People`s recovery”, stressing that it should reduce inequalities and bring fair pay. Key demands are to reverse budget cuts proposed by the EU Council for the upcoming MFF, reverse also cuts to funds such as the Just Transition Fund and improve the EU’s own resources.
EPSU for safe jobs in the circular economy: a report commissioned by EPSU highlights the crucial role and often high-risk labour of the workers, who have largely been ignored in both research and policies relating to the circular economy. The study argues that if Europe truly wants to extend its circular economy activities, it is vital that policies and legislation are enacted to ensure safe and decent jobs, and prevent any more tragedies.
A joint statement of the European Chemical Employers Group (ECEG) and IndustriAll on the European Commission’s Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability points out that `the announced goal of the Strategy as “zero pollution” or as “toxic-free environment” is misleading. Depending on the amount, chemicals can be non-hazardous or hazardous. Even naturally occurring chemicals are never “non-pollutant”. In addition, it is unrealistic to think that industrial production can achieve this. Zero pollution would mean zero production and, in turn, zero employment and zero value creation.’ The social partners call the Commission to provide a supportive framework for Research & Development & Innovation of the industry with putting the workforce into its centre.
An IndustiAll Steel action day called on the EU Competitiveness Council to decide on a new European steel action plan that will enable the sector to play its role in the recovery of the European economy and in achieving our climate ambitions. IndustriAll Europe will take every necessary step to ensure a future for green steel made in Europe with a key demand to put an end to global steel overcapacity.
For the automotive sector IndustriAll demands a long-term strategy that facilitates its necessary transformation towards sustainable vehicles and vessels as well as alternative fuels and calls for a `Just Transition master plan` for the sector.
Judith Kirton-Darling, deputy general secretary of IndustriAll warned that Europe’s manufacturing workers need urgent action to avoid a tsunami of job losses, quoting recent announcements of tens of thousands of job losses in the automotive, aerospace and steel sectors. While welcoming the objectives of the European recovery plan, she stressed that `Just Transition` will mean nothing if there is no plan for the transformation of these key European sectors.
A new ITUC report, `What really matters: Measuring government accountability and moving beyond GDP`, sets out a global agenda to rebuild trust between citizens and governments, shift government policies and measure what matters to people. Accordingly, governments should be held accountable in order to deliver a fairer world as we move beyond GDP: for an economy that works for all, with living standards for a decent life, with universal social protection and quality public services with fair taxation towards a sustainable environment in democratic rights and freedom in engagement with people.
The Danish Trade Union Confederation (FH) launched a website, with a proposal for a climate plan that meets Denmark’s 70% emission reduction target for 2030. The master plan contains a total of 113 proposals with the first part proposing 89 specific climate initiatives for 10 areas - from green and socially sustainable purchasing in the public sector to more offshore wind farms and carbon taxes. The vice-president of the union, Bente Sorgenfrey stressed: “as a trade union, it is our responsibility to make sure that the green transition creates more good jobs. To do so we need an extraordinary focus on the involvement of workers”.
The German Automobile Association (VDA) warned that the prospective revision of the automobile fleet emissions targets for 2030 should take into account that development and product cycles last five to seven years for passenger cars and up to ten years for commercial vehicles. It is already difficult to satisfy the currently effective ambitious requirements. `It is not possible to implement the stricter CO2 performance standards under the European Green Deal, because it will not be technically or economically feasible to optimise conventional technologies and alternative powertrains within the short time-frame.`