On 19 January 2017, the European Parliament adopted a Resolution on the European Social Pillar, calling on the European Commission to make proposals for designing a European pillar of social rights that goes beyond a simple declaration of principle and has a real impact on the lives of citizens. Parliament is urging the Commission to put an end to a double-standard system which only leads it to enact vague principles in favour of a social Europe, whereas the measures it adopts in favour of competition and the free market are always concrete and coercive.
In particular, the Parliament calls on the Commission to work with social partners to present a Framework Directive on decent work, regardless of employment relationships and including non-standard forms of employment, so that all workers might benefit from a set of rights founded on fair treatment and non-discrimination and which provide real protection in the following areas:
• Health & Safety;
• Maternity leave;
• Working hours and rest periods;
• Work/life balance;
• Access to continuous training;
• Taking disability into account;
• Right to information, consultation and participation;
• Freedom of association, representation and collective bargaining.
The Parliament calls on the Commission to work with social partners to present a Framework Directive on decent work, regardless of employment relationships and including non-standard forms of employment
We recommend you read this resolution, which proposes concrete courses of action. In the long run –provided of course it is effectively followed up– it could lead to the adoption of a text that is binding at community level. In this way, Romania could be forced to review its labour legislation which, since 2011, prohibits union representation for the self-employed. The Commission could also be led to think twice before proposing itself as a voluntary player in proceedings aimed at depriving additional orchestra musicians of the benefit of collective agreements (cf. proceedings involving FNV-KIEM against the Dutch Government).
As we know, European Parliament resolutions do not have any binding force and, consequently, are too often ignored by the Commission. Nonetheless, this text represents an important step and is a clear encouragement for us to continue with our efforts to make headway on these issues which are core concerns for our unions.