European Commission must protect social dialogue, not undermine it!

2 Sep 2021

Following CJEU’s damaging ruling on how the Commission should handle EU social partner agreements, ETF, alongside EPSU and ETUC, calls on the European Commission to implement a clear and certain process to ensure that agreements can progress into the EU law as the EU treaties envisage.

The ETF condemns today’s European Court of Justice decision stating that the European Commission has full discretion to do what it wants with social partner agreements.

The final verdict of the CJEU concerns a case ( C-928/19 P) brought forward by the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) objecting to obstacles placed by the European Commission in the way of a social partner agreement on the right to information and consultation of cleaners and other government workers being adopted in EU law.

The ruling not only denies around 10 million government workers across the EU their basic labour rights to information and consultation on restructuring with their employer; it puts social dialogue in jeopardy by challenging the autonomy of social partners and leaves them in legal uncertainty regarding their future agreements.

For the ETF, this outcome is a culmination of years of attempts to block social partner agreements from becoming EU Directives. Something the ETF is only too familiar with as previous agreements with social partners have faced unnecessary red tape and delays.

ETF General Secretary Livia Spera stated:

The ETF joins EPSU in condemning today’s decision which sets a dangerous precedent for the future of social dialogue in Europe.

Social partner agreements are put into place to reinforce the working conditions and labour rights of millions of workers across Europe. But, there is a growing trend of trying to stop these Agreements from becoming EU Directives. This needs to stop.

What kind of message does it send if an EU Institution undermines social dialogue – the pillar of a Social Europe?

The European Commission must take action to undo this harm and prevent this from ever happening again. We stand ready to work with them towards a transparent processing of social partner agreements.

The ETF stands in full support of EPSU and demands that the European Commission develop transparent processes and criteria in consultation with social partners at both cross-sector and sectoral level in bringing forward social partner agreements to the European Council for adoption.

ETUC reaction

EPSU reaction