COVID-19: Swift action needed to enforce rights to worker involvement – Joint Letter by ETF, ETUC, ETUFs to Commissioner Schmit

2 Jul 2020

ETF, fellow ETUFs and the ETUC reiterate their call for the European Commission to ensure compliance and enforcement of information, consultation and participation rights as anchored in the EU acquis communautaire.

The ETF has joined the European Trade union Confederation and the European Trade Union Federations in a follow-up letter to EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, Nicolas Schmit, calling on the Commission to undertake swift action to enforce workers’ rights to information, consultation and participation in order to best anticipate and manage the COVID-19 impact on jobs and workplaces.

In response to our joint letter on May 20, a meeting was held on June 15 with the European Commission where crucial information and swift follow-up actions were shared. As a follow-up to the constructive discussions during this meeting, our joint letter reminds Commissioner Schmit of the urgency of the current situation:

Three months after the COVID-19 health crisis, the European Union is now dealing with the massive social and economic consequences brought by the pandemic. Across all sectors of the economy, restructuring processes are on the rise. There is no single day without private or public sector companies announcing massive job cuts.

Despite the existing human rights instruments and legislation establishing the right for workers and unions to be informed and consulted in restructuring processes, too often managements are not respecting EU and national legislation on this matter. The consequence is that in practice workers’ and trade union representatives’ involvement in strategic decision is very limited or even inexistent. Restructuring processes are not carried out equally and information, consultation and participation rights are not respected across the European Union.

Therefore, we call on the European Commission to publish an official Communication reminding member states, companies and management of the obligation to comply with and enforce workers’ rights of information and consultation before taking any decision likely to lead to substantial changes in work organisation and employment and recalling the EU directives on information and consultation rights which must apply in the context of Covid-19 related restructuring plans.

Detailed recommendations can be found in the letter which can be downloaded here or at your right.