On 07 October, held online the final event of the project
The green and digital transitions opens a very delicate phase in terms of what the social consequences may be. The fragilities that already exist in our system have exploded with the pandemic. And they should be governed, reinforcing the social dialogue and the union and economic representatives. In this context the EWCs, the European Works Councils, can and must play a strategic role, becoming an information network between the different sites of the multinational companies.
“The EWCs are the only tool for workers representation at european level and for this reason will therefore play a fundamental role also in the future, for a sustainable recovery”, underlined Miriam Ferrari, Responsible of the International Department of CISL Lombardia, opening the works of the final event of the european project “EWCs: the european pillar of social dialogue”, promoted and coordinated by CISL Lombardia in partnership with the colleagues of CGIL and UIL Lombardia, CCOO and UGT Catalunya, CSDR Romania, PODKREPA Bulgaria and with the support of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
The event organized in the occasion of the World Day for Decent Work, it was realized in the framework of the Festival for Sustainable Development organized by AsviS.
“The fragility has increased with the health emergency – said Paola Gilardoni, CISL Lombardia Regional Secretary -. The union is called now to act in order that the process of green and digital transition will be fair and inclusive. This means a reinforcement of the tools of social dialogue, but also of the training of workers and their representatives”.
The strategic training at the heart of the project promoted by CISL Lombardia, that for more then 2 years involved, both in presence and at distance, about 60 EWCs representatives of multinational companies active in Spain, Italy, Bulgaria and Romania, despite the difficulties created by the Covid-19 pandemic. “Our goal – reminded Luca Lombi, coordinator of the european project – was to create the conditions for learning and mutual exchange of information and experiences to increase the competencies on EWCs and on the information, consultation and participation rights, and moreover create awareness for a real solidarity among the european workers and to share strategies and behaviour to reinforce and disseminate the practice of social dialogue in Europe”.
In order to protect workers, the practice of exchanging information between EWCs and, above all, informing union representatives by multinational companies is far from obvious. This was also shown by research conducted by Etui and reported at the online event.
“In the first year of the pandemic a very high percentage of EWCs representatives is not consulted neither on health aspects neither on employment aspects, even though they should – explained Aline Hoffmann, Head of unit Europeanisation industrial relations of the ETUI -. In normal conditions the 78% declared to be properly consulted; in Covid time only the 50%. It’s clear that the information rights of the EWCs must be more respected to protect workers in the best way”.
Next to many realities that faced many difficulties, as shown by the ETUI research, there are also realities where the EWCs knew and could play a positive role, as evidenced by the experiences explained by the EWCs representatives of General Electric Renewable (Spain), TAG Austria (Bulgaria), UpRomania (Romania) e Bticino (Italy).
Throughout the morning, in occasion of the World Day for Decent Work, it took place the round table “Local work and multinational companies: how to protect european workers?”, moderated by Mariana Isla (UGT Catalunya) and where participated the MEP Patrizia Toia, Vicechair of the , and Claes-Mikael Stahl, Deputy General Secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC).
MEP Patrizia Toia highlighted how workers should have more relevance in the economic processes. “We are working in order to reach to a framework directive that give rules because the relocations took place only for profits reasons are limited or prohibited – she said -. The topic of the inclusione and the needs of workers must be important and so the competition rules and of the freedom enterprise must find new and more advanced conciliations”.
Also Claes-Mikael Stahl highlighted that it needs “left behind the neo-liberal agenda and the idea of a market that regulates itself”. “The deregulation and the austerity failed – he said -. In this phase of green transition we need a big investment on the quality of work and on a universal social protection. Only in this way we can go ahead and manage change, that will have a different impact in the different countries”.
A change that, reminded also Massimo Gaudina, head of the Regional Office of the European Commission in Milan, it will have a strong impact also on the social dimension. “A well-functioning social dialogue it’s basic – he said – in order to reduce the repercussions of the transformations that we live”.
You can see here the materials presented during the event.
Here you can find the final publication of the project.