CHAPTER II (24 – 29)



  • Tackling precarious work must be recognised as a priority. Ending precarious work by guaranteeing legal rights to permanent contracts and full-time work. Banning on-demand and zero-hours type contracts, and other arrangements and forms of precarious work, making permanent contracts the standard, with attention to workers employed in new forms of work and in the digital economy/platforms. Negotiating ambitious Directive on quality traineeships to reduce social exclusion among young people. Ensuring quality jobs and improving working conditions is key central to address labour shortages. The best way to ensure job quality and fair working conditions is by promoting and strengthening collective bargaining, in particular at sectoral and cross-sectoral levels. Increasing collective bargaining coverage should be a priority in all Member States and should prompt decisive action, including through an ambitious transposition of the Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages, targeting 80% coverage, and of the Directive on Gender Pay Transparency.

  • Defending and strengthening trade union and workers’ rights, including the universal right to organise, union access to workplaces, the right to bargain collectively, and the right to strike. Attacks on trade unions must be prevented: union busting must be punishable as a crime! This is necessary to defend and reinforce democracy in Europe.
  • Taking effective EU action to protect jobs and incomes, including pensions, with decisive measures to address the social dimension of the cost-of-living crisis. It is key to promote wage increases and support upwards convergence in incomes and working conditions.
    Introducing a European framework to promote upwards convergence on wages and to make sure that multinational companies recognise trade unions and negotiate collective agreements with them at national level in all countries in which they operate and to define a path towards equal pay for work of equal value with regard to wages paid to workers in different countries.
  • Achieving climate targets through a just transition. Introducing a directive for just transition in the world of work through anticipation and management of change, based on the principles of trade union involvement and collective bargaining.
  • Increasing workers’ control over working time flexibility and reduce working time, while maintaining full pay and compensatory recruitment, including working arrangements that ensure a gender-transformative approach and for those in involuntary part time work to increase their contractual hours.
  • Introducing an Alert Mechanism that provides social partners with the opportunity to report when Member States have not lived up to their commitments with regard to social dialogue. Such an Alert Mechanism should: (i) Be developed in agreement with the EU level cross-industry social partners, (ii) Provide that the EU level cross-industry social partners may individually or jointly bring an alert report on their own behalf or on behalf of a national social partner, (iv) Set out the structure for making the alert report on situations of failure to involve adequately social partners in national level in relation to clearly defined social policy structures, (v) Set out the actions that the Commission can be expected to take in follow-up, (vi) Set out the type of report that will be made by the Commission on the actions taken and the changes secured, (vi) Allow for regular meetings between the EU cross-industry social partners to discuss progress.
  • Introducing a requirement for a Social Dialogue Impact Assessment – as essentialtool to ensure the respect and promotion of social dialogue. EU legislators should be required to state how Social Dialogue has been promoted by their proposals – regardless of the field (similar to the SMEs test). The Regulatory Scrutiny Board should ensure its application and report on it as part of the Impact Assessments, setting out how the initiative will ensure that social partners are involved, and that social dialogue is actively promoted and the prerogatives of the trade unions respected. An ex-post evaluation of existing Regulations and Directives should also be undertaken to identify and remedy any restrictions or practices that undermine social dialogue and collective bargaining at all levels.
  • The ETUC stresses that European social dialogue requires the full and direct in-house support of the Commission, both politically, financially and administratively, for both cross-industry and sectoral social dialogue. The Commission’s call for more social partner agreements requires a clear political commitment, adequate resources and support from the Commission for sectoral and cross-industry social dialogue.
  • Ensuring the effective regulation of AI in the workplace, by enshrining the “human in control” principle in EU legislation. This includes among others the full respect of workers and trade union rights, as well as the full involvement of trade unions and collective bargaining at every step (design, implementation, re-valuation etc.) of the lifecycle of an AI system, as well as to strengthen the information, consultation and participation of trade unions and workers' representatives in the implementation of these applications in the workplace.
  • Committing to achieving zero deaths at the workplace and because of work. Improving and expanding the EU occupational health and safety legislation and other European initiatives to achieve this objective. Preventing psychosocial risks and online harassment and shaming at work through a European Directive. Additionally, it is crucial to adapt the European legislative framework concerning occupational safety and health to safeguard workers from the emerging risks associated with climate change, as well as the corresponding adaptation and mitigation strategies. Introducing EU legislation that establishes temperature limits for work, outdoor and indoor.
  • Developing initiatives to ensure the full enforcement of workers and trade union rights and reinforcing labour and social law inspection services and complaint mechanisms.
  • Introducing a general EU legal framework on subcontracting to limit the length of the subcontracting chain and ensure joint and several liability, thereby empowering workers to claim their rights, seek redress and hold business accountable. Tackling artificial cross-border arrangements such as abusive subcontracting and letterbox companies.
  • Improving the enforcement of labour mobility rules by a more effective European Labour Authority (ELA). In a tripartite spirit, ELA should strengthen its strategical involvement of social partners at all levels, ensuring that social European, sectoral and national social partners are involved in the elaboration and execution of the Authority’s tasks and activities in a structured, systematic and timely way.
  • Establishing national helpdesks for companies and mobile workers with questions about applicable national legislation. Permanent funding should be provided under the EU budget to empower trade union counselling structures at national and regional level to support mobile and migrant workers on the ground, effectively enabling trade unions to carry out tasks attributed to them under EU rules, helping workers exercise and claim their rights under EU mobility and labour migration rules.
  • With regard to job guarantee instruments, a European program supporting local initiatives on the creation of direct jobs would provide employment opportunities for the long-term unemployed through a state-run programme for job seekers unable to find opportunities in the open labour market. The Job Guarantee should be built on the following main principles: i) offering job opportunities that align with individual competencies and career aspirations; ii) voluntary engagement of unemployed persons, with no conditionalities in the event of a refusal of job offers (like preventing access to unemployment benefits) and no repercussions for participants who choose to leave the job or programme; iii) provision of quality job offers, with permanent contracts and wages and rights in line with the relevant collective agreement and national labour standards, as well as upskilling and reskilling opportunities; iv) and a territorial approach: a bottom-up strategy anchored to social dialogue and the participation of other actors of the region to ensure that the programme responds to the unmet needs of the territory.
  • Developing a strong EWC Directive to secure the effective access to justice and enforcement of EWCs’ rights. Introducing a legislative initiative on and EU framework on information, consultation and participation of workers, including legally binding minimum standards for workers’ involvement in transnational restructuring processes.
  • Addressing the lack of full and proper transposition of the Work Life-balance Directive in several Member States, already highlighted by the Commission.
  • The ETUC is calling on the European Commission to put forward as soon as possible a Directive on telework and the right to disconnect, in order to ensure adequate working conditions for people on telework and a better work-life balance for all workers. It should: i) Guarantee the existing right to disconnect;  ii) Ensure equal pay and treatment for teleworkers;  iii) Protect privacy and prevent invasive surveillance;  iv) Ensure that the decision to telework is in the hands of the worker and is not about replacing workplaces;  v) Guarantee trade union involvement through collective bargaining in design and delivery of telework.
  • Ensuring strong investments in care and to create a high quality public infrastructure of inclusive and non-profit care services that are available and accessible to all and provide high quality jobs in public care service. High-quality public services are a fundamental right and must support demographic, democratic and socio-economic development. Their availability, which must be gender-responsive, is a main instrument for combating inequalities and unequal distribution of caring responsibilities while providing opportunities and high-quality jobs for all.
  • Ensuring a fair, rights-based approach to migration and asylum. Migration needs to be fair and human rights based, and all workers, regardless of nationality, should be treated equally and have their rights respected. Labour migration from outside the EU (3rd countries) could be improved, providing more opportunities for regular and decent labour migration pathways across skills levels and sectors. Ensuring regular migration pathways is the only way to protect migrant workers and prevent them from abuse and exploitation, including bogus postings arrangements between EU Member States.