The Belgian EU Presidency made Just Transition one of its top priorities. On 17 June, it adopted its conclusions on “The way forward to a green, just and inclusive transition for a sustainable Europe”. This marks an important step towards proactively raising the issue on the agenda of EU leaders. 

IndustriAll Europe welcomes the fact that the Council Conclusions pick up some of the crucial points of our Just Transition Manifesto: 

The Council “INVITES the Commission to explore ways to mainstream the just transition into policies and existing frameworks, as part of the Green Deal, capable of tackling the triple planetary crisis, while promoting social justice and decent work creation, (…) and CALLS UPON the Commission and Member States, to ensure multi-level governance and to strengthen social dialogue and systems of collective bargaining, as well as cooperation between all relevant stakeholders.

The Council also stresses the importance of further integrating Just Transition into national strategies, including through the analysis of the impacts on the labour market and emphasises the importance of skills forecasting, labour market policies and reskilling schemes. 

To industriAll Europe’s regret, the Council did not support our call for a legislative framework for the anticipation and management of change that we deem a crucial element of a Just Transition Policy Framework through the introduction of clear rights of employees on a company level and duties for employers to engage with their workforce. Our call for a legislative framework has been echoed in the EESC opinion on Advancing the EU’s Just Transition Policy Framework and the European Parliament’s report on Just Transition. 

IndustriAll Europe deplores the vocal calls by employers to refrain from new legislation in that field and denying employees the crucial right to a Just Transition. The failure to adopt a Just Transition Agreement in the European Gas Sector underlines the crucial need to provide for clear rules for companies to anticipate and manage changes together with the workforce.

Judith Kirton-Darling, General Secretary, commented: “While we deplore the lack of a legislative Just Transition framework, the conclusions are a clear signal that the current policy tools are too weak and too patchy to anticipate and manage the massive changes under way. Workers feel enormous uncertainties about their jobs and incomes. The results of the European elections have been a sobering wake-up call that people lack trust in the current governance context. This calls for the urgent need for a strong Just Transition Strategy as one of the top priorities of the Commission’s Strategic Agenda!

IndustriAll Europe and its members are fully committed to following up on the Council Conclusions and making the EU institutions, national governments and companies accountable for a Just Transition, with workers at the table.