This week, the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council (EPSCO), which brings together ministers for work, employment and social affairs from all EU Member States, will hold an informal meeting to discuss in particular the impact of climate change and digitalisation on the labour market.
On this occasion, industriAll Europe repeats the frustration and disappointment of industrial workers across Europe that to this date, achieving a Just Transition for workers facing the impact of EU climate policies remains largely based on soft coordination instruments. And this, even though a fair and inclusive transition for all workers and regions region has become a generally accepted goal.
The absence of a European legal framework for the anticipation and management of the changes ahead is alarming for the 25 million manufacturing workers in Europe who potentially face restructuring and job losses due to the green transformation of our industries.
The draft Council Recommendation of 14 December 2021 ‘on ensuring a fair transition towards climate neutrality’ provide no remedy. It simply sets out guidance to help Member States devise and implement policies that address the social and labour aspects of the transition. It is up to each Member State to draw up its own measures for workers and communities that are directly impacted by climate policies. Trade unions fear that this will inevitably lead to a patchwork of measures and responses across Europe and greater social and regional inequalities.
IndustriAll Europe therefore alerts EU employment ministers that ambitious climate action must be accompanied by effective measures to secure a Just Transition for European workers. EU legislation and programmes making up the Commission’s Just Transition Agenda must be strengthened, particularly those addressing the employment dimension, social dialogue mechanisms and collective bargaining, workers’ participation and workers’ rights. Just Transition needs an integrated policy framework that includes employment legislation.
We reiterate our demands for strong measures to promote a Just Transition, including:
- Provision of adequate resources to cover all sectors and value chains affected by the transition
- A granular mapping of the existing and expected developments on regional and local labour markets
- A legislative framework for the anticipation of change, requiring workers’ participation
- Comprehensive workers’ rights, supporting every individual in the job-to-job transition
- Enhancing policy coordination and covering every economic sector affected by the transition
IndustriAll Europe’s Just Transition campaign continues.