EU guidelines on restructuring let down millions of workers

European Commission plans aimed at curbing the impact of company restructuring on workers are not sufficient, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has said.

The European Commission has issued its proposals for best practices for reducing the social impact of restructuring, which offers guidelines for stakeholder on how best to minimise the effect of restructuring.

However, the ETUC says that the time for inactivity is over and is demanding five key elements to be considered by the commission on the management of restructuring:

  • Preparing and enabling workers: key role of education and training
  • Maintaining and creating jobs: key role of industrial policy
  • Giving workers a voice and place in strategic decisions: key role for information, consultation and participation
  • Ensuring a European legal framework: key role of collective bargaining
  • Providing a safety net: key role for active labour market policies, social protection and support measures

“These were the demands put forward in 2012 that have still not been acted upon. However, the commission continues to ignore these demands. Instead, it proposes a ‘quality framework’, which is no more than general guidelines; in other words: wishful thinking to establish best practices,” says ETUC Confederal Secretary, Claudia Menne.

The ETUC is sceptical about the practical effects of the guidelines and reiterates its call for legal action. It believes that this quality framework can only strengthen frustration and deception amongst the workers of Europe which experience restructurings not as an exception but as part of their daily life.

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