Published on 22nd June 2017
EU Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner, Marianne Thyssen has stressed the importance of modernising EU rules on what needs to be spelled out in a job contract and better aligning security systems with new forms of work in response to the changing world of work.
Delivering the keynote address at today’s World Employment Confederation-Europe Strategic Dialogue on ‘Building a competitive and futureproof labour market’, Commissioner Thyssen stressed that; “Competitiveness flourishes where labour markets and social systems are fit for purpose.”
The Commissioner described Social Europe as “an evolving reality” and emphasised the three core principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights proposal, introduced this April: equal opportunities for all and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; and social protection and inclusion. While acknowledging the opportunities presented by the new types of work she highlighted the need for clarity for workers and employers on their contractual relationship – something addressed in the revision of the Written Statement Directive on information and individual employment conditions, currently under discussion with Social Partners.
Commissioner Thyssen laid particular emphasis on the fact that rights and social protections should reflect new working arrangements and not just cover those on standard contracts;
”We want to ensure that as many people as possible – including self-employed and gig-economy workers – are covered and can build up rights against contributions,” she said, adding “We must be vigilant that work today provides security for tomorrow.”
Praising the “responsible and modern” employment services sector which operates at the front line, working with people to help them get a foot on the job ladder and supporting employers to secure effective workforces, Commissioner Thyssen said: “You can be active partners in ensuring that there are no ‘ins’ and ‘outs’ (in the labour market) and that gaps between people working on permanent contracts and those working flexibly are closed.”
“Biodiversity is vital to the new world of work and will drive social integration as well as business competitiveness,” concluded World Employment Confederation-Europe president, Annemarie Muntz. “We need to protect and nurture this biodiversity and create a level playing field in which diverse workers and forms of work can flourish in a system that reconciles freedom, individualism and uncertainty with protection.”
The first panel debate focused on how labour law needs to adapt to reflect the new diversity of the workplace. Key elements of the Consultation launched by the European Commission on the Written Statement Directive were openly discussed among the panelists. EU member of Parliament Heinz Becker, Head of the Working Conditions Unit at the European Commission’s DG for employment Adam Pokorny, EFIP’s Denis Maessen and Maxime Cerutti from Business Europe discussed the need for diversity, labour market reforms or what differentiates a worker from an employee in a changing world of work.
Steven Bainbrdige presented a recent research from CEDEFOP on skills challenges in Europe while the second panel was dedicated to securing access to social rights and social protection for workers regardless of their work relationships or status. DG Employment’s Pensions Team leader Vladis Zagorskis, Think Tank Astrees’ Secretary General Claude-Emmanuel Triomphe and Olivier Roething from Uni Europa took the floor on the above topics and agreed on the fact there is a need to ensure portable and transferable rights now that contracts are becoming increasingly diverse.
The World Employment Confederation-Europe organised this strategic dialogue in Brussels on June 21, including speakers and panelists from the European Commission, Members of the European Parliament, EU Social Partners, experts from the employment industry and thought leaders on the changing world of work. The World Employment Confederation-Europe’s White Paper on the Future of Work formed the background of this event.