PES employment & social ministers: future of work must come with high standards for workers
The future of work was on the agenda for today's meeting of progressive employment and social affairs ministers in Vienna.
PES ministers from governments across Europe discussed the digitalisation and robotisation of the workplace. They especially focused on policies to maintain strong workplace rights for platform workers, a safety net for periods of unemployment, and the need to ensure that employers in the platform economy meet their tax, social security and consumer protection responsibilities as in any other part of the economy.
Ministers also discussed the reform of the European Globalisation Adjustment Fund, which supports the retraining and requalifying of workers threatened with redundancy, to make it fit for purpose in the twenty-first century. Improvements would help both employers and employees to adapt to changing circumstances, in particular the changes brought by digitalisation and the transition to a low-carbon economy.
PES EPSCO meeting chair and Luxembourg minister Nicolas Schmit said:
"We understand the message of those Europeans whose hopes have been replaced by fear and who have lost faith in the EU. Our answer is clear: We are as ready as ever to fight for every worker in Europe, in whatever job, to benefit from a decent contract and pension, and healthcare and unemployment benefit if needed."
"The fight against inequality is essential. We will make it a key theme of the 2019 European election campaign, and a priority for the EU. We must also fight for the same high standards of protection for workers and consumers across the economy, including for those in new forms of employment and those whose jobs are affected by globalisation and rapid change."
Also in attendance at the meeting were:
- Riina Sikkut, Minister for Health and Labour and Party Leader, Estonia
- Björn Böhning, State Secretary of the Ministry for Employment and Social Affairs, Germany
- Evarist Bartolo, Minister for Education and Employment, Malta
- José António Vieira da Silva, Minister of Labour, Solidarity, and Social Security, Portugal
- Branislav Ondruš, State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family, Slovakia
- Martina Vuk, State Secretary of the Ministry of labour, family, social affairs and equal opportunities, Slovenia
- Irene Wennemo, State Secretary to the Minister for Employment and Integration, Sweden
- Luca Visentini, ETUC General Secretary
- Lina Carr, ETUC Confederal Secretary
- Valeria Ronzitti, General Secretary, CEEP
- Yonnec Polet, PES deputy secretary general