PES EPSCO ministers push for a fair recovery for all workers

13/10/2020 - Progressive employment and social affairs ministers adopt declarations on worker’s participation and gender equality

PES EPSCO videoconference

PES EPSCO videoconference

Europe’s recovery will only be successful if it works for all workers, PES ministers said today as they met by videoconference with European commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Helena Dalli, MEPs and trade unionists.

Convening ahead of today’s EPSCO Council, the meeting discussed progressive action to support the Youth Guarantee, fair wages, workers’ participation and gender equality. PES ministers adopted declarations on workers’ participation and equal participation of women and men in the labour market.

Meeting Chair and Portuguese Minister for Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, said:

“We are determined to deliver a recovery for all workers – Europe cannot afford to leave anyone behind. To achieve this, we must support young people, secure fair wages for all, boost worker participation in decision making, and ensure gender equality in the labour market. These elements are not optional, they must be at the top of the agenda if we are to recover from this crisis.

“I am delighted today that PES EPSCO ministers have adopted two declarations setting out our family’s clear commitment to workers’ participation and gender equality. These is much progress to be made and our family is pushing to make sure that change happens.

“We welcome the work European commissioners Nicolas Schmit and Helena Dalli are undertaking. They are pushing the progressive agenda forward in the Commission and we firmly support them.”

Socialists and democrats have put support for young people during this crisis at the top of the agenda. The meeting strongly welcomed Commissioner Schmit’s efforts to strengthen the Youth Guarantee, a progressive policy which has already proven very effective at providing employment support for young people. Ministers are mobilised and determined to put the wider and more inclusive scheme into action as soon as possible.

Commissioner Schmit briefed the meeting on the next steps for the EU framework on minimum wages. Fair pay – achieved through minimum wages or strong collective bargaining – is a priority for socialists and democrats and the meeting welcomed the progress that is being made on this.

Ministers adopted a joint declaration on workers’ participation. Workers must have the right to participate in company decision-making – this is a cornerstone of Social Europe. Economic growth will only go hand in hand with social progress if the EU defends and promotes workers’ participation, social justice and sustainability.

With a majority of the frontline and essential workers during COVI19 outbreak being women, gender equality was also on the Ministers’ agenda. Commissioner for Equality, Helena Dalli, updated the meeting on the action the Commission is taking to address the challenges women face in accessing and thriving in the labour market. Ministers adopted a ministerial declaration on the equal participation of women and men in the labour market, paving the way for equal pay for equal work, equal career opportunities and a better sharing of care responsibilities.

The meeting welcomed Frank Vandenbroucke and Pierre Yves Dermagne - Belgian deputy prime ministers for social affairs and for employment and the economy respectively – to the meeting for the first time following the formation of the new Belgian federal government.

The meeting was attended by:

  • Ana Mendes Godinho, Chair, Minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Portugal
  • Nicolas Schmit, European Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights, European Commission
  • Helena Dalli, European Commissioner for Equality, European Commission
  • Pierre Yves Dermagne, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Employment, Belgium
  • Frank Vandenbroucke, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Health and Social Affairs, Belgium
  • Jana Maláčová, Minister of Labour and Social Affairs, Czech Republic
  • Peter Hummelgaard Thomsen, Minister for Employment, Denmark
  • Hubertus Heil, Minister of Labour, Germany
  • Franziska Giffey, Minister for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, Germany
  • Francesca Puglisi, Deputy Minister of Labour, Italy
  • Romain Schneider, Minister of Social Security, Luxembourg
  • Owen Bonnici, Minister for Education & Employment, Malta
  • Eva Nordmark, Minister for Employment, Sweden
  • Agnes Jongerius, EMPL Coordinator, S&D group in the European Parliament, Chair of PES Social Europe Network
  • Heléne Fritzon, EMPL Coordinator, S&D Vice President, S&D group in the European Parliament
  • Evelyn Regner, Chair of the FEMM Committee, S&D Group in the European Parliament
  • Luca Visentini, General Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
  • Liina Carr, Confederal Secretary, European Trade Union Confederation
  • Yonnec Polet, Deputy Secretary General, PES