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  • After two thirds of the Presidency: Meeting the Slovenian Minister of Labour Janez Cigler Kralj

Slovenia’s second Presidency of the EU Council is in its final stage when Ceemet meets Labour Minister Janez Cigler Kralj. While taking stock of the achievements, the meeting is dedicated to the challenges that are on the agenda of the Slovenian Presidency.

Agreement on the general condition and role of industry

During the introduction it quickly turned out that Minister Cigler Kralj and Ceemet President Rainer Ludwig found common ground in their analysis of the role of industry for Europe and what the pitfalls are for industry in Europe.

Whether it was the need for strong investments in digitalization, to close the skills gap, to have more reactive labour markets or to acknowledge the role social partners, no major dissent showed.

Initiatives that impact industry massively

When the discussion turned to issues that are on the agenda of the Council, Ceemet highlighted two files with huge consequences:

  • Adequate minimum wages

The proposal, which is currently on the table, is of great concern for Ceemet and its members. Although Ceemet disagrees with the Council Legal Service analysis which recognises that there is a legal basis for the EU to impose a minimum wage, Ceemet used the meeting to provide input on the content of the proposal to make it better workable in practice.

A particular highlight was on:

  1. Determining the level of pay
  2. Breaching social partner autonomy
  3. Protecting the progress made in the Council compromise text
  • Pay transparency

At the start of the exchange on pay transparency, Ceemet President Rainer Ludwig insisted on the fact that Ceemet fully supports the objective of the proposal. Women and men should receive equal pay for equal work or work of equal value.

However, Europe’s Tech & Industry employers do not believe that a Directive imposing binding pay transparency measures is the way forward. Especially for a sector that has collective agreements that are gender neutral and foresee equal pay between men and women for work of equal value.

The proposal is going beyond its intent by:

  1. Undermining social partners' autonomy and their freedom to negotiate
  2. Imposing heavy administrative burdens on employers and companies
  3. Promoting litigation and (potentially) increasing court cases

Remaining time of the Presidency

Until the end of the year, the Slovenian Presidency will organise

  • 10 COREPER I meetings
  • 1 European Council
  • 1 EPSCO meeting

during which these crucial dossiers for industry, and the employment they provide, can shift towards proposals that strengthen industry in Europe instead of weakening them.