On 21 April 2021, the European Commission has adopted the Sustainable Finance and EU Taxonomy package which aims at improving the flow of money towards sustainable activities across the European Union. Part of that package is the revision of the Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD) which is now part of the newly proposed Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). As the Commission not only proposes to widen to scope of the reporting entities but also to impose an extremely detailed reporting obligation, Ceemet fears that the administrative burden on companies will be significant.
Employers of the chemical and metal, engineering and technology-based (MET) industry sectors support the overall Commission’s objectives to promote gender equality and implement the principle of equal pay between men and women at European level. However, they consider that the proposal for a Directive on pay transparency is not the right way forward.
The Commission launched an initiative to define EU competition law’s scope of application, to enable an improvement of working conditions through collective bargaining agreements for i.a. solo self-employed. Ceemet emphasized -once more- that when addressing the collective representation and bargaining of a person working through a platform, a distinction must be made if this person is considered an employee or self-employed.
The Commission published its proposal for a Directive in March 2021. Although Ceemet agrees with the aim of the Directive and supports the principle of equal pay between men and women, it believes this proposal is not the way forward. Not only will it fail to reach the intended goal but it will also cause heavy additional administrative burden and costs for companies. Moreover this proposal is a far-reaching intrusion on the autonomy of social partners and it disregards well-functioning social systems and measures in place in the Member States.
Platform work is a growing phenomenon and the use of platform work, accelerated with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. Platform work creates new opportunities for workers, self-employed, business and customers, including new jobs and income for those who have difficulties in accessing the traditional labour markets, increased flexibility and autonomy. And although platform work creates opportunities, it also comes along with challenges. For Ceemet the most efficient way to respond to these challenges lies at national level, considering the specificities of national labour markets and industrial relations.
At EU level, discussions are ongoing regarding a possible EU legislation on due diligence. In this respect, the Committee of Legal Affairs (JURI) in the European Parliament adopted the “Wolters report” which comprises a Directive on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability. With this report, the JURI Committee calls on the European Commission to present legislation in this respect. The Commission already announced last year a legislative proposal in its work programme for 2021. As EU based companies already comply with existing legislation laying down the rules on Corporate Social Responsibility, human rights and good governance, Ceemet sees no need to propose additional legislation on this matter.
On 28 October 2020, the European Commission published its proposal for a directive on adequate minimum wages. Ceemet considers that there is a lack of legal basis to issue a proposal for a directive on wages and believes this proposal to be a far-reaching intrusion on the autonomy of social partners.
The reply provides the answers of industries represented by Ceemet on the European Commission second phase social partner consultation under Article 154 TFEU on a possible action addressing the challenges related to fair minimum wages.
The reply provides the answers of the industries represented by Ceemet on the European Commission's 1st phase social partner consultation under article 154 TFEU on a possible action addressing the challenges related to fair minimum wages.
On 13 December 2016, the European Commission published its proposal for a revision of Regulation 883/2004 on the coordination of social security systems and Regulation 987/2009 laying down the procedure for implementing Regulation 883/2004. Labour mobility is essential for the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based industries (MET) and is a strong asset of the Single Market. Therefore, Ceemet welcomes the European Commission’s proposal in general. In this position paper, Ceemet focusses on labour mobility, and more in particular posting – or sending – of workers.
The Commission published its proposal for a Directive on transparent and predictable working conditions in the EU. The revision follows a REFIT evaluation that aims to make EU law simpler. Ceemet expected a modernised EU Directive which would remove red tape and increase transparency. Unfortunately the opposite is true.
The European Pillar of Social Rights aims at re-establishing the connection between the EU and its citizens and is a reaction to the challenges the EU has been facing. Ceemet is unconvinced that this is the right answer to what is actual needed: an increased international competitiveness that ensures more jobs, growth and prosperity within the EU.
This position paper only focuses on labour mobility of economically active persons, and more in particular posting – or sending – of workers. It does not comment on the proposed changes regarding the coordination of specific social security benefits, notably long-term care benefits, unemployment benefits, social benefits and family benefits. Nevertheless, Ceemet agrees with the changes proposed by the Commission and welcomes the legal clarification.
The Commission launched its initiative to support work-life balance for working parents and carers. The initiative, besides non-legislative actions, includes a new Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers. Ceemet favours greater support, not legislation, for the progress already made by MET sector social partners.
The Commission launched within the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights a first phase social partner consultation on a possible action addressing the challenges of access to social protection for people in all forms of employment in the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The Commission launched within the framework of the European Pillar of Social Rights a first phase social partner consultation on a possible revision of the Written Statement Directive. The aim is to consult the social partners on a possible revision to improve the effectiveness of the Written Statement Directive and on a possible broadening of its objectives.
It is important to acknowledge that the EU already today has a strong social dimension. Considering the current lack of support for the EU from its citizens the focus should be on how to make EU citizens aware of this existing social Europe and how to inform EU citizens of the advantages of a highly competitive Single Market. Therefore, is the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) really the correct answer to the current climate and the changing world of work?
As stated in Ceemet's reply to the 1 phase social partner consultation, it fully supports the general objective to increase the participation of women in the labour market. However, the observations of the employers’ organisations within the framework of this first phase consultation appear to not have been taken into account by the Commission. A sufficient framework already exists at EU level.
The Commission has stated that the proposed revision to the Posting of Workers Directive (96/71/EC) intends to “address unfair practices and promote the principle that the same work at the same place should be remunerated in the same manner.” However, Ceemet believes that there are existing opportunities for improving the implementation and enforcement of the Posting Directive that do not require any revision, particularly one as substantial as that proposed on 8 March 2016. Instead, the proposed revisions will create unintended barriers to the free movement of services. They would hinder, not promote labour mobility across the EU.
In the social partner consultation, Ceemet expresses its fully support the general objective to increase the number of women in the labour market. However, there is no need for legislative action to revise existing EU Directives, nor to create legislation on other forms of leave. The current directives provide for adequate EU level minimum standards.
The Commission published their proposals for deepening European Monetary Union (EMU) and Ceemet wonders, are we on the road to a European wage coordination?
The Commission started in the context of its REFIT programme that aims at cutting back legislation, to consolidate 3 Direction related to Information & Consultation of workers.
The Commission’s proposal to revise the activities and supervision of Institutions for Occupational Retirement Provision (IORP) is overly burdensome for employers and with no real benefits for employees.
The Commission published its Communication on the Social Dimension of the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) aiming to deepen social integration of the EMU. It makes a link between the economic and labour market reforms and “the social implications of these reforms that are necessary to boost jobs, growth and enhance competitiveness”. But it are Member States that are responsible for the running and financial sustainability of their chosen social policy models.
The Commission’s new proposal to review the accounting Directives (78/660/EEC & 83/349/EEC) regarding disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies and groups is counterproductive. The initial definition and the essence of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is its voluntary nature. Therefore, an obligation for disclosure of non- financial information is in contrast to the spirit of CSR.
Ceemet replied to the Commission staff working document and consultation on “Transnational company agreements: realising the potential of social dialogue”. An exchange of experience among companies with Transnational Company Agreements (TCA) could be useful to support those companies who are interested in these agreements in addition to Commission support in maintaining the existing database, which is a good tool.
Ceemet underlines the importance of the EU’s Europe 2020 strategy and new Economic Governance in restoring international competitiveness and economic growth in Europe. However, Metal, Engineering & Technology-based (MET) industrie representative insists though that the European institutions must respect the autonomy of social partners / employers and workers and does not intervene with wage setting at any level.
Ceemet has learned that the European Parliament is discussing a possible resolution under article 225 TFEU, recommending that the Commission should propose a directive on “Information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring”. Therefore, Ceemet is deeply concerned by both the procedure of the Parliament with regard to the proposal and the contents of the proposal itself.
In its reply, Ceemet stated that it does not support a quota for women in boards and believes in a voluntary company code of conduct/ agreements concerning gender balance in corporate boards. Member States could do much more to enable the natural evolution of increase in women participation in the labour market, certain industry sectors such as Metal, Engineering and Technology-based (MET) industries and finally increased presence in corporate board.
Concerns reflected in the White Paper are broadly shared across Europe. Ceemet agrees that well-functioning pension systems are extremely important to the stability of public finances and that pension reforms may be necessary. However Ceemet does not support all the solutions outlined by the European Commission and strongly questions the initiatives in the field of occupational pensions announced in the White Paper.
Employment policies are essential to support growth. Ceemet welcomes the employment package as it acknowledges the necessity to promote enabling conditions for job creation. The European Commission rightly highlights the need for labour market reforms to adapt to longer-term structural transformations affecting Europe's relative competitiveness in the global economy.
Against the background of the importance of the topic Ceemet welcomes the opportunity given with the Green paper on “Restructuring and anticipation: what lessons from recent experience” to share its views on some of the questions raised in the latter. In its response Ceemet will comment primarily on issues which are of particular importance for the Metal, Engineering and Technology-based (MET) industries.
2012 provides a unique opportunity for the EU to raise the ambition of its Smart Regulation agenda and better align it with the overriding imperative of driving stronger economic growth. Ceemet strongly supports the EU’s Smart Regulation agenda. In these challenging economic times, Europe needs to send out a clear message that it is open for business.
Ceemet welcomes the Commission initiative to exchange information and views related to the relatively recent phenomenon of Transnational Corporate Agreements (TCAs), with different stakeholders and interested parties. However, it feels that the draft working paper presented by the Commission fails to reflect the fact that no common understanding of a TCA has so far existed.
Ceemet replied that a revision of the Directive was not desirable as it would risk undermining the balance and solutions found at national and local level notably through collective agreements. It is at national level that efforts need to be made to allow the optimal utilisation of the potential flexibility that exists in the Directive and to leave to social partners the necessary room for manoeuvre to combine companies’ and employees’ needs for flexibility in working time organisation. After closing the first stage consultation, the Commission concluded that a revision was unavoidable.
Acknowledging that fundamental changes have occurred in the world of work over the last 20 years, the Commission has invited the social partners to reflect broadly on the kind of working time regulation the EU will need in order to cope with the challenges of the 21st century.
Ceemet welcomes the statement in the Commission’s Communication that the focus should shift from job security to employment security and that a better balance between rights and responsibilities is needed. However, the Flexicurity debate will only have a very limited effect if it is simply reduced to a discussion on the right balance between flexibility and security, between costs and benefits as well as between rights and obligations. Employment and working conditions always represent, to a certain extent, a point of balance resulting from discussions and negotiations between stakeholders.
Ceemet welcomes the launch of a debate on the modernisation of labour law to meet the challenges of the 21st century. According to the Commission, the Green Paper “looks at the role labour law might play in advancing a “flexicurity” agenda”. Labour law has traditionally been aimed at protecting employees and, in general, contributes to considerable “security” of employment. Reading the Green Paper, Ceemet has the impression that the broad concept of “flexicurity” is still overemphasizing “security”-related aspects to the detriment of the “flexibility” approach.
Ceemet welcomes the generally positive introduction of the Communication that it is vital for companies to adapt to change. And although it is necessary to accompany these changes in such a way as to ensure that their effects on employment and working conditions are as short-lived an limited as possible, Ceemet does not fully support the measures that are being proposed by the Commission to achieve this objective.
Ceemet welcomes the fact that the Commission reaffirms that the sustainable development of Europe is based on “balanced economic growth” which is thus, and Metal, Engingeering and Technology-based (MET) industry employers are sharing this finding, a precondition for “full employment and social progress”. However, in Ceemet’s view, the Social Agenda is very wide-ranging and to a certain extent contradictory. Although we share most of the goals of the Commission, we do not share its ideas of how best to achieve these.
Ceemet expresses its strong support for the UNICE position paper of 4 March 2004 on the Commission’s Communication on the review of the Working Time Directive. Ceemet argues that a range of national and European legislation already protects the health of safety of workers to a high degree and that any new legislation should not introduce new rigidities or administrative burdens, especially for SMEs. Also, the current text of the Directive is already quite detailed and sometimes unduly and unnecessarily confusing, thus leading to some legal uncertainty .