|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol 7, No.12, 22.3.01, p6|
SOCIAL affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will continue her push for trade unions and employers' groups to be involved in EU decision-making despite the collapse of negotiations on the status of temporary workers.
Diamantopoulou says the practice of allowing the 'social partners' to jointly draw up legislation must be allowed to grow and become a key part of the Union's legislative process.
Her comments come as talks between the four social partners on working conditions for temporary staff hired through an agency are being wound up without a deal.
Diamantopolou told European Voice: "The temporary workers directive is a very difficult issue. I can see that it's one where it is extremely hard for the social partners to agree - it's not only the problem of the system that they work with."
And in news which will please the European Trade Union Confederation, ETUC, Diamantopoulou also indicated that the Commission would now take up the temporary workers issue with its own legislative proposal.
"It's not always easy to see how to have a European agreement, particularly in this area, but the Commission is now obliged to take the initiative," she said.
The ETUC's executive committee is today (22 March) expected to agree that the agency worker talks have failed, the final nail in the coffin of a process which has failed to make any significant progress since it was launched in May last year.
ETUC and employers group UNICE were never able to agree a basic framework guaranteeing equal treatment for employees. The unions accused industry of being flatly opposed to any European level deal.
The collapse of the negotiations comes as a blow to Diamantopoulou and other champions of the social partners model, who see involving trade unions and employers groups as crucial to advancing the EU's employment policy.
Agreements between the four social partners, UNICE, ETUC, small and medium-sized business organisation UEAPME and state-owned company representative CEEP, means the EU can get European wide employment laws on the statute books without the Commission having to impose legislative proposals of the kind to which many member states are opposed.
Previously, the social partners have managed to reach deals on workers with fixed-term contracts and part-time workers.
But Diamantopoulou admits the failure of the temporary worker talks indicates that the social partners method still needs to be improved.
"Big changes have already taken place in the way the social partners work, but there's still a lot of room for improvements," she said.
Social Affairs Commissioner Anna Diamantopoulou will continue her push for trade unions and employers' groups to be involved in EU decision-making despite the collapse of negotiations on the status of temporary workers.
|Subject Categories||Employment and Social Affairs, Politics and International Relations|