|Author (Person)||Neligan, Myles|
|Series Title||European Voice|
|Series Details||Vol.4, No.46, 17.12.98, p16|
|Content Type||Journal | Series | Blog|
THIS year was supposed to go down in history as the year when EU governments, employers and trade unions launched a concerted bid, under the guidance of the European Commission, to create jobs for the Union's 18 million unemployed.
This was Social Affairs Commissioner Pádraig Flynn's objective when he persuaded governments to sign up to his EU employment guidelines, a set of recommendations for job creation, in November 1997.
In the event, the results have been mixed. The EU's unemployment rate has fallen over the past 12 months, though there is little evidence to suggest that this is due to the action plans drawn up by member states. Nonetheless, governments have given an updated set of proposals for 1999 their seal of approval.
EU employers and trade unions also welcomed Flynn's guidelines, albeit with different emphases. Employers' body UNICE called for greater efforts to create a more pro-business environment, while the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) said that the guidelines needed to be backed up by firm spending commitments.
This was the only area where EU bosses and workers managed to see eye to eye. The much-vaunted 'social dialogue' got off to a bad start in March when UNICE refused to negotiate a voluntary deal on worker consultation with the ETUC.
Flynn gave them nine months to reconsider, but when the employers once again declined to discuss the issue in November, he imposed his own solution.
This would require all EU firms with more than 50 staff to consult them over all decisions involving pay and working conditions. Lay-offs which were not preceded by consultations would be declared legally void. The proposal met with a hostile reception from bosses, who will now look to national governments for support as it makes its way through the Council of Ministers.
Feature forms part of the European Voice 'Review of the Year'.
|Subject Categories||Employment and Social Affairs|