Trade Union Rights for Public Sector Workers: 3rd Regional Meeting

On 25 and 26 January 2022, the third regional meeting in EUROMIL’s joint project with EPSU and EuroCOP on strengthening and defending trade union rights in the public sector took place. The meeting focused on countries from the Nordic region and North Eastern Europe.

The meeting was part of a series of meetings that are organised to bring together public sector representatives to discuss how to improve and protect the right to collective bargaining, organising and taking action. Part of the discussion includes an assessment of the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive and its implementation in the country groups.

Following the same pattern as the other regional meetings, the two day discussion included presentations from Alexander de Becker (University of Ghent), Nadja Salson (EPSU), Stefan Clauwaert (ETUC) and Carlos Carrion Crespo (ILO).

EUROMIL members should take particular note of the presentation from Mr Clauwaert regarding potential legal avenues that can be pursued in the case where workers are being unfairly excluded from the scope of legislation, like the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive. As is evidenced in the case of its Irish and Portuguese members, EUROMIL has had some success in achieving recognition for Citizens in Uniform by bringing complaints on their behalf to the European Committee of Social Rights.

Furthermore, by engaging with EUROMIL’s requests for input on activities like the Universal Periodic Review, progress can be achieved. This point is particularly relevant in considering the presentation from Ms Salson who explained EPSU’s legal case against the European Commission and the ramifications of the ruling from last September that effectively gives the Commission complete discretion over whether or not to refer social partner agreements to the European Council for implementation as directives. Although the ruling was not in EPSU’s favour, the discussion that it has brought about is nonetheless important and shows the value in continuing to chip away at States’ refusals to recognise the rights of workers in the public sector.

In this particular meeting, interesting comments were shared by Poul Sørenson from HKKF regarding best practices in Denmark and how being part of a wider group with bargaining power in the public sector was incredibly useful, particularly when it included groups that were permitted to strike. With the fourth regional meeting planned for 8 and 9 March 2022, it is crucial that EUROMIL members are actively engaging with the project and its outcomes at all stages as only by sharing experiences and expressing support and solidarity with our affiliates can we achieve the fundamental rights that military personnel continue to be excluded from.

For more details on the third regional meeting, read the EPSU report here. Dates for the final meetings can be found here on our project page.

This project receives financial support from the European Commission.

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