LO's policy for a better Europe
International issues LO has outlined a programme on EU activities for the coming five years, in order to influence EU policies and obtain a better Europe for workers. “While 26 million people are unemployed in Europe, the EU pursues a narrow austerity policy. This has had devastating consequences for workers all over Europe, especially women. In contrast, LO will instead act for full employment and investments that will generate sustainable growth", says Åsa Janlöv, research officer and European coordinator at the LO international department.
The programme consists of 40 proposals and three main areas: full employment, better regulation in the labour market and more democracy and transparency.
If we are to achieve full employment in Europe, what we need is an efficient youth guarantee; we need more focus on competitiveness, and investments to boost industry. The independent role of social partners must be maintained and wage formation is to be an issue outside EU competence. Gender equality must be enhanced through active measures, in order to facilitate and increase women’s participation in the labour market. Good working environment and extensive child care and elderly care are important factors in this context.
Better regulations and better order in the labour market can be obtained if the protection of workers, in terms of health and safety at the work place and equal treatment, is ensured by binding obligations. This is important if we are to guarantee the effective functioning of the internal market, with no social dumping, misuse and unfair competition. Swedish collective agreements are to be applied in Sweden in order to secure equal treatment for all workers – no matter what their origin is. An initiative of utmost importance is the introduction of a social progress protocol to the EU Treaty which will counterbalance the economic freedoms and ensure that trade union rights are given priority, rather than unscrupulous companies’ profit-making. A social progress protocol is the only way to solve the fundamental complex of problems related to Laval.
We need more democracy and transparency in the EU. LO therefore demands a more distinct division of powers between the European and national levels. Due to the austerity policies pursued after the criris, confidence in the EU institutions has dropped and fewer EU citizens are positive towards EU cooperation. People are less hopeful about the future and therefore populist, racist, neo-nazi and fascist parties gained ground in the EU elections. EU citizens' confidence in the EU institutions must increase and this is why we need more transparency - and less Troika and less closed doors. Important issues should not be concealed in informal tripartite negotiations with virtually no public control. Also, the work of the European Parliament should be streamlined, it is unnecessary to have several locations. A single seat in Brussels is sufficient. “