Seminar on the Subject of “Stepping up the Coordination on Collective Bargaining to Better Fight Precarious Work in the EFFAT Sectors” Was Held

Between the dates of 16-18 March 2011, seminar on the subject of “Stepping up the Coordination on Collective Bargaining to Better Fight Precarious Work in the EFFAT Sectors” organized by European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) and European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions (EFFAT) in Portugal. EFFAT affiliates from 13 EU and candidate countries and also Assistant Expert of International Department of TOLEYIS Union, Canan ÖZCAN and one of the trade union members from the company of Ataköy Inc. Sheraton Hotels, Zeynep GÜVELI participated to the seminar on behalf of TOLEYIS.
In seminar, strategies to fight the development of precarious employment forms in their sectors were debated and participants could have a chance to share their own national experiences about how trade unions tackle the problems at sectoral and company level. It is emphasized that women, young and migrants are the most badly affected groups by precarious work which is related to insufficient wage and income, not have coverage by a collective agreement, not have a right to be represented by trade union, not have job security and not have social security. It is also noticed that this kind of working is established by fixed term contracts and seasonal work contracts.
In addition to this, Canan Özcan who represented TOLEYIS, made a presentation and had a chance to speak about the conditions of being organized in a trade union and about laws on this subject in Turkey. In her presentation, Özcan emphasized that to be able to get authority to make collective agreement, a trade union has to exceed % 10 threshold at branch of business and also has to organize one more person than half of whole workers. So it means there are two thresholds which have to be exceeded by trade unions in Turkey. Also, by saying that trade unions have to organize branch of business but they only can make collective agreements at workplace level or business level, so trade unions cannot have right to make prefer level of collective agreement and level of organization, Özcan shared the difficulties in front of the trade unions in Turkey with participants.
Key Points Settled on and Decisions for Follow-up Resulted in Seminar to which representatives of trade unions from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Spain, Sweden, Netherlands, France and Turkey participated, are those:

• Equal pay for equal work from day one, no matter the contractual relationship
• Specific protection for young, women, elderly, migrant and other vulnerable categories of workers
• Halt any form of discrimination based on different categories of employment relations
• Zero tolerance for abusive and fraudulent practices – criminal gang masters, letterbox companies, excessive charges for “services” (i.e. housing, transportation, food etc.), semi-slave labour relations (i.e. confiscated passports etc.)
• Zero tolerance for remuneration systems based on demand, zero hour contracts, production levels, in-kind remuneration etc.
• ILO’s Decent work and living wage as a reference
• Legitimate need (i.e. unforeseen change in production or other unpredictable factor) has to be the basic criteria for hiring workers on a temporary basis.
• Permanent tasks should be filled with jobs covered by permanent contracts.
• Correct legislation gaps and shortfalls and add to mandatory legal standards
• Ensure that employers take responsibility for the working conditions of the employees of their subcontractors
• Ensure that employers have a duty to inform the workers including those of their subcontractors, in a language understood by workers.
• Negotiate with employers and (when appropriate) with the government the setup of a “labour agency police” – a body established to check on labour agency practices and impose fines and get pay arrears for workers entitled to them.
• Negotiate a sector level minimum wage and inter-sector minimum wage in their country (where appropriate ) secure minimum conditions though other means otherwise
• Negotiate the equalization of the costs of hiring permanent and precarious workers so that the company has no incentive to hire a precarious worker over a permanent worker.
• Make the organizing of precarious workers a priority for their organization. Organize using new, innovative methods (e.g. community organizing, hiring shop stewards from target worker group, concept of empowerment and organized workplace, not servicing model only etc.).
• Invest in the cross-border allocation of resources (e.g. building trade union capacity in countries that need it , also through specific and dedicated trainings, exchange of union resource people, specific campaigns etc.).
• Conducting information sessions on unions, worker rights and conditions in the countries sending workers who often end up being temporary
• Use the referendum as an instrument at a national level where possible to collect signatures and change national legislation that is poor or hostile to precarious employees.
• Translate and disseminate the COLLECTIVE BARGAININGs in the languages of foreign workers employed in the countries and inform them about their existence, purpose and use.
• A halt to the fragmentation of the different categories of employment relations (e.g. work on call, agency work, traineeship, seasonal, part-time etc.)
• Effective national labour inspection and legislation to secure that the rights of precarious workers are protected, abuses are appropriately sanctioned and employers compete on equal footing.
• Demand a thorough revision of the EU posting directive at an EU and at a national level .
• That letterbox agencies, criminal gang masters, bogus self-employed and criminal exploitation and behavior are firmly discouraged and such practiced severely sanctioned.
• Incentives to hire permanent workers over precarious workers (i.e. implement a progressive tax system for the company - the more stable the hire, the more fiscal advantages for the company).
• Government regulations on improving precarious work should not allow waivers on specific sectors (e.g. academia, teaching, public services etc.)
• The EU should not interfere in collective bargaining at a national level e.g. with austerity packages, posting directive etc. Viking-Laval
• No employments grow through precarious and insecure work. Only quality employment really matters when designing job generation policies.
• A reform of any incentive system that encourages the creation of precarious work or allows the relocation of undertakings to other countries because of lower labour costs (relocation).
• Introduce a conditionality close for compliance with social standards to access EU funds and incentives (i.e. under the CAP , EU structural funds as well as any other public national funds)– meaning that the funds are allocated only if the employer and/or institution respects and/or contracts suppliers which respect COLLECTIVE BARGAININGs and basic social conditions.
• Halt referring to the NL and DK flexicurity systems as success stories to draw inspiration for the whole of Europe as this concept does not work for all . Besides, it did not work in the NL either (union assessment). And in DK it is coming under terrible strain because of cuts to social spending. Stop emphasizing only the flexibility part of flexicurity and redress the imbalance towards security instead.
• Include precarious work as a top agenda issue in all EWCs. Develop and create EWC wherever possible and include precarious work on top agenda.
• Design and negotiate stabilization mechanisms for precarious workers
• Multifaceted approach: EU level, national, local and company/EWC work - “play all the keys on the piano”
• Agreeing on same basic demands that are key for all sectors
• The lead negotiators in COLLECTIVE BARGAININGs in the different EFFAT members to be regularly in touch and work on that – EFFAT COLLECTIVE BARGAINING officers´ network.
• On minimum standards it is important to have a chance to have discussions about sub-sectors (e.g. pork industry, poultry industry, hotels, chocolate etc.) whenever possible and whenever a strong need arises
• Company level – EWC – it is key to understand each other – unions to strive to secure that their officers and members can communicate at least in English.
• Use funds of the EU Commission for sector specific needs (ask EFFAT and ETUI)
• Affiliate initiative-driven initiatives key – with EU funds and ETUI-SDA advice that can be done.
• More cooperation among unions on specific subjects
• EFFAT to develop strategic document on precarious work to advocate with the EU institutions – on track with the project
• Creation of a “Precarious Work Dictionary. A country by country guide to the infinite declinations of precarious work in the EU and what you can do about it” as a trade union guide and advocacy tool
• An cross-sector stabilization system to develop as a EU proposal (e.g. “Permanent casual”) for notably based on the experience at a national level of agriculture and HORECA trade unions (e.g. Spain, Croatia and Italy)
• EU worker and employer ID – no matter where the worker or the employer comes from and goes his/her employment history can be always be tracked and protected (EU work mobility database) and the same for the employer. Employers without such ID not allowed to operate (proposal from 3F)