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Evoking collective memory of the fire that caused over 250 preventable deaths nine years ago, 15 human and labour rights organisations are jointly urging EU policymakers to address the systemic issues related to the role of social auditing in that disaster as well as in many others. Co-signatories of the open letter released today point out that -- despite serious and evident risks -- a social auditing firm had certified the Ali Enterprises factory in Pakistan as safe mere weeks before the deadly fire. 

 

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A study, commissioned by AK EUROPA and the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI), deals with the involvement of social actors in the RRF. At an online event on 7 September 2021, the authors of the study presented their findings for the first time. The study concludes that, even though social actors are involved in the RRF process, their participation is running the risk of not having a substantial impact.

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Under the motto “Together. Resilient. Europe.“, Slovenia took over its six-month Council Presidency on 1st July 2021. However, compared to previous Presidencies, it was a rather bumpy start.

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The Commission is planning a raft of measures to simplify regulation at the European level and to make it more efficient. In Austrian Chamber of Labour’s view, the Commission’s communication, while containing some positive approaches, also sets out a number of ideas that are firmly rejected by AK. The Commission’s recent announcement that “obstacles and red tape”, i.e., bureaucracy, should be eliminated, in order to achieve savings for companies to the detriment of social policy standards should be rejected decisively.

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Frank Ey

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Whilst more than 100 countries – from South Africa via Spain to the USA – are urging to waive patent rights on know-how and technologies to combat Covid-19 within the scope of the WTO, the EU is still hampering an agreement. The European Parliament in contrast sent an important signal on 9 June 2021: in the adopted resolution, it once again urges to waiver trade-related intellectual property rights for the duration of the pandemic.

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Corruption, poverty, and dictatorships are commonly accepted as causes of migration and flight. However, such a perspective blurs the vision of global contexts: climate crisis and global inequality are rarely identified to be the cause. Hence, the Austrian Chamber of Labour, in cooperation with trade unions and NGOs, has launched the “The right to stay” Initiative, which will start with a wide-ranged event series to be held from 7 to 11 June 2021.

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By now, the majority of Member States have submitted their national plans, disclosing their intentions as to how they want to invest the monies from the EU’s Recovery Fund. Itt is not only Austria having a lot of catching up to do when it comes to the recovery’s social dimension. Hence, AK EUROPA, together with 20 other organisations is calling upon EU Finance Ministers to adopt a socially just and environmentally sustainable course out of the crisis. Everybody will be able to sign the petition until 14 June 2021.

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The Social Summit in Porto took place on 7th May 2021.

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On May 3rd, 2021, ahead of the EU Social Summit, AK EUROPA, the ÖGB Europabüro and the European Trade Union Confederation jointly hosted the online event “Fair wages in the EU - What does the EU Social Summit promise?”. Taking part in the debate were AK President Renate Anderl, ÖGB President Wolfgang Katzian as well as Esther Lynch (ETUC) and MEP Dennis Radtke.

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On 5th May 2021, the Commission presented its updated Industrial Strategy. The strategy not only affirms the current priorities, which were stipulated the year before, but also specifies new proposals to support SMEs. Together with the Industrial Strategy, the Commission has presented a proposal for a regulation on subsidies for third-countries, which distort the Internal Market.