A year ago, a ruling by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) on the legitimacy of lower wages for cross-border workers on Austrian trains made the headlines. Hence, vida, the trade union representing workers in the transport and service industries in Austria, the European Transport Workers' Federation (ETF) and the AK hosted a Webinar on 30 November 2020 to discuss the significance of the ruling for the fight against wage and social dumping in the transport sector.
Transport is responsible for a quarter of greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, it contributes to five percent of the EU Gross Domestic Product and employs about eleven million people. Thus, from the Austrian Chamber of Labour’s point of view it is clear that we need a sustainable transport system, which provides more fairness for its employees.
The European Commission increases its pace to achieve a climate neutral Europe. On 14th October 2020, it published three strategies, which shall take the next steps to implement the Green Deal. One of them concerns a renovation wave with the aim to double the renovation rate.
In May 2020, the European Commission presented the “Farm to Fork Strategy” as well as the EU Biodiversity Strategy to achieve a more climate-friendly agricultural and food system as well as more biodiversity. The Austrian Chamber of Labour welcomes the path taken; however, measures should be socially fair and in accordance with workers’ and consumers’ demands.
Three years after the proposal of the European Commission to reform rail passenger rights, representatives both of European Parliament and Council reached political agreement on this dossier on 1 October 2020. However, the compromise hardly includes any positive reforms, which would make travelling by rail more attractive to passengers; on the contrary, concrete changes for the worse have been entered.
In order to implement the Green Deal, it is of vital importance to make the energy sector more efficient and to increase renewable energy sources. The Austrian Chamber of Labour has participated in the Consultation of the European Commission and stresses: the spotlight has to be put on the distribution policy effects of energy transition.
On 17 September 2020, the European Commission presented its proposal to increase the climate target by 2030, which had been announced for quite some time. Whilst until now, a reduction of CO2 emissions by 40 % by 2030 compared to the emission of 1990 has been determined at European level, this reduction has now been increased to 55 %.
On its way toward a more sustainable Europe, the Commission also intends to improve the protection against hazardous substances. The Austrian Chamber of Labour has taken part in the Consultation of the Commission on the Chemicals Strategy for Sustainability and demands a consistent strategy to improve the protection of citizens and above all of employees at work.