“High employment rates and signs of improvement for the youth”, this is how the European Commission advertises the current Quarterly Report on Employment and Social Developments in the EU. The Commission far too often paints a too rosy picture of the economic and social development in Europe. However, from the AK’s point of view, additional efforts have to be made at European level to ensure that the increased growth and employment rates also improve people’s working and living conditions. 

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The aim of the Pay Transparency Directive is to strengthen the principle of equal pay for equal work or work of equal value between men and women through pay transparency and enforcement mechanisms. Although this fundamental right has long been enshrined in law, women in the EU still earn 14% less than their male colleagues do. Progress is barely discernible, despite numerous efforts, in particular because until now there have been no specific binding measures at EU level.
 

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Melanie Kocsan

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Ein gemeinsames europäisches Vorgehen ist angesichts der vielen sozialen Herausforderungen – wie Arbeitslosigkeit, Armut und soziale Ausgrenzung – wichtiger denn je. Der Aktionsplan zur Europäischen Säule sozialer Rechte und der Sozialgipfel in Porto sind eine Chance für eine Trendumkehr hin zu einer solidarischen sozialen Union.

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Gloria Gruber

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On 28 June 2021, the Commission presented a new EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027. Follow up to the current strategy 2014-2020, it will be the guideline for the development of the protection of workers’ health and safety for the coming years. As an initial analysis shows, in spite of ambitious targets, in many areas, the strategic framework falls short of expectations.

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The ambitious Portuguese Presidency officially ended on 30 June 2021. The first six months of 2021 were still dominated by the Covid-19 crisis and important measures to tackle it. The highlight of the Presidency was the Social Summit and the Porto Declaration. Slovenia, who took over the Presidency on 1 July, has big shoes to fill.

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With the proposal for a regulation on Artificial Intelligence (AI), the European Commission wants to create a legal framework for the dealing with and using AI systems. Are the proposed regulations sufficient to actually provide adequate protection and transparency and to clarify responsibility issues?

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A current ETUC study shows that the improved labour market integration of people of working age into good jobs is the best way to ensure the adequacy and sustainability of pensions in the long-term.

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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.