GUE/NGL
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European workers deserve decent work with full rights

A report on working conditions and precarious employment by GUE/NGL Rapporteur Neoklis Sylikiotis was approved with a large majority at the European Parliament today.

Sylikiotis aimed to advance the political debate on precarious employment, which has been on the rise in the European Union, contributing to the exploitation of workers in forms such as zero-hours contracts, bogus self-employment and involuntary part-time employment.

The report achieved, among other things, a desired consensus on what constitutes precarious employment – based on the International Labour Organisation (ILO) definition of decent work – and reiterated the Parliament’s support for collective bargaining and collective rights without fear of consequences.

The GUE/NGL Rapporteur also succeeded in including on the final text support for policies that favour equal rights for migrant workers, unequivocally stating that labour inspectors must not be used for migration control.

Sylikiotis welcomed the approval of his report with a call on the Commission and member states to heed its main recommendations:

“We call on the Commission and member states to ensure effective protection for workers in the context of industrial relations, as well as to devise a comprehensive political response to reduce and eventually extinguish precarious employment.”

“The EU must promote policies that empower workers through social dialogue and extend collective bargaining rights to all workers, allowing them to exercise their right to assembly and collective bargaining freely and without fear.”

“It is of course also necessary to strengthen the welfare state and strengthen policies that create decent jobs through public investment and long-term state strategies. The Commission and member states must promote public investment, policies for upward social convergence and decent work,” Sylikiotis added.

During the plenary debate last night, the Cypriot Rapporteur explained the roots of the problem:

“The current apparent increase in employment rates only hides rising forms of precarious employment such as zero-hour contracts, false self-employment and inadvertent part-time jobs that do not provide a decent life or the whole spectrum of workers' rights. Our goal in this report was to re-introduce the concept of employment on its proper basis. Employment must be decent and offer the worker and his family a well-balanced life.”

“There is a need to move away from unfettered markets and austerity policies,” Sylikiotis concluded.