TUNED signs landmark social partner agreement on rights for central administration employees

After months of negotiations in the EU's sectoral social dialogue Committee on central government administrations, its trade union delegation 'TUNED' (bringing together CESI and EPSU, the European Federation of Public Service Unions) yesterday signed a landmark social partner agreement on information and consultation rights of central administration employees with the employers' representative, the European Union Public Administration Employers (EUPAE). This paves the way for the European Commission to propose a transposition of the agreement into a Council Directive, thus giving central administration workers in the entire EU more rights in matters of restructuring, work life balance, working time and occupational health and safety. This would be important because central government administration workers have so far been excluded from the EU's information and consultation legislative framework.

TUNED signs landmark social partner agreement on rights for central administration employees

For the employees’ side, the agreement was signed by CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger, EPSU Secretary General Jan Willem Goudriaan and Britta Lejon, spokesperson of the CESI-EPSU Trade Unions’ National and European Administration Delegation (TUNED) in the central government administrations sectoral social dialogue committee.

In the presence of Ruth Paserman, Deputy Head of Cabinet for the Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs, Skills and Labour Mobility Marianne Thyssen, the French Minister for Devolution and Civil Service Marylise Lebranchu signed the agreement on behalf of EUPAE.

A general framework for information and consultation rights of central administrations workers

The agreements sets out a general framework of common minimum requirements for information and consultation rights of public employees, through their trade union representatives, in central government administrations. More specifically it stipulates that: “Except when social partners, on the basis of national legislation, decide together the topics for consultation and information, consultation shall cover health and safety at work, working time and work life balance policy, and consequences on conditions of employment of decisions changing the organisation of structures and services or when there is a threat to employment. The following topics are dealt with by information or consultation according to the national legislation and social dialogue: remuneration guidelines, employee training, gender equality and non-discrimination measures, and social protection specifically applicable to public employees.”

Following the signing of the agreement, CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger said: “The agreement will bring about concrete improvements for many central administration workers. It also shows that social dialogue works and that employees and employers can come to terms among each other on many issues.”
TUNED spokesperson Britta Lejon added: “This agreement means that millions of government employees and civil servants will at long last benefit from EU minimum standards on the fundamental right to information and consultation on matters of prime concern to them.”

Next step: A Commission proposal to turn the agreement into a Council Directive, binding in all Member States

For now, the agreement will be operational only in those countries represented by the signatories in the committee (see below). According to articles TFEU 154 and 155, it is up to the European Commission to issue a legislative proposal for a Council Directive to make it binding in all 28 EU Member States.
Britta Lejon said: “We trust the European Commission will transpose the agreement into a Directive as quickly as possible and in full respect of the autonomy of social partners.”
Mr Heeger added: “Mr Juncker recently announced a whole new social pillar for the EU. He also announced a ‘new start’ for social dialogue at the start of his mandate. Proposing to turn the new social partner agreement into a binding Council Directive would give credit to his stated ambitions. Moreover, it could be the start for new legislative proposals in other areas of employment and social affairs which are desperately needed. If Europe is to become more social, substantive EU-wide standards must be set by binding legislation to ensure that all workers enjoy decent and non-discriminatory working conditions – regardless of their type of contract or the location of their place of work in the EU.”

The full social partner agreement can accessed here.

Notes to editors: About the EU Social Dialogue Committee for Central Government Administrations

The EU’s Sectoral Social Dialogue Committee for Central Government Administrations (SDC CGA), which brings together trade union (TUNED) and employer (EUPAE) representatives from this sector, was founded in 2010 with the objectives of improving the functioning of administrations and standards on working conditions and promoting social dialogue at national and European levels.

EUPAE (European Public Administration Employers) consists, as of today, of 11 Member States (Belgium, France, Spain, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Romania, Czech Republic, UK and Slovakia) and 5 observer countries (Germany, Austria, Hungary, Malta, Portugal).

TUNED (Trade Unions’ National and European Administration Delegation) brings together the European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU) and the European Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CESI), which represent government employees in 27 of the 28 EU Member States.

For further information, please contact:
Agathe Smyth
+32 2 282 18 65