Employment and Gender Equality Commissions boost European Semester involvement of CESI and consult on equal pay for equal work

On March 7 CESI's members' Commissions on Employment and Social Affairs and on Women's Rights and Gender Equality convened for their first meeting of the year in Brussels. At the centre of the meeting were debates around the European Commission's current consultation on equal pay for equal work and on how to boost CESI's involvement and engagement in the European Semester process.

Employment and Gender Equality Commissions boost European Semester involvement of CESI and consult on equal pay for equal work

Chaired by Javier Jordán of CESI’s Spanish member CSIF and Kirsten Lühmann, affiliate of CESI’s German member dbb, the meeting brought together representatives from CESI’s various member organisations in charge of horizontal policies as well as presidents and vice-presidents of CESI’s sectoral members’ trade councils.

How to optimise engagement in the European Semester?

Jeroen Jutte, longstanding Head of Unit for employment and social aspects of European Semester in the European Commission, attended the meeting as a guest speaker. In a joint debate, CESI members established how CESI can optimise its input in the annual European Semester process.

Javier Jordán, President of the Commission on Employment and Social Affairs, said: “The European Semester is a key instrument for the European Commission to engage with Member States in their financial and economic policies. Following the adoption of the European Pillar of Social Rights in 2017, social policy is now also more and more part of the game. For CESI as a European umbrella organisation of independent trade unions, it is now more important than ever to engage most effectively in the European Semester.”

CESI Secretary General Klaus Heeger added: “At first glance the European Semester may not be sexy and easy as a process but for us and our national member trade unions it is in fact of high importance to engage with Member State governments and the European institutions together on specific concerns that we have. Effective work on the European Semester is vital because it would just happen without us if we chose to not focus on it.”

Closing the gender pay gap via EU measures?

Vitalijus Novikovas from the European Commission’s gender equality union updated CESI’s members about a consultation on the implementation of article 4 of the EU Directive 2006/54 which requires all Member States to eliminate pay discrimination between workers and employees when the work is equal or of equal value (‘equal pay for equal work’).

Following a joint debate on the topic, a formal consultation contribution and further engagement by CESI with the European Commission is forthcoming.

Picture: CESI joint Commissions on Employment & Social Affairs and on Women’s Rights & Gender Equality © CESI 2019