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European Commission legislative work programme 2013 – ‘socially empty’ and threat to European social dialogue

On 23 October, the European Commission launched its legislative programme for 2013, which could be considered the most meagre programme ever in relation to actions in the social area. Apart from being an almost blank sheet in this area, the programme also represents a serious threat to European social dialogue at both interprofessional and sectoral level.

The European Commission refused – under pressure mainly from one member state – to integrate in the programme proposals for Directives to incorporate three sectoral framework agreements (on health and safety in the hairdressing sector (adopted 26 April 2012), on working conditions in sea fisheries (21 May 2012 – transposing ILO Convention n° 188) and on working time in the inland waterways sector (15 May 2012). This wild attack on sectoral social dialogue might not only endanger the future (outcomes) of interprofessional social dialogue (for example, the eventual framework agreement revising the working time Directive), but certainly makes the Commission lose all credibility when it considers at other high-level forums that (European) social dialogue is the way out of the crisis.

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