UNI Europa Conference in defence of worker rights in a changing Europe
The Conference of UNI Europa, the umbrella organisation of European service unions, focused on the protection of basic rights and social welfare legislation as well as employees’ rights in the digital economy. The Conference also elected PAM representatives to UNI’s executive positions.
According to the Conference, the European Union finds itself in a situation where basic social rights – such as union rights – should not be assigned a lower priority in comparison with economic and financial rights. EU legislation should not be used to weaken the national social welfare laws.
Unionisation rights are basic human rights which are guaranteed not only by national constitutional legislations but also through the EU and the International Labour Organisation ILO conventions. One of the concrete UNI Europa steps to enhance union activities and operations is the founding of an organising centre for Central and Eastern Europe. The objective of the centre is to increase membership numbers and to strengthen the employee-employer relationships in this region.
Online platforms and the sharing economy have revolutionised the way of working. UNI Europa has launched a survey to find out how many Europeans do platform-based crowd work. The results already obtained from the first respondent countries indicate that already millions of people earn their living through online platforms.
For example, 12 percent of the people in their active working age in Sweden are engaged in various forms of crowd work while 4 percent is performing these "gigs" at least once a month.
Regional Secretary Oliver Röthig of UNI Europa insists that the European Commission make it possible for the crowd workers to protect their interests collectively, free of any antitrust allegations.
Ending today on 16 March 2016, the three-day Conference had almost one thousand participants. The UNI Europa Women’s Conference took place on Saturday 12 March.
UNI Europa represents 7 million employees e.g. in commerce, property services, private sercurity and hair and beauty care sectors. The Conference is organised every four years.
Jaana Ylitalo of PAM in UNI Europa’s Executive Committee
The Conference elected Jaana Ylitalo, PAM’s Collective Bargaining Director, as a member of the UNI Europa Executive Committee. She is also the Chairperson of UNI Europa’s property and security service sector.
Erika Kähärä, PAM’s Specialist in the Working Environment, was elected to the UNI Europa's Women’s Committee. She is also the European representative in the UNI Global Women's Committee.
Chair of PAM’s Youth Committee, Eveliina Reponen is now also a member of the UNI Europa Youth Committee.
UNI Europa continues to operate under the presidency of Frank Bisrske of the Germany-based Ver.di Union. The Conference elected Oliver Röthig to continue as the Regional Secretary of UNI Europa.