Trade Union Involvement in the EU Semester
Strategy: At European level: part of ETUC delegations to consultations with the social partners in the lead up to the Annual Growth Survey and member of the cross-sector social dialogue committee that also has a role in discussing the AGS and other developments in the European Semester. It also contributes to debates within the ETUC through the collective bargaining committee, economic and employment committee, women's committee etc.
EPSU has also tried to ensure that its affiliates are fully informed about the European Semester through regular reports to its Executive Committee and by convening an Economic Policy working group to provide a forum for discussion on the impact of economic governance at national level. This has met several times over the last three years and will probably meet at least annually in future.
Actors: EPSU has affiliated organisations in all EU Member States in central, regional and local government, health and social services, and in the utilities - energy, waste and water.
Effectiveness: At European level there is still a lot of work to do to establish a real role for the social partners and to see any of the main concerns of the trade unions reflected in the outcomes. At national level EPSU affiliates' involvement in the European Semester is likely to be through their relevant national confederation and indications are that even where confederations are consulted there are few concrete results.

National Reports

Public sector trade union rights to collective bargaining and social dialogue have been undermined in several countries. This is can be through governments ignoring established processes of collective bargaining or social dialogue (Portugal, Croatia, Spain) or changing the labour code to undermine collective bargaining that impacts the public sector in a similar way to the private sector (Romania). In Portugal and Spain there have been some successful legal challenges while trade unions in Romania have taken a complaint to the ILO.
Colour: Red in as far as the situation in a small number of countries is off major concern and if not resolved to protect collective bargaining in the public sector risks infecting the rest of Europe.

Richard Pond, EPSU