USF 2023 Congress claim – Implementation of the “European Framework Agreement of European social dialogue committee for central government administrations (SDC-CGA) on Digitalisation”, 6th Oct. 2022
The many economic constraints put on almost all employers with the COVID pandemic since 2020 triggered a massive effort to boost digitalisation and shift as much work as possible into telework. As the survival or the viability of employers was at stake, entailing serious consequences on both employers and employees, initially little time and energy was available to reflect on, discuss and negotiate principles and rules to safeguard fair conditions under dramatically changed circumstances. These principles and rules are now needed in the post-COVID era as policies often labelled as the “New Way of Working” are being introduced as a permanent framework.
To correctly assess the magnitude of the “New Way of Working” it is worth noticing that the industrial revolutions massively shifted the focus of work from home to factories and mills. This had a huge impact on urbanisation, mass transport and human or social interaction outside the home environment. The shift of human interaction to centralised production sites also facilitated the creation of unions and increased the impact of their actions.
We are now probably witnessing the beginning of a reverse shift of workplaces back home. The possible consequences for union activities and employees’ rights especially in the International or European public service call for highest attention of the 2023 USF Congress.
The landmark agreement for the USF Congress is the “European Framework Agreement of European social dialogue committee for central government administrations (SDC-CGA) on digitalisation” (referred to as the “Agreement” in the following), concluded between the Social Partners: Trade Unions’ National and European administration Delegation (TUNED) and the European Public Administration Employers (EUPAE), within the social dialogue committee for central government administrations.
The USF Congress urges the implementation of the Agreement with particular attention to the situation of international, largely expatriate staff who encounter high challenges in terms of work-life balance and family constraints. USF affiliates will develop specific claims in order to take into account the special challenges their members face. In particular, teleworking from the country of origin or other Member States must be opened up within reasonable limits, following thorough internal social dialogue procedures.
USF will particularly focus on the right to disconnect, health & safety issues, the voluntary nature of telework and the fundamental right to collective bargaining.
- The USF Congress adopts the subject matter of the Agreement for implementation into the various legal orders where USF affiliates are present.
- The USF Congress urges the implementation of the agreement mutatis mutandis in every international and European organisation as soon as possible.
- The USF Congress also urges that the Agreement be enacted as a European Directive under Art.155.2 of the Treaty.