Expressing its disappointment with the Green Paper, ETUC believes that protection for precarious workers needs to be further enhanced. In ETUC's view, the Green Paper is wrong to blame traditional labour law for reducing the protection of regular jobs and limiting job opportunities for labour marker 'outsiders'.
ETUC is of the opinion that despite having limited competence in the field of labour law and social security, the EU can - and must - act to ensure fair and just working conditions, and respect for fundamental rights in the context of a level playing field and fair competition. "As the EU moves closer to becoming a single market for goods and services, and a European single labour market emerges, it is more crucial than ever to set clear European rules on basic protection for workers, backed up by collective bargaining at EU and national level," declared ETUC General Secretary John Monks.
Meanwhile, the rapporteur's report itself welcomes the Green Paper, while stressing that it will be necessary to strike a fair balance between flexibility and security by taking into account the requirements of firms and employees. The rapporteur believes that the main aim of changes to EU labour law should be to create more jobs by focusing on employment security, rather than protecting particular jobs. The report states that flexibility is crucial to the economic competitiveness of the EU, but must go hand in hand with support for workers in transition between jobs.
The rapporteur’s report calls for flexible and fair employment to be based on 'minimum basic rights' including non-discrimination, health and safety protection, and provisions on working time - warning against an over-stringent labour law framework. It demands the adoption of measures to enhance social security rights and benefits for part-time workers, and for those with flexible or atypical working arrangements, particularly women. The Green Paper does not go far enough in promoting gender equality, according to the report.
Finally, the rapporteur calls on member states to reduce the restrictions on access to their labour markets and thus improve the mobility of workers within the EU.