The Commission will issue a Communication in support of basic worker rights for workers all over the world. Commissioner Spidla says it will not be used for protectionism.
The Commission’s Communication, which EURACTIV has seen, will be issued on 25 May 2006. While it is somewhat more detailed than the core labour standards as defined by the International Labour Organisation, it does not significantly exceed those standards. Both concern main issues such as the freedom to join a trade union, the freedom to collective bargaining, the fight against forced labour, against child labour and modern forms of slavery.
The Communication does not deal with poor labour standards in EU or EU candidate countries. Employment and Social Affairs Commissioner Vladimir Spidla says there are “tougher measures” to be applied for example to Bulgaria and Romania, which have been criticised by the ILO for the ongoing practice of child labour in both countries.
Mainly, the Communication deals with possibilities of leveraging ongoing EU policies in support of the decent work agenda. This affects Foreign Relations, Development Cooperation and Trade. These three Directorates General of the Commission have co-authored the Communication with DG Employment and Social Affairs. Although trade issues are concerned, the Communication stresses that “the endorsement of social objectives cannot under any circumstances be used for protectionist purposes”.