European Commission grabbing
power from labour market organizations, FinUnion's Director claims
SAK/Palkkatyöläinen (03.10.2012 - Aino Pietarinen) "In the EU, decisions are
now being made
in the name of economic policy coordination that will have a bigger
impact on wage and salary earners than working life directives", warns
Marianne Muona, the Acting Director of FinUnions (The Finnish trade unions
representation to the EU).
Thus, the European Commission is extending the reach of its power to, among
other things, wage and
salary formation. This means that the Commission, through its
coordination role, is seeking to circumvent power traditionally held by the
labour market organizations, the European
Parliament and Council who, together, normally impose working life
When preparing working life directives labour market organizations are
consulted, Muona says. The starting point is that these organizations are
always afforded the opportunity of negotiating the content of a directive,
Commission makes its legislative proposal respecting the results of such
negotiations. But now, new working life directives are not given but through
policy coordination one influences, for example, wage and salary formation
and labour market reforms.
"In several crisis countries, decisions have been made, in the name of
economic policy coordination, to lower wages and salaries and to cut public
expenditure. These decisions have had a tremendous impact on wage and
In Muona's opinion it would be important to strengthen the three-tier model
also in the EU's economic and employment policy coordination.
Matters that traditionally belong to the area of labour market parties'
negotiation autonomy are currently being pushed through unilaterally by dint
of the coordination mechanism.
During the Chairmanship of José Manuel Barroso, at the European Commission,
too few working life directives have been approved, Muona says. And the
deficiency has been filled by coordination that has by-passed both the
labour market parties and the European Parliament.