Gas employers deny gas workers a fair and green transition

By Staff
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Joint industriAll Europe and EPSU (European Federation of Public Service Unions) Press Release

After nine months of negotiations between the EU social partners in the gas sector, the employers’ organisation, Eurogas, failed to adopt the Just Transition Agreement reached by the employers and trade union delegations that would have guaranteed a Just Transition for the gas workers faced with the massive transformation underway. The agreement aimed at ensuring that companies would develop Just Transition plans to anticipate the impact of the transformation on jobs and skills, provide quality training and job-to-job transitiosn, underpinned by workers’ and trade unions’ involvement.

IndustriAll Europe and EPSU strongly regret that the good faith in which they had negotiated for nine months was not fully reciprocated by the EU gas sector employers.This news comes as a serious blow, not only to workers in the gas sector, but to all workers in Europe. It is a serious blow to sectoral social dialogue and European social dialogue. And above all, this is a severe setback to achieving a fair and Just Transition to prevent climate change.

Despite the efforts of the unions to secure a fair and Just Transition for gas sector workers, national employers’ organisations and companies continue to ignore the scale of the change underway and put profit before people and the planet. Behind the positive statements that gas sector employers make in public, there is an unwillingness to take concrete steps that would pave the way for a fair transition. It is highly disappointing that after nine months of negotiation, their words amount to nothing more than green washing.

This is not the first time that EU-level employers’ associations have failed to engage in constructive social dialogue to organise a fair future for workers. Following the recent failure of Business Europe to adopt the cross-sectoral social partner agreement on telework, a worrying trend is emerging in which employers try to undermine EU-level social dialogue, by engaging in discussions merely to postpone and hinder EU regulation. The employers are hampered by the actions of certain companies which continue to put the limited interests of the corporate class over the well-being of workers and society. This further demonstrates the need for an EU regulatory framework on Just Transition.

The trade union federations, EPSU and industriAll Europe call on the Belgian presidency and European Commission to put forward a proposal for a Just Transition Directive without further delay. IndustriAll Europe and EPSU will reflect further on the repercussions, notably on the future of social dialogue, and decide on the steps to take at both European and national level. They remain at the negotiation table and will engage with any serious employers who recognise that ensuring a just transition is the only route to attracting and retaining a critical workforce in the gas sector.

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