12 March 2024

Ceemet reacts to the first EPSCO meeting of the Belgian Presidency

Platform Work Directive

During the EPSCO meeting, which took place on 11 March 2024, one of the main topics discussed was the Directive on Platform Work which was seen as one of the main priorities of the Belgian Presidency. Employment and social affairs ministers approved the provisional agreement between the Council and the European Parliament in this context. 

When it comes to the legal presumption, one of the most debated issues, the text of the agreement has undergone some developments.  It has been agreed that presumption of employment is found when there are facts indicating control and direction, according to national law, collective agreements or practice in force in the Member States and with consideration to the case-law of the Court of Justice. So, the text leaves considerable leeway to the Member States, for example, when it comes to determining the facts characterising the control and direction. 

The text of the agreement will now have to be finalised in all the official languages and formally adopted by the European Parliament and Council of the EU. 

European Semester

Ministers adopted the joint employment report and approved the Conclusions on the 2024 annual sustainable growth survey. During the debate, ministers conceded that while there is record high employment figures in the EU, there are many structural labour market challenges. Ministers also highlighted improved country specific analyses, which target these challenges at a national level.

From a Ceemet perspective, it is incredibly important to get the balance right in this area. Our industries have been hit by labour and skills shortages which have affected production and a multitude of other factors. Ceemet provides many solutions to dealing with structural labour market challenges in our paper on Tackling Labour & skills shortages in the MET Industries.

During the debate on the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR), ministers also endorsed the opinion of the Employment Committee and of the Social Protection Committee on the EU’s future policy priorities for the EPSR.

Letter on the need for a stronger focus on setting limit values for dangerous substances

Multiple Member States, 14 in total, sent a letter to the Commission to call for a stronger EU commitment to updating the limit values for dangerous substances. The letter calls on the Commission to accelerate the process of setting limit values for dangerous substances by, among other issues, increasing the capacity to prepare scientific opinions and the resources of all actors involved.

While Ceemet agrees that there is a need for further action at an EU level to protect workers from exposure to dangerous substances, we also believe that, in this context, industry needs an evolution, not a revolution. Limit values must be feasible for industry to implement, based on scientific evidence, bound by economic feasibility tests and based on an agreement in the Advisory Committee on Safety and Health. We must set limit values which are evidence based, proportionate and measurable. Furthermore, transitional measures should be implemented where the new limit value will adversely affect industry.