Dear Mr. President, dear Member
ESCB Social Dialogue started in 1999 on the basis of a voluntary Agreement signed by the ECB and the three European trade union federations, namely SCECBU, UNI-Europa Finance and EPSU.
The trade-unions and staff representatives of the National Central Banks and the ECB, members of the three European Federations want to emphasize that the Social Dialogue was intended as a “consultative tool” aimed at providing information and fostering exchanges of views on issues that may have a major impact on employment conditions at National Central Banks and ECB.
Actual practice, however, is that the ECB provides much technical information while information on the implications on staff are insufficient.
Moreover, information tend not to be provided in a timely manner so that an effective consultation does not take place, one where the position of the unions in the social dialogue are taken into account by the decision makers.
This is complemented by a continuous trend of specialisation of different activities in separate groups of constituent central banks as well as by establishing free market processes for intra-ESCB activities.
The result has been a negative impact on working conditions and industrial relations, including collective bargaining, at national level.
European-level decisions increasingly interfere with national activities without allowing for an equivalent input of unions into the process.
On the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the social dialogue, EPSU, SCECBU and UNI Europa Finance, reiterate the need to develop and improve the social dialogue so as to fulfil the objectives of the agreement of the four partners, in particular with a view to consultation on issues affecting staff through ESCB action.
For the following aspects, as outlined continuously by the three trade union organisations in the closing remarks, solutions need to be found urgently:
- Real transparency concerning the processes leading to the implementation of Eurosystem and ESCB projects;
- A substantive involvement of the trade unions with regard to the activities of the Eurosystem and ESCB’s Task Forces;
- “Formal consultation procedure” with the trade unions on prospective decisions of the ESCB’s governing bodies that have a major impact on employment and working conditions at the NCBs and ECB in relation to both the Eurosystem and the ESCB as whole;
On our side, we have started developing how an approach can work that takes account of these three points.
In order to respond to the expectations of Eurosystem/ESCBs’ employees, we see an urgent need to reconvene the Working Group on Social Dialogue Improvement among the European Federations and the ECB, in any case by the first half of September 2009.
The XX Meeting of ESCB Social Dialogue, scheduled at the middle-October 2009 — especially because of this historical date — is expected by the NCBs and ECB staff and trade-unions to mark the beginning of a “new deal” in industrial relations at Eurosystem/ESCB level.
With best regards.
On behalf of the trade-unions, members of SCECBU, UNI-Europa Finance and EPSU