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Procedure : 2006/2240(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0068/2007

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PV 23/05/2007 - 4
CRE 23/05/2007 - 4

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PV 23/05/2007 - 5.11
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Texts adopted
WORD 82k
Wednesday, 23 May 2007 - Strasbourg Final edition
Decent work

European Parliament resolution of 23 May 2007 on promoting decent work for all (2006/2240(INI))

The European Parliament ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on promoting decent work for all - The EU contribution to the implementation of the decent work agenda in the world (COM(2006)0249) (Commission communication on decent work),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document - Annex to Commission communication on decent work (SEC(2006)0643),

–   having regard to the of the European Economic and Social Committee opinion of 17 January 2007 on the Commission communication on decent work(1) ,

–   having regard to the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work,

–   having regard to the European Convention for the protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms,

–   having regard to the ILO conventions and Core Labour Standards,

–   having regard to paragraph 47 of the UN General Assembly resolution on the 2005 World Summit Outcome, of 16 September 2005, which concerns decent work and fair globalisation,

–   having regard to the adoption of the ministerial declaration by the UN Economic and Social Council on 5 July 2006 stating that there is an urgent need to create an environment at national and international level conducive to generating full and productive employment and decent work for all as a key element of sustainable development,

–   having regard to the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation report entitled, "A fair globalisation: creating opportunities for all", of 24 February 2004,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on the Social Dimension of Globalisation - the EU's policy contribution on extending the benefits to all (COM(2004)0383),

–   having regard to the Commission Staff Working Document entitled, "Second annual Report on Migration and Integration" (SEC(2006)0892),

–   having regard to its resolution of 4 July 2002 on the Commission communication to the Council, the European Parliament and the Economic and Social Committee entitled "Promoting core Labour Standards and Improving Social governance in the context of globalisation"(2) ,

–   having regard to the joint statement by the Council and the representatives of the governments of the Member States meeting within the Council, the European Parliament and the Commission on European Union Development Policy: "The European Consensus"(3) ,

–   having regard to the Commission communication on Investing in people - Communication on the thematic programme for human and social development and the financial perspectives for 2007-2013 (COM(2006)0018) (Commission communication on investing in people),

–   having regard to its resolution of 23 October 2002 on the Commission communication "Adapting to change in work and society: a new Community strategy on health and safety at work 2002-2006"(4) ,

–   having regard to the report by the ILO Governing Body's Committee on Employment and Social Policy on An update of the implementation of the Global Employment Agenda and related aspects of policy integration, of March 2004,

–   having regard to the ILO working paper on Legal Aspects of trafficking for Forced Labour Purposes in Europe, of April 2006,

–   having regard to ILO Working paper No 58 on Decent work, standards and indicators, of August 2005,

–   having regard to the ILO study on Decent work deficits around the globe: measuring trends with index, of August 2006,

–   having regard to the discussion note on decent work in national frameworks prepared for the ILO seminar on global goals and national challenges, dated October 2004,

–   having regard to Article 31(1), of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union which provides that every worker has the right to working conditions which respect his or her health, safety and dignity,

–   having regard to Article 152(1) of the EC Treaty which provides that a high level of human health protection shall be ensured in the definition and implementation of all Community policies and activities,

–   having regard to Article 50 of the Partnership Agreement between the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States of the one part, and the European Community and its Member States, of the other part, signed at Cotonou on 23 June 2000(5) (the Cononou Agreement),

–   having regard to the Council Conclusions on decent work for all adopted in Brussels on 1 December 2006,

–   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 December 2006 establishing a financing instrument for development cooperation(6) ,

   having regard to Regulation (EC) No 1889/2006 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 20 December 2006 on establishing a financing instrument for the promotion of democracy and human rights worldwide (7) ,

–   having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on Employment and Social Affairs and the opinions of the Committee on Development, the Committee on Women's Rights and Gender Equality and the Committee on International Trade (A6-0068/2007),

A.   whereas the concept of decent work goes well beyond safeguarding core labour standards; whereas the concept includes productive and freely chosen employment, rights at work, social protection and social dialogue, and gender mainstreaming under all four pillars,

B.   whereas the means to achieving decent work should be adapted to each society's specificities, level of development and capacities; whereas efforts to promote decent work should include workers in the formal and the informal economy, including workers in the agriculture sector, the self-employed, and part-time, temporary and home workers,

C.   whereas the promotion of decent work for all at all levels should be a global objective, as called for by the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation, the UN resolution on the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the ministerial declaration adopted by the UN Economic and Social Committee on 5 July 2006; whereas that objective should also be part of the efforts to realise the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and the commitments of the 1995 Copenhagen World Summit for Social Development,

D.   whereas decent work today tends to be scorned and undermined as a result of the opening up of new cheap labour markets and the corresponding attempt to exploit "lucrative" labour dumping,

E.   whereas the ILO is the body competent to define and negotiate the international labour standards and to supervise their application in law and practice; whereas increased cooperation between the ILO and all relevant stakeholders and the full participation of the ILO in the work of the World Trade Organization (WTO) are essential, and whereas the European Union, representing its 27 Member States, has a significant weight and a major role to play in this field, as well as in the field of social governance,

F.   whereas the ILO's Decent Work Country Programmes as well as other efforts by international development agencies and the United Nations aiming to address the jobs challenge contribute in a broader context to national and regional strategies for development, combating unemployment and poverty reduction,

G.   whereas for the period 2000 to 2006, employment, social cohesion and decent work were not covered by the majority of programmes and studies on external cooperation,

H.   whereas decent work is becoming the centrepiece of continuous improvement in working conditions and the fight against unemployment, poverty and social exclusion,

I.   whereas decent work standards are often not met in part-time work, underemployment and, within the informal economy, undeclared and illegal activities, including forced and child labour,

J.   whereas situations in which the principle of decent work is not respected can also be observed where workers are forced rather than choose to work part-time, many of whom live on incomes below the minimum wage,

K.   whereas respect for cultural diversity, fair globalisation, the goals of full and productive employment and decent work for all, including people with disabilities, women, young and older workers, cultural and indigenous minorities, migrants, people with low-level qualifications and those living in backward and disadvantaged areas, are the main instruments for fighting poverty, unemployment and social exclusion,

L.   whereas all international actors must help to increase the opportunities for older people to obtain and retain decent work by improving their access to lifelong learning schemes and their retraining for new kinds of jobs on the one hand or by ensuring that they have sufficient pensions, medical care and other relevant social services and benefits on the other; considering that social protection is an integral part of decent work,

M.   whereas young people everywhere have the right to find decent work; and whereas these efforts should be developed through a life-cycle and inter-generational approach; whereas a long period of unemployment at the beginning of a young person's working life risks having a lasting impact on that people's employability, income and access to quality jobs,

N.   whereas many migrant workers in Europe may not enjoy decent working conditions,

O.   whereas in many parts of the world women are at risk of being subjected to unfair working conditions and therefore deserve special attention in this regard,

P.   whereas educational and training systems adapted to the demands of the knowledge society play a crucial role in preparing youth for their inclusion in the labour market by helping to increase their opportunities of finding work that is decent and of better quality,

Q.   whereas lifelong learning enables all people to acquire the necessary skills to adapt to the changing needs of the labour market, contribute to its productivity and to take part as active citizens in the knowledge society,

R.   whereas all the Member States have drawn up national action plans for employment in line with the Employment Guidelines launched at the Extraordinary European Council Meeting on Employment in Luxembourg on 20 and 21 November 1997,

S.   whereas the European Employment Strategy (EES) and the social protection and social inclusion strategies aim to give direction to and ensure the coordination of the employment and social protection and social inclusion policy priorities to which Member States should subscribe at EU level,

T.   whereas in its revised Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs and European strategy on sustainable development, the European Council on 22 and 23 March 2005 stressed the importance of developing working life in a socially sustainable way,

U.   whereas the European Union has set itself a new strategic goal with the Lisbon Strategy: to become the most competitive and dynamic knowledge-based economy in the world, capable of sustainable economic growth with more and better jobs, social cohesion and a high degree of environmental protection; whereas the anticipated results have not, to date, become apparent,

V.   whereas, as indicated in the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2005-2008) (COM(2005)0141), in order to strengthen the competitiveness of the European Union in a socially sustainable way, it is important to improve productivity by promoting decent work and the quality of working life, including health and safety at work, a better balance between flexibility and security in employment, lifelong learning, mutual trust and participation as well as a better conciliation between private, family and working life; whereas combating gender discrimination and all other forms of discrimination, as well as promoting the social integration of vulnerable groups, are integral parts of the efforts towards decent work,

1.  Considers that decent work is a centrepiece of the fight against poverty and social exclusion;

2.  Believes that the European Union can make a significant contribution towards the promotion of decent work for all through both its internal and external policies, applying its social values and principles, combating forms of social dumping of labour and promoting its role at the international level;

3.  Underlines that decent work is not only an issue relating to employment or social protection but also a matter of governance, and that the implementation of effective policies focused on decent work requires accountable institutions, political commitment to the sound management of the State and a vibrant and organised civil society;

4.  Calls on the Council and the Commission to take into account the considerations and recommendations of the World Commission on the Social Dimension of Globalisation, the UN resolution on the 2005 World Summit Outcome and the ministerial declaration adopted by the UN Economic and Social Committee on 5 July 2006, and to include the perspective of decent work in all the activities of the European Union and encourage the same in its Member States;

5.  Emphasises the need for multinational companies in particular to uphold the principle of the social dimension of globalisation, and adhere to international labour standards and decent work practices in all their operations throughout the world;

6.  Calls on the Commission to put into practice its proposed strategy and orientations for a better mobilisation of the internal and external policies of the European Union on the promotion of the Decent Work Agenda, especially in matters of development, external assistance, enlargement, neighbourhood policy, trade, migration and external bilateral and multilateral relations;

7.  Calls on the Council and the Commission not to abdicate their responsibilities in implementing the general system of trade preferences (GSP+), but to work actively with the ILO in ensuring that the terms of the agreements are fully complied with, and, where necessary, in using the powers at their disposal to cancel preferences with any countries failing to respect fundamental social, labour and human rights, including the right to freedom of association, and other core ILO conventions and Core Labour Standards;

8.  Calls on the Commission to show greater rigour in implementing GSP+ by making recommendations to the beneficiary governments and to activate the oversight arrangements provided for in Council Regulation (EC) No 980/2005 of 27 June 2005 applying a scheme of generalised tariff preferences(8) and, where necessary, apply the mechanisms for temporarily suspending preferences in respect of those countries which do not honour their commitments and which seriously and systematically breach fundamental social rights while ensuring that the cancellation of preferences does not encourage protectionism; calls also for monitoring and the application of those mechanisms to be extended to cover the countries benefiting under GSP+, especially as regards child and forced labour, the elimination of which are a central challenge for the ILO, as indicated in its report entitled "The end of child labour: Within reach";

9.  Calls on the Member States, following the Commission's commitment in its communication on decent work, to consider the social dimension of decent work in the Commission's initiatives when it concludes commercial agreements with third countries;

10.  Emphasises that the Decent Work Agenda encompasses a number of universal strategies, which are not tied to a specific developmental model but are directly related to a fairer and more balanced distribution of produced wealth, and is an instrument tailoring development to values and principles of action and governance which combine economic competitiveness with social justice;

11.  Within the context of the sustainable development strategy, calls on the Commission to develop a consistent approach regarding links between social, employment and environmental policies, based on freedom and responsibility;

12.  Stresses that the objective of decent work calls for a coherent and integrated package of economic and social policies seeking to promote productive, quality jobs; emphasises that the Decent Work Agenda advocates the adoption of policies that transcend traditional labour market policies, and that it must be supported by all the economic policies of the Member States;

13.  Calls on the Member States and businesses, in cooperation with the social partners and on the basis of Community legislation on the health and safety of workers, to adopt preventive strategies and implement measures designed to protect maternity and improve health and safety at work for pregnant workers and workers who have recently given birth or are breastfeeding;

14.  Stresses the need to improve the transparency of labour markets, so that all kinds of work (temporary, permanent, full-time, part-time, and that which is paid on an hourly basis) are official, decently paid, and fully respectful of workers" rights, Core Labour Standards, social dialogue, social protection (including health and safety at work) and gender equality;

15.  Recalls that the conditions of employment for young people, including trainees, must respect the fundamental rights of all workers and the principles relating to decent work;

16.  Welcomes the Commission communication on decent work and urges the Member States and the candidate countries to ratify and implement fully the ILO conventions that have been classified by the ILO as up-to-date, particularly those related to decent work; is convinced that the implementation of the ILO conventions related to decent work should be promoted in the neighbourhood and external policies; calls upon the Commission and the Member States to support the ILO in strengthening its supervisory system and mechanisms;

17.  Strongly supports the Commission's approach aimed at supporting initiatives on promoting trade union freedom and collective bargaining, on improving labour administration, labour inspectorates and bodies for managing social protection, and on developing integrated prevention strategies in the field of health and safety at work in the framework of enlargement and pre-accession programmes;

18.  Welcomes the Commission communication on investing in people in the context of the "European Consensus" (EU development policy) and the importance attached in that programme to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda in EU partner countries;

19.  Stresses that Article 12(2)(d)(ii) of Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 calls for the promotion of the Decent Work Agenda as a universal objective, to be achieved, inter alia, through global and other multilateral initiatives to implement internationally agreed ILO Core Labour Standards, the assessment of the trade impact on decent work and sustained and adequate mechanisms for the fair financing and effective functioning and wider coverage of social protection systems; emphasises that Article 5(2)(c) of Regulation (EC) No 1905/2006 refers to decent work as a focus area; calls on the Commission to use those provisions actively in its development policy; further calls on the Commission to report systematically on its efforts to promote decent work in its annual report on its development policy and implementation of external assistance;

20.  Calls on the Commission to encourage the respect of the ILO Core Labour Standards and the objective of decent work in the trade policy of the WTO Members as an effective set of rules, complemented by a mechanism of sanctions for partners which do not adjust to such standards, while giving full effect to the GSP+ procedure; encourages the European Union to consider the setting up of mechanisms which would be in charge of monitoring parallel evolution of trade and decent work at both European and international level;

21.  Calls on the Commission not only to support but also to participate, where possible, in the dialogue launched between the international financial institutions, the ILO, the UN and the WTO concerning the complementarity and consistency of their policies which are related to economic growth, investment, trade and decent work;

22.  Calls on the Commission to take into account, when granting trade preferences, for instance under the stability and growth pact, compliance by the beneficiary countries with international labour standards that safeguard decent work so that countries that do not meet these basic standards do not benefit from EU trade preferences;

23.  Stresses the need for greater cooperation between the WTO, UNCTAD, the ILO and other international organisations with regard to the complementarity of their policies; considers that coherence among the measures undertaken is essential in promoting decent work and guaranteeing it in practice; proposes that the ILO be granted observer status at the WTO; addresses the parliaments of other WTO members to ask them to support this request;

24.  Calls on the Commission to propose establishing a committee for trade and decent work within the WTO, along the lines of the committee for trade and environment;

25.  Points out that the ILO statutes allow it to call for trade sanctions against a country in the event of failure to comply with international social conventions, and calls on the WTO to undertake to comply with ILO decisions for the sake of consistency in the action of international institutions;

26.  Proposes that the ILO be authorised to submit expert reports (amicus briefs) to the WTO panels and Appellate Body in relevant cases where the violation of international conventions is at issue in a dispute and in which the decisions of the ILO have to be taken into account;

27.  Proposes that where a decision by the Dispute Settlement Body is regarded by a WTO Member State as calling into question ILO decisions on compliance with the labour conventions, an appeal route to the ILO should exist so as to guarantee the coherence of international community's action in promoting decent work;

28.  Calls on the European Union to make compliance with international work standards one element in negotiations for the accession of new member states to the WTO;

29.  Urges the Commission to make compliance with Core Labour Standards a precondition for its purchasing and contracting policy; calls on the Commission, to this end, to develop a policy and to provide trade related assistance which would make it possible for small producers in developing countries likewise to comply with these standards;

30.  Underlines the need for the further development of methodologies assessing the effects of trade and trade agreements on the promotion of decent work, including in global supply chains and export processing zones as well as the need to ensure the strengthening and effective timing of the Trade Sustainability Impact Assessments;

31.  Calls on the Commission to recognise, and incorporate into its bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations and sustainable impact assessments (SIAs), reasonable indicators, as defined by the ILO, for the number of labour inspectors based on the size of the workforce: 1 inspector per 10 000 workers in industrialised countries with a market economy, 1 per 20 000 in transition economies, and 1 per 40 000 in less developed countries;

32.  Calls on the Commission to ensure the implementation of Article 50 of the Cotonou Agreement, which includes a specific provision on trade and labour standards and which confirms the parties' commitment to Core Labour Standards;

33.  Calls on the Commission, in collaboration with the organs of the United Nations, national and regional organisations, the social partners, and other parts of civil society better to coordinate decent work external cooperation programmes with implementation of the ILO Decent Work Country Programmes or equivalent roadmaps and to increase joint efforts with a view to integrating decent work in poverty reduction strategies, poverty reduction strategy papers and development strategies as they can provide an added value to the fight for decent work for all; calls in this context for the close consultation of social partners and other parts of civil society;

34.  Calls on the European Union to fund a decent work development programme in cooperation with the ILO, particularly with a view to identifying the most effective strategies for promoting decent work;

35.  Stresses that it is of crucial importance, in the interest of progress towards the objective of decent work, for the Member States to meet the spending target of 0,7 % of their GNP in aid to developing countries, given that growth and sound social structures are an essential precondition for the evolution of decent work, particularly in developing countries;

36.  Encourages the Commission to follow an integrated multi-dimensional approach in its activities based on the four pillars of the Decent Work Agenda: productive and freely chosen employment, rights at work, including the Core Labour Standards, social protection and social dialogue, mainstreaming the gender dimension in all the pillars; encourages the Member States to consider the introduction of a minimum wage as a safety-net to prevent people from being exploited and prevent poverty in employment;

37.  Stresses the importance of supporting the integration of employment and decent work into development strategies; calls for the inclusion of a more thorough analysis of employment and other aspects of decent work in the Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs), Economic Partnership Agreements, Country Strategy Papers (CSPs) and Multiannual Indicative Programmes (MIPs); in this context, highlights the importance of consultations with all relevant stakeholders, including organised employers, trade unions and workers as well as the private sector and civil society in the broadest sense;

38.  Calls for employment ministries, employers' associations and workers' organisations to be strengthened and more systematically integrated into the participatory process underpinning the design and implementation of PRSPs, CSPs and MIPs; believes that, for this purpose, their cooperation with economic and finance ministers as well as with the respective international financial and economic institutions such as the Bretton Woods Institutions, the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the WTO must be improved; calls on all parties to ensure that CSPs are drafted in a truly participatory manner; urges the Commission to invest more in technical and institutional capacity building and to facilitate measures to root decent work in CSPs;

39.  Stresses in particular the need for country-led Decent Work Country Programmes, or a similar "road map", developed with the participation of social partners' organisations and other relevant stakeholders, aimed at achieving decent work for all through development cooperation – including policy dialogue on the employment impacts of economic policies and governance, budget support measures and capacity building, in particular institutional capacity building – which is well-coordinated and harmonised among the Commission, the Member States and other international development partners and relevant actors, including the ILO and other UN agencies as well as international financial institutions;

40.  Calls for a renewed effort to combat breaches of human rights and labour law, with the possibility of excluding multinationals operating in developing countries from public procurements funded or supported by the European Union and its Member States as well as from export credit guarantees granted by the EIB and other financial institutions in the event of breaches of these rights; calls on the Commission and the Member States to make respect for Core Labour Standards obligatory in the framework of public procurement financed by the European Development Fund and other Community or bilateral support;

41.  Calls on the Member States to coordinate skill development with greater effort in order to garner and share the benefits of new technologies and innovation; notes that decent work is achieved through growth, investment and enterprise development, together with social responsiveness;

42.  Calls on the EU institutions, within the context of the Lisbon Strategy and the Integrated Guidelines for Growth and Jobs (2005-2008), to develop and promote a European entrepreneurial culture targeted at individuals and especially young people, in order to generate high-growth enterprises and better to achieve one of the decent work objectives, namely that of creating more and better jobs;

43.  Calls on the Member States to make decent work a priority of their economic and social policy by placing special emphasis on the creation of quality jobs, on respect for fundamental labour rights for all categories of workers, on strengthening social protection and on the promotion of social dialogue;

44.  Calls the Commission and the Member States to encourage the adoption of codes of conduct as voluntary initiatives at the enterprise or sectoral level referring to and complementing national legislative and international standards, as well as the codes of conduct for multinational enterprises of the OECD and the ILO;

45.  Strongly recommends that the Member States and the European Union promote the application of good practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR) by all companies, wherever they perform their activities, with the aim of creating a safe, flexible and high-quality working environment; encourages the Multi-Stakeholder Forum and the European Alliance on CSR to develop initiatives that would promote the inclusion of decent work as an important element of CSR;

46.  Calls on the Member States and the Commission, as employers in developing countries, to take account of the principle of decent work, in accordance with Recommendation 135 of the ILO concerning Minimum Wage Fixing, with Special Reference to Developing Countries;

47.  Welcomes the contribution to decent work made by UN organisations, such as the initiative of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights for a supplementary report on human rights in transnational corporations;

48.  Emphasises the importance of promoting the ILO Tripartite Declaration on Multi-National Enterprises and Social Policy;

49.  Encourages businesses to adopt responsible, non-discriminatory recruitment and professional development policies in order to boost the employment of women and the disadvantaged on the labour market;

50.  Recommends that businesses take initiatives to promote greater participation and representation of women on bodies involved in social dialogue, a strategic goal of the concept of decent work;

51.  Calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the social partners and the ILO, to encourage female entrepreneurs to set up and develop businesses inside and outside the European Union as part of the policy of development cooperation;

52.  Calls on the Member States to ensure that enterprises operating inside and outside the European Union provide for better information and consultation with workers" representatives as part of a wider on-going social dialogue, informing and consulting workers on a range of issues relevant to their employment and working conditions; calls on the Commission, Member States and social partners to recognise that high standards of occupational health and safety constitute an essential human right;

53.  Stresses the importance of social dialogue in drawing up the national programmes for decent work for implementation by the Member States, and calls on them to conduct genuine consultation of the social partners;

54.  Stresses that the social partners are crucial to the successful implementation of the Decent Work Agenda, and should therefore be actively involved, at least by way of a hearing process, in the implementation of decent work initiatives;

55.  Welcomes the European social partners' negotiations about a framework agreement on harassment and violence at work as an example of promoting decent work in Europe; calls the Commission to encourage the social partners successfully to conclude these negotiations;

56.  Underlines that the European social agenda, the Lisbon Strategy (including the national reform programs) and increasing efforts to ratify and apply international labour conventions that have been classified as up-to-date by the ILO, constitute the EU decent work roadmap;

57.  Calls the Member States to implement effective, preventive and protective policies and programmes in order to increase the number, quality and the competencies and tools of the labour inspectorate in accordance with the Community legislation and the ILO conventions so as to enforce the safety and health at work, working conditions and other social legislation;

58.  Suggests that there be stronger cooperation regarding the development of exchanges of best practices at Community level among national labour inspection services so as to contribute to the promotion of decent work; calls on the Member States to provide the responsible authorities for labour inspection with more comprehensive resources in order to enable them to carry out their tasks with a view to ensuring that their national labour laws applied in practice and not evaded;

59.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure that new forms of work are also protected by existing law, and to consider new legal instruments which can be applied flexibly to new forms of work, so that an equal level of protection can be guaranteed for all workers;

60.  Recognises the importance of the work of the Youth Employment Network and the ILO Decent Work Forum as peer exchange, support and review mechanisms; calls the Commission to support the development of these networks in EU partner countries together with ILO as a way to implement the global Employment Agenda;

61.  Calls on the Member States to guarantee education for young people as an effective strategy to avoid social exclusion and poverty and to develop their employability by using existing mechanisms such as the Euroguidance network, which helps individuals better to understand work opportunities in Europe; also calls on them to facilitate a successful transition to the labour market and improve access to employment through schemes of professional orientation, while ensuring consistency with a life-cycle and inter-generational approach;

62.  Calls on the Member States to expand their investment in infrastructure needed for the use of information communication technologies and in the education and training of young people with shared investments from both the public and the private sectors;

63.  Calls on Member States, when implementing Community policies, to generalise and broaden access to lifelong learning opportunities, even in geographically remote and rural areas and to implement specific measures adapted to local realities so as to guarantee the employability of all within a changing work environment;

64.  Calls on the Member States to introduce relevant reforms in their education systems and to guarantee access to high-quality education for all;

65.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to integrate the gender and development dimensions into all policies and programmes promoting decent work and asks Member States to guarantee equal opportunities for men and women for decent work, not only from the point of view of access to employment or of promotion but also with regard to the level of pay;

66.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to take all the necessary measures to ensure the conciliation between private, family and working life with a view to increasing women's participation in the labour market and to examine and eliminate the causes that could undermine the effectiveness of such measures;

67.  Recommends that ways be explored to increase the desirability of jobs now considered to be too heavy or menial (domestic help, family assistance, caring for the elderly, personal services, etc.);

68.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to improve measures to allow all workers to achieve a better balance between work and family life, bearing in mind that long hours, stress and insecurity of employment threaten the fabric of family life, which is an important foundation of our society;

69.  Calls on the Commission and the Member States to cooperate with NGOs, trade unions, women's organisations and networks for the economic and social empowerment of women in developing countries and the promotion of decent work at all levels;

70.  Welcomes the initiative announced in the Commission communication on decent work to support efforts to improve the involvement of the social partners and other society stakeholders in global governance on the basis of the OECD's consultative model;

71.  Calls on Member States to adopt national policies to promote equality of opportunity and treatment for workers, whatever their age or gender; calls on Member States to take measures to prevent discrimination against women and older workers;

72.  Underlines that promoting decent work aims to achieve an overall improvement of living and working conditions for all, and includes to this end support for the integration of the informal sector into the mainstream economy;

73.  Calls on the Commission and Member States to support and promote legislative and policy initiatives and practices on disability non-discrimination and equal opportunities in vocational training and in the workplace, including support for adapting workplaces to accommodate disabilities in respect of developing countries;

74.  Calls on the Commission to encourage Member States to use the Open Method of Coordination in the field of social protection in order to add value to the different social systems; to this end, and in accordance with the renewed Lisbon Strategy, with the aim of improving the flexibility and mobility of European workers and social cohesion in the European Union, considers that there is a need to seek greater harmonisation of pension schemes, mainly with regard to the cover of services when people have worked in different Member States, particularly as this is not only a serious obstacle to the free movement of workers but also an impediment to a single market in financial services;

75.  Notes that the marginalisation of certain minorities based on religion or race is an obstacle to achieving decent work for all in the European Union, and therefore calls on all those Member States that have not yet done so to complete the transposition of Council Directive 2000/43/EC implementing the principle of equal treatment between persons irrespective of racial or ethnic origin(9) ;

76.  Within the framework of a consistent approach to international labour migration, welcomes the will of Member States to ratify the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families, as well as ILO Convention Nos 97 and 143;

77.  Calls on the Member States to agree on a common standard definition of forced labour and abuse of vulnerability in order to reduce ambiguity and bias in judicial decisions;

78.  Notes that some EU citizens exercising their right to freedom of movement are vulnerable to poor working conditions and calls on the Commission and the Member States to adopt polices to monitor the experiences of intra-EU migrants in the labour market and to adopt measures to eliminate exploitative work practices;

79.  Calls on the Commission and the Community's delegations in partner countries actively to promote the inclusion of the Decent Work Agenda , Decent Work Country Programmes and Decent Work Regional Programmes into the CSPs, the Regional Strategy Papers, the National Action Plans and other programming instruments of the EU development cooperation policies;

80.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to consider extending the provision of Regulation (EC) No 2110/2005 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 14 December 2005 on access to Community external assistance(10) , as regards compliance with core labour standards, to contracts financed through the European Development Fund;

81.  Calls on the Commission to allocate adequate resources to implementation of its proposals for the promotion of decent work contained in its communication on investing in people;

82.  Welcomes the importance that the Commission communication on investing in people attaches to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda in the EU's partner countries; welcomes the programme's recognition of the clear link between decent work and social protection; calls on the Commission to earmark enough funding for the promotion of decent work within the investing in people thematic programme;

83.  Welcomes the new integrated strategy for children's rights announced in the Commission communication Towards an EU Strategy on the Rights of the Child (COM(2006)0367) and recalls that action against child labour, as defined in the ILO Convention Nos 138 and 182 against forced labour, must be mainstreamed into national and international measures;

84.  Calls on Member States to adopt policies in line with the common basic principles on the integration of third-country nationals in the EU;

85.  Welcomes the Commission's intention to produce a follow-up report to its communication on decent work by 2008, which should include an analysis and assessment of the ratification and application by the Member States of the ILO conventions on employment, health and safety, maternity protection and migrant workers" rights; calls for that report to contain an action programme for decent work covering both cooperation in the European Union and efforts at international level;

86.  Welcomes the Commission's effort to improve analysis and to develop appropriate indicators related to the implementation of the Decent Work Agenda;

87.  Welcomes the suggestion of the ministerial declaration adopted by the UN Economic and Social Council on 5 July 2006 that the Decent Work Agenda be developed under full steam, so as to achieve tangible results by 2015;

88.  Calls on the Commission to submit to Parliament specific figures showing how decent work and issues related thereto are financed in order better to assess, in terms of funding, the political commitment;

89.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission and the governments and parliaments of the Member States.

(1) OJ C 93, 27.4.2007, p. 38.
(2) OJ C 271 E, 12.11.2003, p. 598.
(3) OJ C 46, 24.2.2006, p. 1.
(4) OJ C 300 E, 11.12.2003, p. 290.
(5) OJ L 317, 15.12.2000, p. 3.
(6) OJ L 378, 27.12.2006, p. 41.
(7) OJ L 386, 29.12.2006, p. 1.
(8) OJ L 169, 30.6.2005, p. 1.
(9) OJ L 180, 19.7.2000, p. 22.
(10) OJ L 344, 27.12.2005, p. 1.

Last updated: 28 January 2008Legal notice