Workers’ rights being violated across Europe, says report

Countries across Europe are “struggling to comply” with their international legal obligations concerning rights for workers, according to a new report.
Photo Credit: Press Association

By Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a senior reporter at the Parliament Magazine

29 Mar 2019

The annual report by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) says that in nearly 96 percent of cases Member States violated workers’ rights to a reasonable period of notice for termination of employment.

The ECSR, part of the 47-nation Council of Europe, published 580 conclusions assessing compliance with the European Social Charter on a wide range of issues.

The charter is a legally-binding Council of Europe treaty, launched in 1961, which safeguards economic and social rights in areas such as housing, health, education, employment and social protection.


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The areas covered by the ECSR survey range from the right to reasonable working hours and fair pay to the protection against harassment. The survey covered 35 countries and territories in the period between 2013 and 2016.

In total, the committee said there were 276 cases of conformity with workers’ rights (in 47.6 percent of cases) and 206 instances of violations (35.5 percent).

It was unable to assess the situation in 98 cases (16.9 percent) due to “lack of information.”

The category with the highest proportion of violations concerned the right of all workers to a reasonable period of notice for termination of employment (95.8 percent) and the right of workers and employers to collective action, including the right to strike (73.3 percent).

"The category with the highest proportion of violations concerned the right of all workers to a reasonable period of notice for termination of employment and the right of workers and employers to collective action, including the right to strike"

The next ranked category concerned rules limiting the scope for deductions from wages (64.3 percent).

The right to information and consultation was respected in 85.7 percent of cases, followed by the right to promote joint consultation between workers and employers (84.4 percent).

ECSR President Giuseppe Palmisano presented the findings at a news briefing in Brussels along with Vice-President François Vandamme and General Rapporteur Eliane Chemla.

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