Commission blocks consultation rights
by Bernard Harbor

The European Commission has refused to back an EU-wide management-union agreement on information and consultation rights for civil servants. The agreement, which would plug a gap in EU legislation that excludes central government workers from EU consultation rights, was hammered out in December 2015.

Now the Commission has told unions and management reps it won’t bring the agreement to the European Council for implementation as an EU directive. As a result, almost ten million civil servants will continue to be denied information and consultation rights set down in European law.

The European Federation of Public Service Unions (EPSU), which represents Fórsa and similar organisations across the continent, said the Commission’s refusal to act after employers and unions had reached agreement was unprecedented.

Fórsa deputy general secretary Kevin Callinan, who sits on EPSU’s executive committee, said the decision was an affront to workers’ rights. “Why should civil servants be denied the same EU legal protections that other workers have in the area of information and consultation rights? This is an attack on civil servants and it’s a bad day for transparent decision-making in the European Union,” he said.

Britta Lejon, who led the union negotiating team that reached the agreement, said the Commission had initially welcomed the deal. “This decision is extremely disappointing. Commissioner Thyssen informed us that an impact assessment of the agreement would be carried out. Since then it has moved from no transparency on the decision-making process to a rejection,” she said.

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