EFJ meets with Thomas Händel, EP Chair on Employment and Social Affairs Committee

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”Two weeks ago I would have been much more pessimistic when it comes to ‘Social Europe’, but it seems that the European Commission led by President Jean-Claude Juncker  is working on a package, which has a strong social dimension, something the EU has lacked dramatically in recent years,” said Thomas Händel (GUE/NGL, Germany), Chair of the European Parliament Committee on Employment and Social Affairs.

Philippe Leruth, Chair of the EFJ Labour Rights Expert Group and EFJ Director Renate Schroeder had a open discussion with the German MEP Händel covering themes such as the increasingly precarious working conditions in the  media and journalism industry, challenges of the ”digital revolution”, Posted Workers Directive, TTIP, and the importance of EU social and labour rights. MEP Händel signed up to the EFJ Manifesto  expressing his full support on all policy items the EFJ has outlined including the need for social dialogue and equal treatment for all journalists regardless of their employment status.

In particular, Händel welcomed the policy priority of Juncker’s team on equal pay for equal work. He also welcomes a possible Commission initiative to define the concept of workers at EU level. Earlier this year, the EFJ met with the Commissioner in charge of employment and social affairs, Ms Marianne Thyssen who mentioned an initiative to tackle undeclared work.

“We hope the initiative coming from the Commission will address some of our concerns regarding precarious work and workers’ rights in the media sector. However, more needs to be done by both the Commission and Parliament to remedy the damage done on workers’ rights and democracy as a result of deregulation,” said the EFJ delegation. “This would be a positive step that will set out concrete actions to address the precarious working conditions of workers in the sector. We welcome the support of Händel’s office in the future to address the concerns of journalists throughout Europe.”

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