IndustriAll Europe welcomes the recent resolution on Just Transition adopted by the European Parliament and the opinion of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) and commends their emphasis on the need for a comprehensive Just Transition framework at EU level. Both texts make clear that Just Transition policies must be proactive, providing the necessary rights and structures to anticipate and manage change, rather than reacting to negative impacts.

Unions insist that a future Just Transition Directive should not only aim to facilitate job-to-job transitions for workers in existing sectors, but also ensure the creation of quality jobs in emerging sectors such as renewable energy and electric vehicles. This can only happen if the rights of workers in the new sectors are upheld, including the right to join trade unions, to bargain collectively, the right to strike, and to receive meaningful information and consultation at the company level.

The case of electric car manufacturer Tesla in Sweden, where the company simply refuses to negotiate a collective agreement, illustrates the importance of upholding workers' rights in the transition. Such behaviour also highlights the urgent need for social conditionalities when companies receive public support and funding. Support must be conditional on respect for workers right, including the right to collective bargaining and worker participation. We therefore strongly support the European Parliament’s call for social and environmental conditions to be attached to company support schemes.

It is also clear that when it comes to a future directive on Just Transition, workers need hard legislation to be implemented at national level, not guidance in the form of EU recommendations. The review of the 2022 Council Recommendation on ensuring a fair transition to climate neutrality shows that soft law is not enough. According to the review, only one country has put in place a dedicated strategy and institutional framework for a fair transition and points to a "heterogeneous situation across the EU" in terms of progress in implementation.

Particularly at a time when workers and citizens across our continent are facing multiple crises, the EU institutions must ensure strong, binding and comprehensive measures and democratic rights for citizens and workers. This will build trust and allow us to seize the many opportunities offered by the transition to net zero.

Finally, we welcome the calls by the European Parliament and the EESC for the establishment of a Just Transition Observatory at EU level. The new EU Commission must come forward with a proposal for an observatory that will monitor the transition beyond qualitative data and promote the democratic involvement of all stakeholders, including trade unions, in the planning, implementation and monitoring of Just Transition plans at all levels.

Judith Kirton-Darling, Acting Joint General Secretary of industriAll Europe, said:

"New green jobs must be quality jobs based on social dialogue and collective bargaining. Faced with the massive challenges of climate change and demographic change, Tesla and other companies depend on skilled workers and must therefore respect fundamental workers' rights.

“We need an EU legal framework that strengthens these rights to ensure a Just Transition for all European workers in all sectors. Existing loopholes in European legislation must be closed and companies must be held accountable to their workers and the environment. Last week’s agreement on a new EU Due Diligence Directive is a positive step in this direction. What is still missing is a unified legal framework for a Just Transition.”

Tackling climate change is urgent, but workers need more support to cope with profound changes and adapt to new jobs. This is why industiAll Europe is building on the recommendations of its Just Transition Manifesto and calls for all policy making to be guided by a Good Jobs Compass as part of its campaign for Good Industrial Jobs in the run-up to the 2024 EU elections. Implementing the recommendations of the European Parliament and the EESC will be crucial to achieve this.