The EESC issues between 160 and 190 opinions and information reports a year.
It also organises several annual initiatives and events with a focus on civil society and citizens’ participation such as the Civil Society Prize, the Civil Society Days, the Your Europe, Your Say youth plenary and the ECI Day.
The EESC brings together representatives from all areas of organised civil society, who give their independent advice on EU policies and legislation. The EESC's326 Members are organised into three groups: Employers, Workers and Various Interests.
The EESC has six sections, specialising in concrete topics of relevance to the citizens of the European Union, ranging from social to economic affairs, energy, environment, external relations or the internal market.
Twenty-one months into deep recession a new and untried Coalition government chose deficit reduction and welfare-to-work as its main priorities, confronting the UK’s numerically weakened trade union movement in its public sector heartlands over pensions, pay and jobs.
The employers, more fragmented but by no means less powerful and influential than the unions, applauded the government’s deregulatory, flexible-labour-market stance and were relieved when peak unemployment fell short of their worst fears. However, despite impressive and continuing private sector employment growth (much of it into self-employed, temporary, part-time and zero-hours jobs) economic recovery remained painfully uncertain.
Productivity stagnated and there was an unprecedented fall in average real earnings although the feared "double dip" recession was avoided. Collective bargaining (covering 15-20% of the private sector) coupled with ongoing public sector pay curbs resulted in pay increases below their pre-recession trend, but was helped eventually by a sharp fall in consumer price inflation.
Pressure for higher wages found its voice in the spread of the Living Wage as well as through bargaining and industrial action, which continued at a reduced level. A new right-of-centre government elected in 2015 unveiled plans to further restrict the trade unions, while promising higher statutory minimum wages.
The crisis and the evolution of labour relations in the United Kingdom