Key components of sustainable quality work during and after recovery

EESC opinion: Key components of sustainable quality work during and after recovery

Key points


  • Quality of work is one of the fundamental components of quality of life. The principle of quality of work for quality of life must be followed, as this is a prerequisite for sustainable social development. The EESC therefore firmly believes that it should be given special attention in EU policies, as it must prevent the risks of inequality, poverty, social exclusion and unfair competition.
  • firmly believes that the problems and challenges that exist in the field of quality work should be addressed in the light of the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights and the 2030 Agenda Sustainable Development Goals. The ILO international standards of decent work should also be considered, along with the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It therefore calls on the Member States and the social partners, in the context of social dialogue and collective bargaining, to identify and find solutions to the changes which have been accelerated by the pandemic in the labour market , at appropriate levels and according to national circumstances.
  • believes that the European Union and Member States should take a more ambitious approach to supporting coordinating and implementing efforts towards active labour market policies while protecting workers' fundamental rights and ensuring a sustainable and competitive business environment for companies in the global economy. The European Pillar of Social Rights should guide the implementation of the principles of social Europe, social justice and sustainable recovery.
  • Building on the experience of the pandemic in the field of work, the European Commission and the Member States, actively involving the social partners and other stakeholders, could monitor the functioning of or, where appropriate, review and, if necessary, amend existing regulations and develop appropriate policies to ensure decent and sustainable quality work. This could include protecting workers and proper work organisation leading to higher productivity and innovation, while promoting the positive elements of digitalisation, including the need of workers to digital training to promote their employability[1]. There should be particular focus on legislation and policies on artificial intelligence and ensuring that all stakeholders have the opportunity to participate in the adoption of new solutions, through consultation and negotiation with workers and employers.
  • calls on the European Commission, notably within the reinforced European Semester and other existing mechanisms, to establish new mechanisms and/or[2] continue identifying medium- and long-term labour market needs. It is also important to strengthen public employment services and their cooperation with the private sector in order to help integrate the most vulnerable groups into the labour market more effectively.
  • reiterates that active labour market policies (ALMP) need to be effective and targeted in order to reach good employment outcomes and highlights the need for Member States and social partners to engage in developing active labour market policies that promote quality work. The EESC highlights also its support for a gradual approach to common minimum standards in the field of unemployment insurance to ensure quality work in Member States [3].
  • calls the Commission and the Member States to reinforce the capacity of the social partners and civil society. It is necessary to create an environment of trust in social dialogue, recognise its importance and involve social partners and other stakeholders in a timely manner in formulating measures and in the decision-making process itself, where appropriate and in line with development needs. A stronger framework for information and consultation with workers is needed to deal properly with the green and digital transition while ensuring the quality of work[4].
  • recognises that the Recovery and Resilience Facility could make a positive contribution to strengthening and ensuring the quality of work and of the role of the social partners in implementing it. It therefore proposes that the Commission hold annual meetings with the social partners and civil society organisations in order to obtain opinions on implementing the facility. Due to the diversity of situations in the Member States, it would make sense to carry out consultations separately and jointly formulate guidelines and recommendations for continuing to implement the facility successfully.
  • notes that the Recovery and Resilience Facility does not directly address the components of quality work, and therefore calls on the Commission to supplement this part of the facility. Quality of work is key to achieving the targets set by the Recovery and Resilience Facility. Vulnerable groups, such as precarious and young workers, who have been hit hardest by the epidemic, should not be overlooked.

[1]            OJ C 374, 16.9.2021, p. 16–21

[2]           Depending on the situation in Member States.