Best practices for anticipating company restructuring and minimising their impact on workers and social conditions have been outlined today by the European Commission in the form of an EU Quality Framework for anticipation of Change and Restructuring (QFR). The Quality Framework offers guidance to companies, workers, trade unions, employers’ organisations and public administrations in order to facilitate the process of restructuring for businesses and workers via better anticipation and investment in human capital, while minimising the social impact. The Commission urges Member States to support and promote the implementation of the Quality Framework, and to consider applying it to public sector employees. It also calls on all stakeholders to cooperate on the basis of these guidelines.
„In the context of the current economic crisis, it is more necessary than ever to ensure that company restructuring is managed in a responsible way to minimise the social cost”, said László Andor, Commissioner for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion. „I urge companies, trade unions, workers and public administrations to work together on the basis of this Quality Framework in order to better foresee future labour and skills needs, and to help workers back into work when redundancies are unavoidable. I call on Member States to apply these principles that will help us to meet the targets in the Europe 2020 strategy”.
The guidelines in the Quality Framework are based on real experiences of companies and are outlined in individual fiches addressed to the various stakeholders involved: employers, employees, trade unions, social partners and national and regional authorities. The measures cover both actions to anticipate restructuring (to be developed on permanent basis) and management of specific restructuring processes.
Specific measures include:
- Strategic long-term monitoring of market developments
- Continuous mapping of jobs and skills needs
- Measures for individual employees such as training, career counselling and assistance to facilitate professional transitions
- Involvement of external actors at an early stage, such as public authorities, university, training centres and supply chain
- Making full use of EU Structural Funds like the European Social Fund and the European Globalisation adjustment Fund in the concerned regions, in order to promote job creation and inclusive transitions.
Although mainly addressing the employment and social dimensions of the anticipation of structural change, the Quality Framework also aims to contribute to companies’ long-term competitiveness. It also considers the broader industrial and social impact of restructuring on cities and regions affected, and stresses the role of industrial and regional policies in anticipating the adjustment to structural change.
The Commission will monitor the application of the Quality Framework and report by 2016 on whether further action is necessary in this area, including a possible legislative proposal. The European Parliament will be informed of the results of this review.
The Quality Framework for Restructuring is the next step after the Green Paper ‚Restructuring and anticipation of change: what lessons from recent experience’, published in January 2012. It also follows the request made by the European Parliament on 15 January 2013 in its Resolution on information and consultation of workers, anticipation and management of restructuring.
The European Monitoring Centre on Change(EMCC) has registered more than 16,000 restructuring operations since 2002, with a net job loss of over 2 million. Restructuring affects every country in Europe and is a major source of concern in the context of the recession, making human capital investment and adequate management of restructuring activities all the more necessary.
During the third quarter of 2013, the European Restructuring Monitor(ERM) recorded 250 cases of restructuring operations, involving 57,081 job losses against 27,792 job gains. This contrast with the situation in the same quarter of 2007, where there was an overall result of 23.537 new jobs, and reflects a trend in recent years.
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KE – 13.12.2013