European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

EFFAT Media Monitoring (July 2013, no. 3)

19/07/2013

All sectors
 
The European Union adopts an austerity budget for 2014
(18 July 2013)
The EU Member States agreed on Wednesday on a draft budget for 2014 worth € 134.8 billion in payments, it was learned from diplomatic sources. The agreement must still be approved by the European Parliament, the late June proposal having been slightly reduced by the European Commission. The European Commission’s proposal includes € 3.6 billion to fund the youth employment initiative and measures to support small and medium enterprises, two key measures agreed by EU leaders at their summit. Read more (FR).
 
ILO calls for additional job creation policies in G20 countries
(17 July 2013)
With structural unemployment still above pre-crisis levels in G20 countries, the ILO has called for broader and more inclusive job creation policies to achieve the G20’s shared goal of strong, sustainable and balanced growth. Some successful policies include: increasing the level of investment in infrastructure; enhancing the level and coverage of minimum wages; improving wage determination mechanisms; expanding the coverage of social protection systems; adopting public employment programmes; enhancing skills development programmes; improving availability of credit; and providing targeted hiring subsidies. Read more (EN/ES/FR).
 
UK: 36% of young unemployed fear they will never get a job
(16 July 2013)
One third of young people currently not in employment, education or training fear they will never get a job, even though the vast majority of them want to work or train, according to a new report released today. Read more (EN).
 
Italy: 385,000 unemployed foreigners
(15 July 2013)
In 2012 there were 385,000 unemployed foreign citizens in Italy. Compared to 2011, the number increased by 19.2% for the EU component and 25.4% for those from outside the EU. In absolute terms the phenomenon, "in the long phase of the crisis, has taken on alarming characteristics. In fact, during the last three-years from 2010 to 2012, the number of people in search of work has increased by over 35 thousand units for EU citizens, and by more than 72 thousand people for the foreign labour force," explains the report edited by the Directorate General for Immigration and Integration Policy of the Ministry of Labour. The net monthly salary for foreigners is, on average, lower and in 2012, amounted to 968 euros per month compared to 1,304 euros for Italian workers (a difference of 336 euros). In 2012, almost half of Italy's domestic workers were foreign: 467,565 out of a total of 982,975 (47.6%). Read more (IT).
 
Slavery is a $32bn industry so why aren't we following the money trail?
(15 July 2013)
Legislation is in place to try to curtail modern-day slavery, a multibillion-dollar industry that operates almost entirely by cash and is estimated by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) to earn profits of $32bn each year (pdf). However, while a number of conventions and laws have been passed internationally in the past 10 years to try to stop the business – such as the Council of Europe convention, 2005 (pdf) and the EU directive on trafficking, 2011 – there is no consistent will to implement these measures fully or support them with proper budgets. Read more (EN).
 
 
Agriculture
 
Monsanto to drop requests for GM approvals in EU
(18 July 2013)
Monsanto said on Wednesday (17 July) it would withdraw all pending approval requests to grow new types of genetically modified crops in the European Union, due to the lack of commercial prospects for cultivation there. Monsanto's President and Managing Director for Europe, Jose Manuel Madero, said the decision would allow the company to focus on growing its conventional seeds business in Europe, as well as securing EU approvals to import its genetically modified crop varieties widely grown in the United States and South America. Read more (EN/FR).
 
EU bans bee-killing pesticide
(17 July 2013)
The EU expanded its ban on bee-killing pesticides after it restricted the use of Fipronil on Tuesday, reports AFP. Fipronil can no longer be used on maize and sunflower as of 31 December. Germany's BASF, which produce the insecticide, opposed the decision. The EU banned three other insecticides in May. Read more (EN/FR).
 
Italy signs decree that prohibits the cultivation of MON810 genetically modified maize
(12 July 2013)
Italian ministers of Agriculture, Public Health and Environment have signed a joint decree banning the cultivation of the genetically modified maize MON810. This is the result of a broad rejection to GM crops among public opinion and institutions all around the country. Italy is the eighth European country to approve a MON810 ban. Read more (IT).
 
European capacity to grow food is plateauing, scientist warns
(8 July 2013)
Britain and other countries may not be able to increase the amount of food they grow because many staple crops are close to their physiological growing limits, one of the world's leading food analysts has warned. "In France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, the three leading wheat producers in western Europe, there has been little rise in yields for over 10 years. Other countries will soon be hitting their limits for grain yields. Agriculturally advanced countries are hitting natural limits that were not widely anticipated," said Lester Brown, president of the Earth Institute in Washington and a former US government plant scientist. Read more (EN).
 
 
Food
 
Turkey: Coca-Cola and Coca-Cola Icecek fail critical test over key supplier's ongoing human rights abuses
(17 July 2013)
Workers of Crown Bevcan, the major can supplier to Coca-Cola Icecek (CCI), Coca-Cola's Turkish and international bottler continues to deny workers their right to freely join a union of their choice. Despite clear majority representation formally recognised by the local labour court, the union continues to face obstruction from Crown Bevcan. Neither CCI nor The Coca-Cola Company seem willing or able to meaningfully use the clear leverage they have on this key supplier to change this classic human rights "justice delayed, justice denied" situation. Read more (EN).
 
British lawmakers call for criminal probe of horsemeat scandal
(16 July 2013)
The contamination of meat products with horse DNA was most likely due to fraud and prosecutions should be pursued, according to a second British parliamentary report into the scandal. Read more (EN/FR).
 
Activists argue EU policy is encouraging a bloody sugar rush in Cambodia
(12 July 2013)
Cambodia falls under the Everything But Arms (EBA) tier of the EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), which means that it – like other least-developed countries – can export sugar and a host of other products to the EU duty free. It might seem like a pretty sweet deal in theory, but it has not been so great in practice for many Cambodians. In fact, it's been a disaster. The underlying issue is a fight over land. Cambodia is in the midst of a massive land-grabbing crisis that has seen nearly 2.2m hectares taken from mostly poor farmers and given to private firms as long-term economic land concessions. Read more (EN).
 
 
Tourism
 
Fairer rules on public procurement
(17 July 2013)
According to the deal, which needs to be confirmed by a formal vote in the European Parliament, the revised framework on public procurement will introduce a mandatory social clause guaranteeing the respect for labour law and collective agreements at the place of work. Quality will also become central to the award criteria, as opposed to the resorting to the lowest price as the only criterion when granting a contract. Unfortunately, the EU institutions were not able to agree on the inclusion of a mandatory joint and several liability mechanism to guarantee respect for the law throughout the chains of subcontractors. Nonetheless, the new rules should help improve transparency in subcontracting. Read more (EN/FR).
 

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.