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

„Social pillar- more than just a proclamation?“


The Social Pillar – signed on Friday - contains 20 good principles and rights including ‘Secure and adaptable employment’, ‘the right to fair wages and adequate minimum wages and the right to a high level of protection of health and safety at work'. EFFAT joins the  European trade union movement urging for these important principles to become milestones for all new measures and recommendations benefitting European working people. A new European social model is key to finally get over the harms posed by years of austerity and  financial free will.

Harald Wiedenhofer, EFFAT Secretary General said: ‘We welcome any social progress. But this proclamation doesn’t mean ending the Austerity policy and establishing the social protection rules we need for the common EU labour market. Therefore this proclamation it is not the radical turnaround to a real social Europe which we exactly need in order to regain the confidence of Europe’s people for our common European project. For the European Union there is only a future if it becomes a social Union.“

EFFAT with the ETUC expects the signing to be followed by a serious drive towards implementation, including an Action Plan by the European Commission and Member States, setting out for new legislative initiatives, policies, measures and other actions to implement the rights contained in the Social Pillar.

A package of new laws with significant new rights is expected by the ETUC, including:

  • An ambitious deal for the revision of the Posting of Workers Directive, ensuring that the principle of equal pay for equal work is fully respected everywhere in Europe;
  • A new directive on parental, paternity and carers leave, to improve gender equality in the labour market and conciliation between work and life;
  • A revision of the Written Statement Directive and a directive on universal access to social protection, which lead to more and better rights and fairer working conditions for all European workers, regardless of their employment status, including precarious, platform and self-employed workers;
  • A European Labour Authority that tackles cross-border abuses and fraud, and helps public authorities and social partners to deliver sound social dialogue and collective bargaining, to solve disputes at transnational level, and to manage a just transition towards low carbon economy and for fairer digitalisation and globalisation;
  •  Economic policy recommendations, in the framework of a renewed European Economic AND Social Semester, that reflect the principles of the Social Pillar and not just fiscal and budgetary rules.


For the Statement of European Social Partners at the Social Summit in Gothenburg

For a full list of the actions proposed by the ETUC to implement the Social Pillar see

For the ETUC’s position on the revision of the Written Statement Directive see

For more on ETUC’s demands to protect online platform workers see

For more on ETUC’s position on the revision of the Posted Workers Directive see

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.