State of the Union: Five key takeaways from Ursula Von der Leyen
17 September 2020
Key points from von der Leyen's state of the union speech [caption id="attachment_14822" align="alignnone" width="640"]...
On 23-24 October Michael Galea attended
the European Social Dialogue Working Session for SMEs in Brussels. GRTU attended as part of a project
called PEGASE which aims to give exposure to members of Social Dialogue so
being able to attend the Social Dialogue Committee was an experience. The
agenda was decided by the European Social partners in agreement with the
themes discussed where:
The second day started with the
"Debriefing of the Social Dialogue Committee Meeting" where each
participant expressed his views and experiences learnt in this project. Michael
Galea highlighted that Social Dialogue is an objective that businesses
especially SMEs have to seriously look at. Furthermore issues raised at this
level are important issues effecting the daily life of businesses such as
growth, employment, competitiveness, labour market functioning, flexicurity,
aging of work force, life long learning and development, health and safety,
working conditions, working time, gender equality and other issues.
Participating at this level means that the scope and activities can be agreed
according to SME priorities. This most especially in today's business
environment where we have SMEs struggling to make ends meet.
Such networks give the opportunity to
understand better the mechanism of SD functions. For example the implementation
of the framework agreements. The reporting back of the state of play of Social
Dialogue of other EU countries and how good and salient ideas be implemented
back home. The Pegase network has helped in putting the Social Dialogue on the
agenda for those countries where Social Dialogue is not yet developed and
discussions are not at a National level. This will be continued and further
developed and therefore in itself will constitute a lasting effect.
GRTU is now committed to Social
Dialogue according to the EU model, it will continue to play a role as a Social
Partner at National level, it will seek opportunities and capacity, even
through EU funded project to express SMEs needs and further develop the Social
Another important tool of the Pegase
project where the newsletter and the website. The newsletter has produced
tailor made information on Social Dialogue issues for small and
micro-enterprises. It also created a link between the project members on ESD
and an information tool for each of the eleven organisations at national level.
Another part of the session was
dedicated to a presentation on "Health and Safety at work". The
current situation in Europe is that 167,000 people die every year from
occupational accidents and diseases. Other key challenges are the economic
crisis and ageing population. The speaker remarked that as a strategy to
partially address the ageing problem companies must start doing age audits. In
practice prevention means that managers and workers work together to prevent
risks with the result of fewer accidents and higher productivity. She passed
two important messages:
is a legal and moral duty of management to take the lead on workplace safety
and health. In practice this means that at the place of work there is a visible
and active commitment by the management and using a risk assessment to guide
have the duty to consult their worker's representatives on health and safety
which means an effective and open dialogue, workers fully cooperating with employers,
joint problem solving and decision making, participation in implementing
solutions and promoting safe working conditions.
She also mentioned in great detail
the European Good Practice Award. This award is about outstanding and
innovative good practice solutions towards encouraging managers and employees
to actively work together to enhance workplace safety and health. In this award
the Malta OHSA is directly involved at national level. GRTU through Ms. Carmen
Borg is one of the players. On the 24th of October the inauguration ceremony
was held and the winners announced. The winner was "Actavis" and the
runner up was "Smart City".
The concluding remarks addressed the
finalisation of the Pegase project and what could be the way forward. All
participants gave their reaction and views. There was an unanimous agreement
and encouragement amongst all members that this project should carry on
preferably in Brussels or as an alternative in one of the participating
countries under an ESF project.
The Malta Chamber of SMEs represents over 7,000 members from over 90 different sectors which in their majority are either small or medium sized companies, and such issues like the one we're experiencing right now, it's important to be united. Malta Chamber of SMEs offers a number of different services tailored to its members' individual requirements' and necessities. These range from general services offered to all members to more individual & bespoke services catered for specific requirements.
A membership with Malta Chamber of SMEs will guarantee that you are constantly updated and informed with different opportunities which will directly benefit your business and help you grow. It also entails you to a number of services which in their majority are free of charge and offered exclusively to its members (in their majority all free of charge).