EFFAT deems encouraging the intention to coordinate the relaunch of a strategic sector of the economy, yet stresses the Commission’s weak ambition on workers’ participation and social partners’ involvement
EFFAT welcomes the Tourism and Transport Package published by the European Commission on 13 May 2020 to help transport and tourism in Europe to recover from the COVID-19 crisis, as this package acknowledges the importance of the travel and tourism sector for economy and employment in Europe, and as it proposes a coordinated approach to the lifting of travel restrictions and the reopening of businesses, while respecting necessary health and safety precautions for travellers and workers.
The Commission Communication Tourism and transport in 2020 and beyond clearly points out the huge number of jobs at risk and underlines the need to support short-time work schemes to safeguard jobs, also through the planned EU initiative for temporary Support to mitigate Unemployment Risks in an Emergency (SURE). EFFAT reiterates once more the importance to adopt and implement the SURE mechanism as soon as possible. Workers cannot wait any longer. The instrument must cover all workers, including those with non-standard forms of employment who are so far widely excluded from short-time arrangement or other forms of state wage compensation schemes.
The Communication also stresses the need to do more for the upskilling of tourism workers, to increase the resilience of the sector and to avoid future skills shortages, which are also necessary for the green and digital transition, and this in strategic cooperation between key stakeholders.
The Commission Communication COVID-19: EU Guidance for the progressive resumption of tourism services and for health protocols in hospitality establishments confirms the protection of the health of citizens, including tourism workers and tourists, as a key priority, and provides a framework with criteria and principles for the safe and gradual relaunch of tourism activities, with a focus on the development of health protocols for hospitality establishments, taking into account guidance from WHO and OSHA.
EFFAT supports the view that we should look ahead to the future of tourism and transport in the EU, and therefore welcomes the plan to organise a European Tourism Convention, and to build a roadmap towards a sustainable, innovative and resilient European tourism.
Unfortunately, the package falls short in emphasising the importance of involving social partners at every level in the elaboration and implementation of EU policies to relaunch the sector. Social partners’ involvement is crucial to ensure a more socially responsible tourism model in future.
EFFAT reiterates its availability to participate in any initiative aiming at mitigating the impact of COVID-19 on the tourism sector and accelerating its recovery, as stated in the letter to the European institutions “Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic – time to prepare for a more sustainable and socially responsible tourism” of 30 April 2020, and this together with ETF, the European Transport Workers Federation, representing workers in transport, and UNI Europa, representing workers in travel agencies and tour operators, who have been cooperating in the ETLC, the European Trade Union Liaison Committee on Tourism, for many years.