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EuropeCommissioner Nicolas Schmit on International Workers' Day

Commissioner Nicolas Schmit on International Workers’ Day

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In view of the International Workers’ Day, Commissioner Nicolas Schmit made the following statement:

On 1 May, as we mark International Workers’ Day, the EU remains committed to preparing people for the changing world of work. This means investing massively in skills. The need to nurture talent in Europe is urgent, with labour shortages reported in key sectors and more than three quarters of companies struggling to find workers with the requisite skills. The European Year of Skills is our opportunity to fundamentally change the training mindset in the EU, building on the tools and actions already put in place under the EU Skills Agenda.

This is not only important to help people develop in their careers and plan their personal lives, it is also essential if we want Europe to remain competitive – as outlined in our Green Deal Industrial Plan – and to ensure that the transitions and the economic recovery are fair and inclusive.

One way we are working to match people’s skills to the needs on the labour market is through the Pact for Skills. To date, 17 large-scale partnerships have been set up in key industrial sectors such as renewable energy and microelectronics, each identifying where the skills gaps lie and committing to up- and reskill workers. We also recently presented recommendations on how to boost digital education and skills, as well as establishing a Cybersecurity Skills Academy to tackle the cyber talent gap.

Sadly, this is the second Labour Day that takes place against the backdrop of Russia’s brutal war in Ukraine. The EU remains committed to supporting the integration of people fleeing the war into the EU labour market, for as long as they wish to remain in the EU. Since March 2022, more 1.1 million employment contracts have been signed by people fleeing Ukraine. This is a testament to the contribution of employment services and employers who have worked quickly to adapt their systems and make this possible.

Finally, this day is an important occasion to recall that the Commission is committed to ensuring fair working conditions and strong labour rights for all workers in the EU, wherever they are from.

We welcome the adoption of the Directive on adequate minimum wages, which will help to ensure that that work pays and workers can earn a decent living. Fair wages and collective bargaining are more important than ever as households face an increased cost of living.

The Commission will continue to bring the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights to life, improving working conditions and ensuring fair and equal opportunities for everyone.”

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