Putting quality jobs back on the agenda

Trade union leaders from across Europe meeting in Brussels today reaffirmed their commitment to quality jobs for all working people – and agreed that creating quality jobs should be a top priority for European economic policy.


High unemployment, low investment and the growth of online platforms and low-value service industries have resulted in far too many new jobs being badly paid, insecure and poor quality.


Employers have been taking advantage of the crisis by offering lower wages and worse working conditions” said ETUC Deputy General Secretary Katja Lehto-Komulainen “and now the European economy is recovering, policy-makers’ attention should shift to the quality of work.


We have to get over the desperate idea that any job is better than no job. Work has to offer a route to a decent life and dignity. Bad jobs have knock-on effects well beyond the workplace.


Quality jobs generate quality performance and high productivity, which is precisely what Europe needs and aspires to. Quality jobs are good for competitiveness, for innovation and for economic demand.


All the evidence from EU research shows that the strong economies have high quality jobs.”


But what is quality work? Trade union leaders today adopted a definition which should be very useful for all EU institutions and economic-policy makers.


A quality job is one which has

  • Good wages
  • Job security
  • Lifelong learning
  • Safe & healthy workplace
  • Reasonable working time
  • Trade union representation


The ETUC will renew it efforts to raise this issue of job quality in EU economic policy making, in the context of the European Pillar of Social Rights, in the debates about digitalisation and online platforms, climate action and the future of work.     


The ETUC hopes to secure funding for research into work quality across the EU and to make recommendations on increasing the quality of work.