Trade Unions and disability movement: together for more inclusive labour market

Brussels, 14/03/2011

To avoid that social issues are not scarified to the imperatives of the economy, the organisations believe that it is necessary to develop a strong riposte. Meeting the target of 75% of employment rate by 2020 requires taking into account persons with disabilities, who represent 15% of the working population of the EU. The framework agreement for the inclusive labour markets, signed by the European social partners on 25 March 2010, resulted to be a key instrument to achieve the targets of the EU 2020 Strategy.

Autonomous agreement: business and human rights case to promote social Europe

ETUC and EDF acknowledge the developments achieved in the European Union in the recent years, however, they underline that there is still a lot to be done to make an inclusive and accessible labour market, become a reality. Especially they stand against the reduction of social budgets, job insecurity, and the rise in unemployment, worsen by the economic and financial crisis that affects the most vulnerable such as disabled people. This is the message that was highlighted in the eyes of László Andor, EU Commissioner responsible for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion, that intervened in the conference. These measures need to be combated by greater mobilisation, constructive cooperation and open dialogue among all stakeholders.

During the conference, Commissioner Andor announced his engagement to guarantee mainstreaming of the rights of persons with disabilities in the implementation of all aspects of the EU 2020 Strategy, both at European and national levels.

Yannis Vardakastanis, EDF President stated that “trade unions and DPOs need a new deal and new front of alliances” to promote the rights of persons with disabilities.

Social partners and the organisations of persons with disabilities proposed measures and common initiatives to make effective the provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, especially of article 27 on employment, as well as of the framework agreement on inclusive labour markets.

The President of the European Economic and Social Committee, Staffan Nilsson, welcomed this intention and confirmed his support to the initiatives on this regard.

Next Steps

To achieve these common goals, the two organisations committed themselves and agreed that it is necessary to continue the dialogue and to reinforce their cooperation to “avoid that austerity measures have further negative impact on people with disabilities, who are one of the most vulnerable groups in time of crisis’’ as stated by John Monks, ETUC General Secretary.

As result of the conference, the common declaration on the “access to employment and training for persons with disabilities: a right still to be acquired” was unanimously adopted.


- ETUC: or Patricia Grillo: [email protected] +32 2 224 04 31
Henri Lourdelle [email protected]

- EDF : Simona Giarratano – [email protected]

- The European Disability Forum is the European umbrella organisation representing the interests of 80 million persons with disabilities in Europe. The mission of EDF is to ensure disabled people full access to fundamental and human rights through their active involvement in policy development and implementation in Europe. EDF is a member of the Social Platform and works closely to the European institutions, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.

- European Trade Union Confederation exists to speak with a single voice, on behalf of the common interests of workers, at European level. Founded in 1973, it now represents 83 trade union organisations in 36 European countries, plus 12 industry-based federations. The ETUC’s prime objective is to promote the European Social Model and to work for the development of a united Europe of peace and stability where working people and their families can enjoy full human and civil rights and high living standards.