Where we stand

Our MEPs believe that Europe will be more efficient and more competitive with a well-trained and fairly treated workforce. We call for a new deal on social progress, guaranteeing decent jobs, labour rights, social protection, social dialogue and the right to organise.

The S&D Group has set out a strong and progressive social agenda putting people and workers at the heart of Europe. We want to strengthen the social dimension of the economic and monetary union (EMU) and combat unemployment - especially for young people, older workers and the long-term unemployed.

We want to build a better legal framework for workers to mover across borders in order to safeguard wages, social standards, collective bargaining and trade union rights and we want to create a European system of decent minimum wages to fight poverty.



Our achievements

We fought for 'equal pay for equal work at the same place' with a full revision of the Posting of Workers Directive making this principle a reality, preventing social dumping and exploitation of migrant workers and ensuring fair competition.

We secured the revision of the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive to better protect workers exposed to carcinogenic substances, including extending the protection against diesel fumes and substances damaging reproductive health.

With our commitment to the Social Pillar, rights are at the top of the EU Agenda.

We have pushed for increased of funding for the Youth Employment Initiative by EUR 1,2 billion, to be matched by EUR 1,2 billion in ESF commitments for 2017-2020, by another 116 million in 2018.

We have managed to find support for several key resolutions calling for a European Child Guarantee - free health care, free education, free childcare, decent housing and adequate nutrition for every child at risk of poverty, as well as a Preparatory Action in order to introduce a Child Guarantee.

We pushed for the revision of the European network of Employment Services, workers' access to mobility services and the further integration of labour markets (EURES) - the new EURES network should lead to a considerable improvement regarding the functioning of EURES, thereby facilitating the placement of jobseekers in Europe and contributing to the reduction of unemployment and skill shortages.

Our priorities

Balancing social rights with economic freedoms

We want Treaty change to ensure social rights and economic freedoms get the same prominence - as set out in Article 9 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU and the Charter of Fundamental Rights. This would guarantee that all new legislation and future treaty revisions would make sure social rights were protected.

This change would be supported by a 'social Eurogroup' to strengthen the social dimension of the economic monetary - and social - union. We want to make sure the International Labour Organisation's decent work agenda is embedded in European policies.

We want a more balanced and democratic governance system that fully integrates social policy.

Creating jobs, tackling inequality and social exclusion.

Decent work must be the backbone of the European economy in order to build a stronger, more equal society.

Investing in jobs and opportunities for people

Investment is needed at a national and European level to create decent jobs, focusing on infrastructure, energy efficiency and education and training. We want to see a European action plan identifying the skills people need to find jobs and also the skills employers and managers need to manage their workforce in a socially sustainable way. We support a European directive to ban recruitment discrimination based on unemployment history.

Ending youth unemployment

We will continue to be an important driver in ensuring the European Youth Guarantee and the new European Solidarity Corps Initiative provide young people with quality training and job offers. We also want to ensure that all job, apprenticeship and traineeship placements are of high quality, enabling them to earn a living income, to enjoy social protections and to be offered prospects for development, leading to sustainable, well-matched integration in the labour market.

Tackling inequalities and social exclusion

We believe in an EU living wage index as a guideline for good living standards. We need a European framework for decent minimum wages for all workers and a European framework directive on minimum-income schemes to guarantee everyone has enough to live on.

To effectively deal with social exclusion, our priorities include:

  • A social-progress index measuring social inequalities, with binding targets.
  • A European legal framework to guarantee every citizen a social safety net, with basic income security and universal access to healthcare, goods and services.
  • A European fund for social protection, providing temporary support if a crisis increases the number of people dependant on social protection services.
  • A European Child Guarantee to ensure every European child experiencing or at risk of poverty has access to free healthcare, education and childcare, as well as decent housing and adequate nutrition.
  • An integrated European plan to combat child poverty, supporting both the child and parents with programmes to improve social inclusion and job prospects.
  • A strong directive on work-life balance to ensure paid leaves and social protection for working parents and carers.
  • A revision of the Maternity Leave Directive to improve protection for mothers.
  • A European framework directive on social services of general interest.

Securing decent jobs

We believe that to secure decent jobs we need a European directive on decent working conditions for all types of workers. We support measures to help reconcile professional and private life, including investment in quality childcare and elderly care to allow more people to work. We also champion binding targets on decent jobs in the European Semester process. We have acted to promote better protection for workers from harmful substances, in particular those that cause cancer and damage reproductive health.

Fair competition in the job market

We have championed a European Labour Authority from the very beginning. We also want to see a European social-security number.

Shaping the digital labour market

A Social Digital Agenda needs a fair digital labour market that goes beyond technicalities and takes full advantage of the potential for growth. We believe in a level playing field for businesses in the traditional economy and companies in the digital sector, this means more and better social protection as part of the response to the digital revolution. We support a balance between the promise of new technologies and the protection of workers.

Strengthening workers' rights, health and safety at work and social dialogue.

With people at the heart of our agenda, we believe in strengthening workers' rights with:

  • A European workers' statute to protect workers' rights and dignity in Europe.

    • A directive on atypical work, to ensure part-time, casual, temporary and self-employed workers have the protection they need.

    • An EU definition of self-employment to help tackle exploitation.

    • Support structures in all EU countries providing help and advice to posted and migrant workers, with the support of trade unions.

    • Protecting workers against long working hours by applying the Working Time Directive and the rulings of the European Court of Justice strictly.

    • A European strategy for health and safety, including new occupational diseases.

    • A directive on work-related musculoskeletal disorders and a continued revision of the directive on protecting workers from carcinogens and mutagens at work.

    • A legal framework for occupational stress-related diseases.

    • An asbestos register for all EU member states.

    • A legal framework on health and safety in the hairdressing sector.

    • A legal framework on informing and consulting workers when companies restructure.

    • Strengthening the European Works Council Directive and employee participation in company decisions.

    • Support for the unionisation of workers.

    • Information and consultation rights for all workers, including those in sub-contracting chains and franchises.

    • Improving corporate social responsibility and governance including enhanced worker participation.

Ensuring fair mobility and migration

The EU means that we can move freely across borders and work in other countries than our own. This still comes with responsibility to protect workers. We believe we can do this by ensuring:

  • New EU rules to stop social dumping, giving the Commission powers to investigate cross-border cases and impose fines.
  • A European labour inspectorate to ensure social and labour legislation is enforced across borders in the EU.
  • Closing loopholes on employment and working conditions in the transport and aviation sector to ensure fair competition.
  • Better co-ordination of EU social security systems to allow workers to move freely.
  • A framework directive on working conditions and equal treatment for workers from outside the EU to ensure their rights are protected and prevent social dumping.
  • Provisions to ensure equal wages and working conditions as a precondition for labour migration schemes in trade agreements.

See our latest actions

Press release

S&Ds launch ‘The European week for democracy’ that will culminate in a march for Europe on Sunday. Do not leave the EU in the hands of populists and extremists. Join us!


S&Ds Go Local in Ljubljana

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Gender fairness needs strong commitment without playing games