18. Mai 2022

Shaping the chemical transition in Europe socially

Maike Niggemann (industriALL Europe)

industriALL has passed a manifesto on social structural change, which primarily contains 5 demands: (1) transformation measures must be socially acceptable, (2) financial resources must be made available, (3) collective bargaining and social dialogue must be strengthened throughout Europe, (4) company rights and obligations must be clearly formulated and it needs (5) qualification measures in the sense of lifelong learning.

The overarching goal of the unions is to achieve the climate targets while preserving jobs. This represents an enormous challenge; so it’s not just the large number of jobs affected, it also requires various measures to maintain and replace them. An analysis of the labor market in the chemical and energy sector is fundamentally important for this.

Sectoral transformation paths with strong social components are needed. A technological path of transformation for the chemical industry is currently being followed, from which necessary laws, subsidies and social measures are derived.

It is important to remember that today not only current jobs are being negotiated, but also those for tomorrow’s generation.

„The transition has already started and is not in the future – we are in the middle of it and if we want to make it happen, we can’t wait to make it socially responsible now.“ Maike Niggemann

The transformation depends on government support. However, it must be clear that all this support is linked to social aspects. No measures may be adopted that do not take the preservation of jobs into account. The promotion of social dialogue in the individual countries, but also throughout Europe, is therefore essential for successful social structural change.

Dialogue is not equally possible in all European countries. On the one hand, there are no structures or employers‘ associations are fragmented. This is why events like these are so important for international exchange and pan-European strategic planning.

Stefano Soro (DG Grow)

The transformation also brings with it a change in jobs and it is important to invest in education and training. Therefore, the project “Pact for skills” was launched at European level with a total of 11 partnerships in various industrial sectors.

The chemical industry faces special challenges here. There is a lack of qualified people for the chemical labor market.

“An American study assumes that in 2026 25% of workers in the US chemical sector will retire and these jobs cannot be filled. This forecast can also be made for Europe.” Stefano Soro

The special requirements of the respective sector must meet the transition paths through co-determination of employees and social partners. This requires large financial investments.

The basic goals of the green transformation should be: Introduction of renewable energies and increasing the development autonomy of Europe.

Romina Mura (Parliamentary Labour Comission Chamber of Deputies – President)

The paradigm of the „Green Deal“ is based on the fact that an energy transformation must also be a social transformation. During and especially after the pandemic, this awareness-raising paradigm has evolved in Italy. Since the COVID crisis has shown that the development to date has led to uncertainties. In Italy there has not been too little commitment in recent years, but with a wrong focus.

Too much reliance was placed on passive political approaches. Active or activating politics, such as the transformation of production processes, were neglected.

As an institutional representation, it is aware of the responsibility that is borne. And it is aware that different instruments have to be developed in order to create new perspectives on the challenges. However, this can and must only work in social dialogue with the trade unions.

„It’s nice to see that we’re on the same wavelength and are daring to take a common European look at the transformation.“ Romina Mura

17. Mai 2022

Start of conference in Rome (16.-18.May 2022)

It was with great pleasure that we were able to start our first face-to-face conference in the project yesterday. Daniele Bailo (ULITEC) and Michael Wolters (IG BCE) welcomed the conference participants in Rome in the afternoon.

With a first lecture, Grazia Gullo outlined the current situation in Italy and presented the PNRR ED ENERGIA in detail. The PNRR political plan is the Italian response to the economic shock experienced by the COVID Pandemic. PNRR includes measures in the fields of digital revolution, ecological transformation and social inclusion. The focus is on women and young people as target groups, as well as the desired regional equality of opportunity between the regions in north and south Italy.

Today we look forward to our main conference day with our guests from the European Comission, industriALL Europe and the employer representatives.

Emma Argutyan (DG ECEG) and Davide Calabró (ENI Versalis) opened the main conference day on the question what conditions are necessary for a successful transformation of the chemical industry in Europe.

The current challenges require a creative solution: production chains that are complex and also very heterogeneous must be brought together. It is necessary to use existing infrastructures in order to achieve transformation successes as quickly as possible. The aim should be to create a cycle process in which there are no longer any single-use products, but where the focus is clearly on the reusability of products.

 „With disposable products, it is not the material or the chemical production that is the problem – but the people and the common mindset of the disposable society.“ said Davide Calabró.

The current developments and challenges can only be met by society as a whole. It also means that management can only move forward if they work together with unions and that politics can only be successful if independent scientific studies are taken into account.