Question for written answer E-000356/2020
to the Commission
Subject: Inclusion of public service pensioners in industrial relations frameworks
At present there is no formal mechanism in the Republic of Ireland to include recipients of public service pensions within the industrial relations framework. Consequently, decisions can be made affecting the pensions of retired public servants in which they have no negotiating rights.
The Alliance of Retired Public Servants (APRS), a group of 21 pensioner organisations representing about 140 000 retired public servants in Ireland, is seeking to ensure that Irish public service pensioners have a right, pursuant to inter alia Articles 5 and 13 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, to direct input in the terms and conditions of their pensions, and to have that right recognised by the Irish Government. The ARPS further asserts that other EU Member States operate systems of collective bargaining and negotiations which afford public sector retirees more equitable input in decisions that affect them.
Can the Commission please comment on whether it envisions taking any action during its mandate with a view to harmonising the collective bargaining rights of public sector retirees across the EU or making it obligatory for Member States to include retired public servants with pension rights in their industrial relations frameworks?
Answer given by Mr Schmit
on behalf of the European Commission
The Commission is committed to promote European social dialogue, while fully respecting the autonomy of the social partners and the diversity of national industrial relations systems.
The European Pillar for Social Rights confirms this commitment in principle 8 on social dialogue and involvement of workers, which states that social partners should be consulted on the design and implementation of economic, employment and social policies according to national practices. The Commission Communication on a Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions of 14th January has launched a broad consultation leading toward an action plan to implement the European Pillar of Social Rights.
The Commission promotes European social dialogue and collective bargaining through its support for the 43 Sectoral Social Dialogue Committees including those for Central Government Administration and Local and Regional Governments.
While the Commission is fully committed to support social dialogue also at national level, the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union indicates that the EU has no legislative competence on the right of association. Thus, it is for the Member States to set the legal framework for social dialogue and collective bargaining in their country, including collective bargaining rights of public sector retirees.
Under the Council of Europe obligations, Member States shall respect the European Convention of Human Rights and the European Social Charter.
The EU supports Member States via joint periodic assessments of pension adequacy and sustainability, and via the European Semester, under the premise that unifying partial pension schemes within national systems can lead towards fairer pensions.
 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social Committee and the Committee of the Regions “A Strong Social Europe for Just Transitions”
 Article 153 paragraph 5
 Pension Adequacy Report 2018 – Current and future income adequacy in old age in the EU (Volume 1)
 The 2018 Ageing Report: Economic and Budgetary Projections for the EU Member States (2016-2070) https://ec.europa.eu/info/publications/economy-finance/2018-ageing-report-economic-and-budgetary-projections-eu-member-states-2016-2070_en