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What is the CoronaVirus current and future situation in relation to EWC activities

by Gabriele Guglielmi, Filcams CGIL International Policies Coordinator

(Translation by Federico Tani)

On February 20, 2020 we decided to postpone the classroom course for members of the European Works Councils scheduled for February 26 and 27. Today it seems a foregone conclusion, but it wasn’t at the time.

In less than a month, the world has changed.

With Francesca Mandato, Head of the Training and Research Department of Filcams, we set up a very qualified team of trainers and speakers: Fabio Ghelfi CGIL Lombardia and EWC expert as well as trainer, up to Ilaria Costantini ETUI – Education officer, and Giancarlo Pelucchi, Trade Union Training Manager, National Cgil.

Half of the participants came from Lombardy.

It would have been the fourth in a series of experimental classroom courses that brought together EWC delegates and delegates from various sectors of industry and services “… and when can we do it? When is the next course scheduled?” These are the questions we cannot answer. They are especially asked by those we have gathered in a Whatsapp group; among them #IoLavoroInCassaEvoglioProtezioni (#Iworkatthecashregisterandwantprotections), #NonEssenziali (#nonessentials),  #IoRestoAcasa (#Istayathome), groups which are trying, at least online, to look for information and experiences that can be used in the post-virus phase to better perform the role of EWC member.

Those four courses were experimental and the experimentation was not just about putting together (without social distance) in the same classroom the metalworker, the cashier and the clerk. The experimentation consisted also in testing some digital instruments and how they could be better used, by everyone.

This part of the experiment became very relevant during the “quarantine”.

One of the previous courses ended with “the program enriched with links to multimedia products built in previous courses and made available to all” and now digitally transferred to a page of the OpenCorporation Blog specifically dedicated to EWC training.

On the page you will thus find the agenda of an already completed training course so that those who are in quarantine can continue, or participate ex novo to the course according to “agile working”… it will not be like being in the classroom but it is certainly better than waiting

But let’s not stop here. Remote working was something we had to fight very hard to obtain, negotiating company by company, and now it’s the companies asking for it.

In order to deal with the crisis, an entirely new “legal-negotiation institution” has been created by law: the agreement was negotiated and signed “electronically”.

In their recommendations for EWCs during the #Covid_19 emergency, ETUFs state that:

“European trade union federations have always argued that EWC/SE-CA meetings should be face-to-face. However, physical meetings must be prohibited under the current circumstances to protect each other’s health and stop the spread of the virus. Therefore, European trade union federations recommend the use of online meetings, subject to previous agreement on specific conditions on both sides”.

“by videoconferencing, AFTER determining the rules on the exceptional use of such online meetings”

These too are some of the new things that the #Covid_19 emergency forces us to deal with.

During this emergency we have all understood how much value the “time factor” has, let’s immediately open a discussion on what the current #CoronaVirus situation is and will be like in the future for EWC activity and for training, even remotely, of EWC members.


Links to other articles about EWC and training issues

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