The just transition – greening the economy in a fair and inclusive way – creates opportunities for the labour market, while it could also lead to increased unemployment in certain sectors.
On Thursday, Parliament adopted a report to protect jobs and workers’ rights in light of the just transition, highlighting that workers should benefit from the opportunities this transition brings, for example in terms of new employment, learning new skills, and training programmes.
There needs to be significant investments in people, as well as quality education and training in areas linked to skills needed for the just transition, MEPs say, so that both current and future workers are well equipped and prepared for the just transition.
MEPs also call for measures for sectors and industries affected by unemployment because of the green and digital transition. They emphasise the need for robust national security schemes and safety nets to complement jobs creation measures, including minimum income support and unemployment benefits to support workers impacted by the transition.
To generate decent work and improved living conditions, MEPs call on the European Commission to support the role of cooperatives and the social economy in the just transition. MEPs also highlight the importance of access to funding for social economy companies, making sure they are well equipped to address the skills gaps resulting from the green transition.
Parliament adopted the own-initiative report with 349 votes in favour, 142 against, and 65 abstentions.
Rapporteur Sara Matthieu (Greens/EFA, BE) said: “The decarbonisation of the European economy comes with the opportunity for workers to have better jobs with stable employment, fair pay, and decent working conditions. It will create new jobs and transform existing ones significantly. To reap the full benefits of the transition, we need to implement the right policies. I call for a stronger social safety net for those temporarily out of work, greater union participation in the green transition, and social conditionality linked to all forms of public funding and support to businesses.”
According the International Labour Organisation, the just transition aims to green the economy in a way that is as fair and inclusive as possible to everyone concerned, creating decent work opportunities and leaving no one behind.
In January 2020, the European Commission presented the Just Transition Mechanism, a tool to provide targeted support to regions and sectors that are most affected by the transition towards the green economy.
Photo by Marten Bjork