European Commission’s Action Plan to tackle Labour and Skills shortages

On 20 March, the European Commission presented its Action Plan to tackle labour and skills shortages as one of the final initiatives of the European Year of Skills. The plan was announced during the Val Duchesse Social Partners Summit organised in January 2024.It comes as many Member States have been facing a strong and persistent labour and skills shortages over the years. There are many reasons for such shortages: ranging from demographic shifts to the increased demand for new skills.

In this Action Plan, the European Commission – in cooperation with the Social Partners and the Member States – proposes a set of actions in 5 areas:

– Supporting the activation of underrepresented people in the labour market;
– Providing support for skills development, training and education;
– Improving fair conditions in certain sectors;
– Improving fair intra-EU mobility for workers and learners;
– Attracting talent from outside the EU.

 

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European Parliament endorses Report on Late Payments

On 20 March, the European Parliament’s Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) endorsed the draft report on the Late Payments Regulation. The Regulation is intended to replace the current Directive.The approved text sets a 30-day payment period for B2G transactions, i.e. transactions between companies and public authorities. For business-to-business (B2B) transactions, invoices must also be paid within a maximum of 30 days, but there is some flexibility (up to 60 calendar days) if the parties agree so. The report also includes a payment period of up to 120 days for “seasonal” and “slow-moving goods”.

In addition, the IMCO Committee urges Member States to ensure greater transparency and independence of enforcement authorities in order to improve the payment practices of public authorities towards companies.

The text will now be put to the vote in plenary. The provisional date for the plenary session is 22 April.

FIEC welcomes opening of debate on 2040 climate target and plans to promote CCU/S technologies

 

On 25 March, FIEC published a new position on the European Commission’s recommendation on the interim climate target (“the 2040 target”).

In February, the Commission recommended a 90% reduction in the EU’s net greenhouse gas emissions by 2040 compared to 1990 levels. “A -90% emission reduction compared to 1990 levels seems overly ambitious from today’s perspective for many different reasons, mostly socio-economic,” the paper says.

FIEC is particularly concerned that the European Commission may be giving too much priority to the renovation of existing buildings over the construction of new affordable housing, as suggested in the impact assessment for the 2040 climate target.

In the paper, FIEC also welcomes the Commission’s new Industrial Carbon Management Strategy. FIEC believes that CCU/S technologies have great potential for decarbonising the construction value chain.

 

   POSITION PAPER  

EU Council Vote on Nature Restoration Law postponed

To become law, the agreement needs the support of at least 55% of EU countries, representing 65% of the EU’s population. Last week it was announced that Hungary would not support the agreement, meaning that this requirement would not have been met.The Netherlands, Italy, Sweden and Poland are also against the deal, while Austria, Finland and Belgium are undecided.

In the coming weeks, the Belgian Presidency will continue trying facilitate a consensus among Member States.

Visit of Koninklijke Bouwend Nederland’s delegation

On 19 March, a delegation from the Netherlands visited FIEC during a study trip to Brussels and the EU Institutions. The delegation was composed by directors of training centres related to construction, together with representatives of FIEC’s Dutch member federation, Koninklijke Bouwend Nederland, which is among the founding organisations of these centres.A good opportunity to share views, knowledge and updates about construction matters and key policies related to skills and training, and to keep on “building” together!

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Pact for Skills Forum - Unlocking skills potential across Europe

The first Pact for Skills Forum – organised by the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs, and Inclusion (DG EMPL) of the European Commission – took place on 21-22 March in Brussels.The event gathered key stakeholders from diverse sectors including industry leaders, policymakers, and training providers. Through a series of workshops, panel discussions, and networking sessions, participants explored various approaches to skills development, from leveraging digital technologies in training to promoting apprenticeships and vocational education.

Furthermore, the forum offered a platform to showcase best practices and innovative approaches to skills development in the EU.

 

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EFFC Health & Safety Innovation Awards 2024

The European Federation of Foundation Contractors (EFFC) is launching its second Health and Safety Awards for special foundations or geotechnical contractors.There are two categories:

  • Project based teams that have set new safety standards or introduced safety innovations raising the safety benchmark in the Foundations sector.
  • Health and Wellbeing programme facilitated by Foundations contractors inspired by the hazards associated with the sector of working.
For each category, three awards are available, and each winner will be invited to a presentation at the EFFC Annual General Meeting. All EFFC members and members of National Federations are invited to participate and submit their project/ initiative. The deadline for submission is on 31 July.

Open Call for Tenders: External Experts for the SIDE-CIC project

The European Construction Industry Federation (FIEC) and the  European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW) have launched two Calls for Tender for external expertise in the EU-funded project “Social Identity Cards in Construction” (SIDE-CIC).The SIDE-CIC project proposes a comprehensive mapping of current social identity card schemes in the construction sector across the EU. It aims to assess opportunities, challenges, good practices and the feasibility of interconnectivity between existing schemes.

Deadline to submit the offers: 26 April 2024.

 

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Angela Martina (FIEC) at OECD Infrastructure Forum, 10 April

On 10 April, Angela Martina – Chairwoman of FIEC’s Social Affairs Subcommittee on “Vocational and educational Training” – will speak during a panel discussion on “Local construction skills for resilient infrastructure: Addressing the capacity gap”.The event is organised by the OECD. In this panel discussion, speakers will look at how to tackle labour and skills construction shortages and discuss solutions, such as better career guidance, reskilling, upskilling and increasing investments in digital skills at the local level.

The panel is part of the 2024 OECD Infrastructure Forum, which is focused on building resilient infrastructure that can cope with the today’s challenges to anticipate and adapt to the demands of tomorrow.

Click on this link to register to participate in this 2-days event.

 

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Eurobridge 2024: Alert “bridges” – a Word from Christian Tridon

“On 19 March, a bridge collapsed in the Gard department in the South of France. One person was injured and a village was cut off from the rest of the country. Bridges are an important social link, and their failure can cut off populations in remote areas.The causes of these accidents are always predictable, so regular monitoring and maintenance procedures need to be put in place. In addition, watercourses are experiencing more extreme droughts and floods. This is a direct result of climate change. In most cases, this causes erosion that destabilises bridge foundations.

At the forthcoming EUROBRIDGE conference – to be held in Brussels on 5 April – we will discuss the measures that need to be taken to anticipate the malfunction of bridges.

Monitoring must be organised, systematic and mandatory. Maintenance must be carried out before disasters occur. Bridges are fragile structures that age and deteriorate. They are essential links in the continuity of land communications (roads and railways). If we want to keep this network in good conditions, and at a satisfactory level of safety, we must make the effort to allocate the necessary budgets”.

Christian Tridon
FIEC Structural Maintenance Committee

 

   EUROBRIDGE