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Telecoms unions and operators push for modernisation of their sector

The telecoms section of the European Trade Union Federation, UNI-Europa Telecom, and a number of major telecoms employers, have sent a joint letter to the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou, declaring their intention to play a leading role in t...
The telecoms section of the European Trade Union Federation, UNI-Europa Telecom, and a number of major telecoms employers, have sent a joint letter to the Commissioner for Employment and Social Affairs, Anna Diamantopoulou, declaring their intention to play a leading role in the modernisation of their sector.

The move will contribute to discussions at the Lisbon summit, and has been welcomed by the Commission.

'The major telecoms operators and trade unions are leading the way towards 'the learning company' and modern work organisation, a key contribution to the Lisbon summit,' said Anna Diamantopoulou.

In their joint statement, the telecoms unions and operators highlight that partnership in key areas such as training and work organisation is essential to ensure successful change in the interest of both employees and companies.

They outline their commitment to working together so that by the end of 2001 all companies can be considered 'learning companies', with opportunities to acquire essential training in information and communications technologies (ICTs) available to each employee. Critically, employers and trade unions expressed the need and commitment to develop appropriate certification in order to make ICT skills portable throughout Europe.

The letter also promises to develop a set of Europe-wide guidelines for telework, the use of ICTs to enable working at a distance, which they consider an important driver of modernisation in telecommunications.

Welcoming the initiative, Ms Diamantopoulou added: 'This contribution shows that employers and trade unions at European level can and must play a decisive role in the process of advancing towards the information society.

'Training and skills upgrading in new technologies for employers together with modernisation of work organisation are key components of the European employment strategy. Employers and trade unions are best placed to achieve concrete results in these areas. The joint statement from the telecommunications sector, given its strategic importance for the information society, is a clear signal towards modernisation.'
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