The European Commission wants to limit the social impact of enterprise restructuring. While it cannot prevent its enterprises from packing up to settle in a more competitive third country, on 13 December 2013 it presented an 'EU quality framework for anticipation of change and restructuring (QFR)'. The text is some leagues away from the binding framework MEPs called for in January last year. All the text does is list best practice in terms of anticipating change - similarly to what has already been proposed by the social partners in 2003.

The globalisation of the economy has overturned the economy and society - including the restructuring and delocalisation of production units. Since 2002, theaEuropean Monitoring Centre on Change listed over 16,000 cases of restructuring, which led to the net loss of over two million jobs.


The aim of the new quality framework is to facilitate the restructuring process by better anticipation and by increasingly investing in people, while reducing the social impact as much as possible. The quality framework outlines all best practices employers, employees, trade unions, social partners and national and regional authorities should be basing themselves on - noting that SMEs could struggle to implement them. The framework calls on the member states to consider applying these best practices to agents in the public sector.

These practices include anticipatory actions (to be implemented permanently) and measures to manage specific restructuring processes. These include strategic long-term monitoring of the evolution of the market and a constant monitoring of needs in terms of jobs and skills. They also include the implementation of measures for workers: training measures, professional orientation and help with changing professions. They encourage involvement - at an early stage - of external players, such as the public authorities, universities, training centres and other players...

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