Military cooperation in the EU is an ever-evolving process. In the field of military equipment, EU member states are increasingly focusing on the creation of a transnational armament industrial base through integrated procurement processes, common projects, cooperation and the merger of large companies. Such shifts will undoubtedly affect workers and employment in the European armament sector. 

IndustriAll Europe and the consultancy firm Syndex have launched a new project that will focus on these challenges and their impact on workers. Over the course of the next two years, the project will examine current trends at the national and the European level in the armament sector and its different branches. It is already clear that a European procurement market requires a harmonisation of operational requirements of the armed forces, Europe-wide tenders and the development of joint procurement projects. The challenge will be to ensure that workers and workers’ representatives have the means to anticipate this change and to make sure that the high-skilled workforce in the sector will have a future in Europe.

The project therefore aims specifically at increasing the capacity of trade unions and workers’ representatives in works councils and European works councils to successfully participate in shaping the transformation brought by the upcoming integration. Workers’ representatives will exchange about sector developments during the project, and also about experiences of worker involvement and social dialogue. The project will put a special focus on the possibilities of worker involvement in the context of outsourcing, subcontracting, digitalisation/automation and new forms of work. 

The project was officially launched by a kick-off meeting on 15 September which featured research findings by Syndex, wmp Consult and AGS Agentur für Struktur- und Personalentwicklung GmbH on recent trends in the European defence industry. This was followed by a panel discussion on national responses to the transformation of the defence industry from a labour perspective. The participating representatives from trade unions and works councils analysed the situation in the member states and in their sectors.

Over the course of the next two years, the project will investigate trends in the European defence sector in general, but also focus on sub-sectors, such as aeronautics, land systems, naval shipbuilding and command, control, communications. The sub-sectors will be covered by workshops in different countries and with a focus on several different companies. Research will support the debates and facilitate a good understanding of the challenges and opportunities.

This project is funded by the European Commission (DG Employment Budget line VP/2019/007 Information, consultation and participation of representatives of undertakings, Project reference VP/2019/007/0004)

Contact: Andrea Husen-Bradley (press and communication), Jan Brauburger (policy adviser)