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Report analyses public sector restructuring

19 March 2015

The 2014 annual report of the European Restructuring Monitor produced by the Eurofound research body focuses in particular on public services noting that net job cuts since the beginning of the crisis now top 800000. The ERM describes this as the "most severe restructuring in Europe for many decades." The report also warns of the particular decline in the number of young workers in the sector raising concerns about the transmission of knowledge, attractiveness of the sector and efficient delivery of public services. The analysis found that in some countries the restructuring process was "often hasty, non-transparent and not always well prepared." Read more at > Eurofound (EN)

Collective bargaining news from across Europe

19 March 2015

The February edition of the ETUI’s collective bargaining newsletter includes 70 articles covering developments in over 30 countries. These include public service-related news from Bulgaria (prison staff and firefighters), Romania (public administration) and the UK (police staff), for example. Read more at > ETUC (EN)

Mix of dynamism and lethargy in sector social dialogue

19 March 2015

A new analysis of the European sector social dialogue by the ETUI trade union research institute finds that some sectors are very active while others are not developing so well. The report also finds that the sectoral social partners have in recent years produced more ‘joint lobbying texts’ addressed to the European institutions than ‘joint agreements’ concluded, for example, in order to improve working conditions, training facilities, or workplace health and safety provision. Two sectors in which EPSU is involved - electricity and local and regional government - are mentioned in particular in relation to the number of joint texts agreed over the period 2007-2013. Read more at > ETUI (FR)

ILO meeting re-affirms right to strike

27 February 2015

A meeting of trade unions, employers and governments at the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on 25 February agreed a statement re-affirming the right to strike. This ends two years of controversy after employer organisations had brought the ILO’s supervisory mechanism to a standstill by challenging the existence of an international right to strike and the authority of the ILO. PSI General Secretary, Rosa Pavanelli, said that while the recognition of an international right to strike is essential, attacks on the right to strike at national level are widespread. Therefore PSI will continue its campaign for the right to strike for all workers. Read more at > PSI

Latest minimum wage data from Eurostat

27 February 2015

The European Commission’s statistics agency Eurostat has just released the latest figures for minimum wage rates for the 22 countries in the EU, now including Germany, that have national minimum wages. The report includes a comparison with figures from 2008, and reveals that Greece was the only country to see a fall (-14%) while in Ireland the rate remained unchanged. The highest increases between 2008 and 2015 were registered in Romania (+95%), Bulgaria (+64%), Slovakia (+58%) and Latvia (+57%). The report also includes figures for minimum wages related to median wages although the data on median wages appears to date from 2010 and so may not reflect the current situation. Read more at > Eurostat (EN)

Minimum wage progress in Russia and Central Asia

27 February 2015

Minimum wages in Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan play a very important role in wage setting and EPSU affiliates in these countries are active in their union movements in campaigning for higher rates. They have also been involved in debates around the basked of goods and services on which living wage calculations are based. One of the main successes for unions has been to ensure that minimum wages are increased on a regular basis. In some countries workers had to wait as long as five or even nine years to see an increase in the rate. Information on recent developments is provided by EPSU regional officer Olga Zhankevich as background for the meeting of EPSU affiliates in the region in Dushanbe, Tajikistan on 3-5 March. Read more at > EPSU

Court ruling backs equal pay for posted workers

26 February 2015

The ETUC has welcomed a European Court judgement that says that workers should be paid according to the relevant arrangements in the host country. In this case it means that 186 electrical workers posted from Poland to Finland were entitled to be paid the appropriate rate set by the sector collective agreement. Read more at > ETUC (EN+FR) And at > EU legal website (EU languages)

Conference debates public and private sector pay trends

30 January 2015

Over 80 trade unionists from 20 countries took part in EPSU’s collective bargaining and social dialogue conference on 13-14 January. A central theme on the first day included long-term developments in public sector pay and comparisons with the private sector. The conference also included a lively debate on minimum wages, a discussion about working time developments and a session on the structural reforms that the European Commission and European Central Bank want to see implemented across Europe. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Global action day on right to strike - 18 February

27 January 2015

The ITUC global union confederation has called a day of action on 18 February to reassert the right to strike. The initiative has been taken as employers’ group at the International Labour Conference in June 2014 denied that that the right to strike forms part of ILO Convention 87, thus undermining decades of jurisprudence and the application of international law. The Workers’ Group unanimously rejected the demands of the Employers’ group. The conflict over the right to strike has been referred to ILO’s Governing Body, which should make a decision in May this year and could could call on the International Court of Justice to produce an advisory opinion and put an end to the dispute. Read more at > ITUC (EN, DE, FR, ES) And at > PSI (EN, FR, ES)

ILO report calls for strategy to boost pay

18 December 2014

The International Labour Organisation’s (ILO) annual report on wages provide important data on the recent trade of very low wage growth. The ILO is concerned not only about the impact of these trends on workers’ living standards and income inequality but also on the global economy and the threat of deflation taking hold in some parts of the world. It also warns against policies that aim to reduce wages to make exports more competitive as they threaten a downward wage spiral and so would be self-defeating. Sandra Polaski, the ILO’s Deputy Director-General for Policy, argues for a comprehensive strategy that would "include minimum wage policies, strengthened collective bargaining, elimination of discrimination against vulnerable groups, as well as progressive taxation polices and adequate social protection systems.” Read more at > ILO (EN) And in Spanish at > OIT And in French at > OIT

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