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Working time back on the agenda

18 July 2014

Working time and possible revisions to the Working Time Directive are likely to be a priority for trade unions at the beginning of 2015. The European Commission is not only undertaking a standard review of the implementation of the Directive but has also called in consultants to work on studies that will assess possible changes to the legislation. One of the studies is focusing on the health sector in particular and includes interviews with a range of actors, including EPSU affiliates, in the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy and the UK. In anticipation of a further attempt by the Commission to amend the Directive, EPSU has organised a meeting in Brussels on 4 September to discuss working time issues. Read more on the meeting at > EPSU (EN,DE,FR,CZ,SV,IT) And on the implementation study at > EPSU (EN,DE,FR)

EPSU works with affiliates to support Spanish nurses in Germany

18 July 2014

EPSU has been supporting German affiliates ver.di and Spanish affiliates FES-CCOO and FSP-UGT in a joint effort to defend Spanish nurses working in Germany. It emerged that the nurses were not being paid according to the collective agreement with hourly rates of pay of €9 rather than €13.50 or €14.50. Read more at > EPSU

Evidence of impact of austerity on industrial relations in central government

17 July 2014

A new report from the EIRO industrial relations observatory takes stock of developments in industrial relations in central government administration. It analyses the varied arrangements at national level and concludes that overall the quality of social dialogue has deteriorated. It also provides further evidence of the attacks on pay and conditions across Europe, with pay freezes and pay cuts along with reductions in other benefits, particularly pensions. It argues that: “While the social partners are actively responding to the crisis at the European level, their actions have yet to halt these troubling trends at the national level.” Read more at > EIRO (EN)

Over 5000 respond to survey on pay and conditions in social services

17 July 2014

Over 5000 workers in social services have now responded to a survey on pay and working conditions. The survey is supported by EPSU with the view that it will provide important and up-to-date information that affiliates can use at national level in their lobbying, campaigning and collective bargaining. Countries with significant increases in responses include Belgium, Estonia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Slovakia and Ukraine. The survey will run until October when results will be analysed in time for a conference in Amsterdam on 18 November. So there is still plenty of time to encourage members to complete the questionnaire either online or on paper. Online surveys for 34 countries in national languages Versions of surveys to download and print

ETUC consults over economic governance

17 July 2014

The ETUC’s collective bargaining committee is carrying out a consultation over the impact of country-specific recommendations on collective bargaining and wages. It is also asking its affiliates whether they want to highlight any particular issues in the lead up to consultations over the 2015 Annual Growth Survey that will be published in November. The ETUC collective bargaining committee has set up a website where affiliates can input information and comments on various aspects of the European Semester. If EPSU affiliates have any concerns about collective bargaining and wages in the public services then they should contact their confederations and ensure that they raise these matters with the ETUC using the new website. Read more at > ETUC collective bargaining website (multilingual)

Collective bargaining news from around Europe

17 July 2014

The latest collective bargaining newsletter from the ETUI includes news from different sectors right across Europe. There are several items covering the public services including action in Cyprus over electricity privatisation, a 5% pay claim by the health union in the Czech Republic and an agreement in Finland to ensure that all employers working on the construction of a power plant abide by the relevant legislation and collective agreements. Read more at > ETUI (EN)

Annual survey on working time

26 June 2014

In 2013, the average collective agreed weekly working time in the European Union was 38.1 hours, the same as in 2012, according to the latest annual survey by the EIRO industrial relations observatory. The survey examined three sectors in detail and the civil service sector again recorded the shortest average agreed normal working week at 38 hours – although this represents an increase of 0.2 hours compared with 2012. There was a small decrease in working hours in the sector in Sweden while the government in Portugal imposed a five-hour increase from 35 to 40 hours although this is being resisted by the trade unions, particularly in the local government sector. Read more at > EIRO (EN)

Survey reveals trend to decentralise collective bargaining

26 June 2014

A new study by the EIRO industrial relations observatory has found significant changes to wage-setting systems across Europe following the crisis. There have been developments in relation to the main level of collective bargaining, the extent of coordination. the links between different levels of bargaining as well as changes to extension arrangements and procedures for continuing agreements. Not surprising the most dramatic changes have been in Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Romania and Spain where the attacks on collective bargaining have been mainly imposed by national governments collaborating with or under pressure from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Read more at > EIRO (EN)

GDF-Suez challenged over sub-contracting

26 June 2014

European trade union federations, EPSU and industriAll - joined with national unions in the GDF-Suez energy multinational to raise serious concerns about the impact of sub-contracting by many of the group’s subsidiary companies, particularly on health and safety. The unions argue that the resurgence of fatal accidents in subcontracting operations requires urgent action and that employee representatives, together with employees and their unions demand that subcontracted employees have working conditions, rights and social guarantees equivalent to those of the subsidiaries’ employees. Read more at > EPSU (EN) plus press release (EN, FR, ES, NL, NO, PL, RO)

Employers undermining ILO over right to strike?

9 June 2014

A new report from the Friedrich Ebert Foundation in Germany looks at recent developments at the International Labour Organisation (ILO). At the 2012 International Labour Conference (ILC), employers blocked the adoption and discussion of a list of countries accused of the most serious violations of international labour and social standards according to the annual report by the Committee of Experts. It appears that employers are disputing whether ILO standards, in particular Convention no. 87, can be interpreted as providing a right to strike. The International Trade Union Confederation has published a new report that challenges this threat to trade union rights. Read more at > FES (EN) And at > ITUC (EN, ES, FR)

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