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Court ruling on working time may benefit home care and other mobile workers

30 September 2015

The European Court of Justice has ruled that workers without a fixed or habitual place of work should have their journey time between their homes and the first and last customer of the day counted as working time. The case involved a Spanish security company that closed its regional office and required workers to work from home. The Court found in favour of the case brought by the FSP-CCOO federation and the case could have significant implications for many other sectors where workers have not fixed workplace and have to travel directly from home to different clients, customers or patients. Trade unions in the UK, for example, believe that this could be an important development for home care workers many of whom lose out and effectively are paid less than the minimum wage because their initial and final travelling time during the working day is not counted as working time. Read more on the judgement at > ECJ (EN) And at > Unison And at > GMB

Long working hours pose threat to health

30 September 2015

Long working hours can have a serious impact on workers’ health as well as safety at work. Earlier this year, the Lancet medical journal in the UK published a major review of research covering over 600,000 men and women. The key conclusion was that longer working hours increase the risk of strokes compared to standard working hours. It found that individuals who work 55 hours or more per week have a 1·3-times higher risk of incident of strokes than those working standard hours (35-40 hours a week. At the end of 2015 the European health and safety agency, OSHA, published a study of the health sector which included data highlighting the clear increase in the risk of accidents as workers work beyond eight hours day. Read more on the health risks at > EPSU Read more on the accident risks at > EPSU

Survey highlights latest working time trends

30 September 2015

The Eurofound annual survey of working time for 2014 reveals few major changes across Europe. At the cross sector level figures for average collectively agreed working time showed small changes in the UK (-0.3 hours), Slovakia (-0.1 hours), Sweden (+0.1 hours) and Spain (+0.5 hours, after an increase of 0.3 hours in 2013. In its sector analysis, there are figures for public administration which show an increase of 1.1 hours in Spain (to a weekly average of 36.7 hours) and a reduction in the UK of 0.5 hours (down to 37.2 hours). Read more at > Eurofound

Unions face challenges on working time

30 September 2015

In recent months governments in Lithuania, Finland and Norway have proposed or implemented changes to working time legislation that have been attacked by the trade union movement. The Lithuanian trade unions organised a demonstration on 10 September against wide-ranging changes to the labour code that include reductions to overtime payments and an increase to the maximum working week from 48 to 60 hours. Meanwhile the confederations in Finland organised protests across the country to government plans to legislate on a number of aspects of working conditions that would include limits imposed on annual leave. Earlier in the year the Norwegian government passed a new Work Environment Act that included increased flexibility on some working time rules, including overtime and Sunday working, although trade unions have a role in agreeing these arrangements at local level. Read more on Lithuania at > EPSU Read more on Finland at > EPSU Read more on Norway at > Eurofound

Consultation response examines all aspects of gender equality

17 July 2015
PDF - 650.1 kb
Eurofound - gender equaltiy

The Eurofound research organisation has produced a comprehensive response to the European Commission’s consultation on gender equality. The response runs through a very wide range of issues from the gender pay gap to violence against women and from the vital importance to care services to the distribution of domestic responsibilities. For each subject covered the response provides a link to the relevant Eurofound publication(s).

Report analyses challenges of outsourcing for trade unions

16 July 2015

A new report from the European Trade Union Institute analyses the impact of outsourcing across a range of sectors including local government. A comparison of experiences in Italy, Denmark and the UK reveals the extent to which pay and employment conditions are affected as well as the impact on working conditions. Read more at > ETUI (EN)

Collective bargaining news from around Europe

15 July 2015

The latest edition of the collective bargaining newsletter from the European Trade Union Institute includes over 75 articles covering news from 34 countries. There are several articles featuring developments in the public services, covering among others Belgium, Bulgaria, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands and Portugal. Read more at > ETUI (EN)

ETUC hits out at Five Presidents’ report

26 June 2015

ETUC general secretary Bernadette Ségol has sharply criticised a key proposal in the Five Presidents’ report on closer economic and monetary union. The report, from the presidents of the European Commission, Central Bank, Council, Eurogroup and Parliament, puts forward the idea of national competitiveness councils to monitor and recommend on wage developments. The ETUC argues that this undermines the autonomy of the social partners and reflects, once again, the European institutions’ obsessions with wages rather than with serious measures to reform the financial sector which was the central cause of the economic and financial crisis. Read more at > ETUC (EN/FR)

Report reveals increase in wage inequality

11 June 2015

A report from the Eurofound industrial relations observatory shows that following the economic and financial crisis wage inequality increased, mainly as a result of rising inequalities within countries. This reversed the trend seen in the years up to 2008. Only eastern European Member States experienced a decline in wage inequality over the whole period, while other Member States saw increasing overall inequality levels against a background of growing unemployment. Read more at > Eurofound (EN)

Trade union researchers debate labour movement challenges

11 June 2015

Collective bargaining, social dialogue, equality and economic policy were all among the main debates at the seventh conference of the TURI network that brings together labour movement-linked research organisations. Presentations available at > TURI

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