The Eurofound research agency’s overview of minimum wage increases in 2021 finds lower increases than in 2020 but still with six countries in Central and Eastern Europe – Latvia, Slovenia, Poland, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Lithuania – increasing rates by over 5%. Increases of 1%-5% were recorded in 11 Member States while rates were frozen in Belgium, Spain, Greece and Estonia. However, the cross-sector negotiations in Belgium recently included a commitment to increase the minimum in stages over the next six years. The median increase this year across Europe at 3% is well below the 8.4% figure for
Workers in half of EU member states are denied the full statutory minimum wage because of their age, occupation or because they are workers with a disability, ETUC research has found. Age is the most common criterion with eight member states deducting up to 70% of the real rate for under-21s. Some member states also allow discrimination against seasonal workers, domestic workers, seafarers or workers with disabilities. The European Commission’s impact assessment of its draft directive on adequate minimum wages states that, rather than facilitating access to the labour market, variations from
Employment, social affairs and health ministers are due to meet at the EPSCO Council on 14 June to discuss the draft directive on minimum wages and have a policy debate on “New Challenges for Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining”. In the lead up to the meeting the ETUC has been urging national affiliates to approach their governments to underline some key messages. First, is the need for European and national institutions to be active and fulfil their obligations and engagement to ensure the respect of the right to collective bargaining. The ETUC argues that any discussion on the
On 25-26 May EPSU, along with the European trade union federations for police (EuroCOP) and military personnel (EUROMIL), organised a conference to launch a new project on trade union rights. The project will explore the extent to which public service trade unions face limitations or bans on their rights to organise, negotiate and take industrial action. The project will also focus on transposition of the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive which includes an article allowing governments to exclude certain groups of public service workers from parts of the directive. Over
Leading economists from across Europe have expressed their support for an effective directive on adequate minimum wages that would not only deliver higher pay but greater collective bargaining protection for millions of workers. The conclusion of the letter says that: “The proposed Directive is a step in the right direction, but stronger measures are needed to guarantee the respect of the right to collective bargaining for unions to negotiate better pay and conditions for workers and raise statutory minimum wages to a level which ensures at least a decent standard of living. Adequate minimum
New ETUC research reveals that safety inspections have been cut by a fifth since 2010, falling from 2.2 million annual visits to 1.7 million. Numbers fell in at least 17 countries, including in Germany where 232,000 fewer visits were made in 2018 compared to 2010 and Portugal where checks were cut in half over the same period. Over the same period the number of labour inspectors across Europe fell by more than 1000. Portugal, Malta, Cyprus, Romania and Croatia all saw inspections fall by 35%, with the average fall across the EU at 18%. The ETUC argues that the major cut in labour inspections
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.
The ETUC wants to get down to work on the minimum wage directive following the long-awaited opinion from the EU Council's legal service. The opinion confirms what the ETUC has been arguing all along that a directive is possible and legally based on the protection of working conditions (Article 153(1)(b) TFEU in conjunction with Article 153(2) TFEU). The ETUC is now calling on governments to deliver and work towards a directive that will make it possible “for workers on minimum wages to make ends meet, to pay the rent, to put food on the table for them and their families.” The ETUC added: “The
After considerable delay the European Commission published its draft directive on pay transparency which the ETUC welcomed as having many good principles but lacking the real tools to make it work in practice. While the ETUC expects the directive to reduce secrecy on pay, it is concerned that pay audits and action plans will only apply to organisations with over 250 employees. The ETUC is also critical of the fact that the directive allows employers to define which jobs to use in comparisons of equal pay for work of equal value and refers throughout to ‘workers representatives’ instead of
A new study of the impact of the pandemic in social care in eight countries reveals the problems faced by social care workers and the extent to which trade union action has helped to address issues around personal protective equipment (PPE), sick pay, working time and understaffing. There has been a shortage of PPE in all countries, but it was only in Sweden that a trade union had to take legal action for its members' right to use personal protective equipment. Increased overtime was a challenge in all countries but with split shifts being a particular problem in Sweden. The pandemic exposed
More than 24 million workers on low wages in the EU would get a pay rise if trade union proposals for the EU’s draft Directive on Adequate Minimum Wages are accepted. The ETUC is calling for a specific threshold to be included in the directive which would mean no statutory minimum wages could be set below 60% of the national median wage and 50% of the national average wage in each Member State that has a legal minimum wage. At the moment, the European Commission has only included the threshold in the draft directive as an indicative guide. ETUC Deputy General Secretary Esther Lynch said: “A
After the surge in remote working as a result of the pandemic, trade unions in Ireland, Russia and Spain have welcomed new initiatives, including legislation and collective agreements, that regulate telework. Research by the Eurofound research agency also looks into the negative and positive implications of telework for workers’ autonomy and work-life balance raising again the challenges to ensure that workers have control over their working time and underlining the importance of current discussions at European level on the right to disconnect.
The ambiguous effects of telework In 2017, a joint report from the Eurofound research agency and the International Labour Organization observed that advances in digital technology were making it easier to work anytime and anywhere. The phenomenon of telework and mobile work has been increasing
The ETUC is publishing examples of pay inequality from around in Europe in its campaign to put pressure on the European Commission to deliver on its promise of a pay transparency directive. The ETUC’s first examples from the manufacturing sector clearly how women are paid less even when their jobs require the same levels of skill and physical effort as those of men. The ETUC also points out that the Covid crisis has exposed the deep-rooted bias behind wages for professions dominated by women, with carers and cleaners recognised as ‘essential’ despite being amongst the lowest paid. ETUC (EN+FR)
The Eurofound research agency has published a review on industrial relations developments across Europe in the period 2015-2019. It notes concerns in some sectors that social partner requests for implementation of their agreements through European legislation have been rejected, and that better links between EU and national levels are needed. It also argues that investing in social dialogue in ‘good times’ helps to ensure that it can be depended on in times of crisis. A review of first policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic shows that social partner involvement was generally more robust in