The ETUC joined the CCOO and UGT trade union confederations in a meeting with European Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis to ensure that Spain’s recovery plan would not be subject to austerity conditions. The government is proposing a labour reform that would reverse a 2012 law, which pushed down wages by ending sectoral collective bargaining in favour of weaker company level deals. In a newspaper interview which came in the middle of social dialogue between trade unions and employers on the issue, Dombrovskis appeared to oppose the reform. Following the meeting the ETUC felt reassured that
Collective Bargaining, Precarious employment
Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
The Fórsa public services trade union has published a new report to support its call on the government to “harness the productive power of sectoral bargaining” which it argues will improve wage levels and pay equality. The report puts Ireland near the bottom of the scale on worker representation and participation in economic decision-making and argues that collective bargaining can deliver benefits to both workers and employers, while underpinning better outcomes for society and the economy as a whole. The report would contribute to the work of the high-level working group which is examining
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
The public service federations in the CCOO and UGT confederations have set out a number of demands on the government to take effective measures solve the persistent problem of temporary employment in the public sector. As long ago as 2017 an agreement was negotiated to get temporary employment below 8% in the follow-up to legal rulings on excessive use of temporary contracts. The unions underline the importance of consolidating temporary staff into permanent positions taking account of their experience. The unions also want to see measures are taken that will ensure permanent reductions in
The Sanitas health union is calling on the government to offer permanent employment to the many medical and auxiliary workers who were taken on to help cope with the pandemic. These workers will see their contracts terminated once the end of the emergency is declared. The union argues that these workers have clearly demonstrated their skills and competences in helping to deal with the crisis with many facing high risks of infection and some even losing their lives to COVID. Sanitas also sees continuing staff shortages as another argument for offering these workers permanent employment.
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
The three main trade union confederations are pleased that, following the national day of action on 29 March 29, the government agreed to separate negotiations on welfare from those on pay. This was a key demand of the trade unions who agreed to approve the funds allocated to a range of payments from unemployment benefit to pensions. The budget of more than 700 million euros intended to maintain the lowest benefit rates should have been implemented last September, but the employers wanted to link it to an agreement on wages. The unions are disappointed that it took so long to arrive at an
The three public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa – have set out the main aims for the new round of collective bargaining in central government. The federations are positive about the negotiations taking place in the framework of the pact for innovation in public services agreed recently with the government. The unions have a broad range of issues that they want to see addressed including: a revision of the staff classification and grading system; a review of pay and career progression; improved industrial relations and information and consultation; strengthening supplementary
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.
Government, trade unions and employers signed a new cross-sector agreement on 31 March that includes a wide range of provisions, among them three key points: adoption of the International Labour Organization Centenary Declaration on the Future of the World of Work; amendments to the Constitution covering the special role of social partnership in the regulation of social and labour relations; and the need to take into account the pandemic when formulating measures to protect workers. The agreement also highlights issues that need to be addressed in relation to public sector pay in order to
Six trade unions are coming together to take strike action over jobs and precarious employment in the public sector in the Basque region. The unions are responding to the failure of the regional government to address public employment and the persistently high levels of temporary contracts across the public sector. Action is planned for 22 April across all the main public services – municipalities, health, education, general administration, justice, public transport, public media and other sectors. The unions want to see the thousands of temporary workers who have been crucial to tackling the