May. 02, 2019 The Eurofound research agency has published a new report that looks at the rules on rest breaks at work across Europe. These cover both legislation and the kinds of rules included in collective agreements. The report finds considerable variety with different approaches to whether breaks are paid or unpaid and whether or not they are included in working time. The overview includes information on rules for specific categories of workers such as pregnant women, young workers and those employed in arduous occupations. While not a major area of legal dispute, the report highlights some recent court cases which tend to focus on the question of pay. There is a section on the health implications of having or not having proper breaks as well as the impact on performance and productivity.
May. 01, 2019 EPSU is running a series of training seminars this year and next to provide support for affiliates who are facing up to the challenges of digitalisation. The five regional seminars will be open to all EPSU affiliates with a focus on participants who are involved in collective bargaining. The first seminar will take place in Bucharest on 24-25 September, followed by one in Lisbon on 19-20 November. Further details (in 19 languages) of the training project which is receiving financial support from the European Commission can be found on the EPSU website. The invitations to the first seminar will be sent out in June.
May. 01, 2019 On 29 April EPSU signed a landmark agreement with the French-based Korian social care multinational to set up a European works council (EWC). The agreement comes two years after EPSU took the initiative to bring together affiliates that organise in the company to form a network with a view to establishing an EWC. EPSU believes this is an important step in improving information and consultation in the company and sets the standard for other multinationals in the fast-growing social care sector.
May. 01, 2019 The latest issue of the Journal of International Trade Union Rights features a number of articles examining the extent to which public service workers find their rights restricted in relation to organising, collective bargaining or the right to take collective action. Nadja Salson of EPSU contributed an article highlighting two developments. First, is EPSU's legal action against the European Commission over its failure to put forward the information and consultation agreement in central government to the European Council for transposition into a directive and the second is the loophole in the Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions Directive that allows Member States to exclude public service workers from its provisions. The journal also includes an article based on the right to strike factsheets covering 34 countries and produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute.
Apr. 16, 2019 The latest labour cost figures published by the Eurostat agency show that the highest increases were recorded in Eastern Europe but where average costs remain the lowest across the European Union. There were double-digit increases in Romania, Latvia and Lithuania with Hungary not far behind at just under 10%. Average hourly labour costs in Europe range from 5.40 in Bulgaria to 43.5 in Denmark with the average at 27.4 in the European Union and 30.6 in the Eurozone. The data excludes agriculture and public administration.
Apr. 16, 2019 The ETUC has published a report examining legal issues arising from new forms of employment. It hopes that it will make an important contribution to the debate around what action to take to provide protection for workers who fall outside the normal framework of labour and social legislation. The legal experts who compiled the report included a proposal for a new “personal work relation” that might help tackle these issues.
Mar. 28, 2019 The 2019 edition of Benchmarking Europe, published by the European Trade Union Institute, reveals the continuing impact of austerity with data showing that workers in eight countries are, on average, worse off in real terms than they were 10 years ago. The eight countries are Greece, Croatia, Cyprus, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Hungary and the UK. In a further two countries - Finland and Belgium - average wages are at the same level as 10 years ago, taking account of inflation.
Mar. 15, 2019 The European Trade Union Institute suggests that prospects for a European minimum wage could move up the political agenda when Germany takes over the EU Presidency next year. The German government has indicated its support for a debate on the issue which is supported by the DGB, the national confederation. A new report by the trade union-backed WSI research institute confirms that there have been significant increases in several minimum wage rates across Europe but that the majority of countries still have rates that are well below the 60% median wage target,
Mar. 01, 2019 The European Trade Union Institute has published updates on several countries in its Reforms Watch database. Latest news covers Greece (minimum wage), Slovenia (public sector pay), Portugal (strike activity) and Ireland (legislation to ban zero-hour contracts). There are also updates on Luxembourg, Malta, Belgium, Cyprus and Hungary.
Feb. 28, 2019 The Eurofound research agency has published a short analysis of recent minimum wage increases ahead of its more detailed annual report. The largest increases were recorded in Spain (+22% to €1,050), Greece (+11% to €758, 14 payments of EUR 650) and Bulgaria (+10% to €261). However, in Greece, it represents only the first increase since 2012 when the rate was slashed as part of austerity measures. Lithuanian workers saw a rise of 7.5% but with changes to taxation the take home pay of those on the minimum wage has risen by 39% (to €555).
Feb. 15, 2019 The January issue of the European Trade Union Institute's Collective Bargaining newsletter includes over 70 articles covering more than 30 countries. This edition has several reports on developments in the public services, including action in prison services in Bulgaria, pay in the public sector in Slovenia and several stories on health and social care workers in Ireland, Italy, Malta and Poland.
Feb. 15, 2019The ETUC is calling on the European institutions to swiftly adopt the agreement on setting up a European Labour Authority (ELA). The ETUC believes the ELA will strengthen workers’ rights by helping national authorities apply and enforce European labour law and to fight abuses in labour mobility, social security and the posting of workers. The Authority will also have a role in providing information to workers and employers on their rights and obligations, coordinate and support inspections and facilitate cooperation between Member States in applying and enforcing EU law.
Feb. 15, 2019 With hundreds of thousands of public service workers taking strike action across Europe in recent weeks - in Belgium, France, Italy, Portugal, the UK, Austria and Germany - it is timely that EPSU is publishing factsheets on the right to strike in 35 countries. The factsheets have been produced for EPSU by the European Trade Union Institute. Some groups of public service workers often face bans or restrictions on their right to strike and these factsheets set out the main rules. They also cover international case law and list international standards, such as International Labour Organisation conventions, and whether each country has signed up to them.
Feb. 15, 2019
The right to strike varies considerably across Europe, often with specific rules and restrictions imposed on public service workers. The European Trade Union Institute has produced 35 country factsheets that explain the latest legal situation. EPSU has also begun to add countries outside the European Union and candidate countries, starting with Moldova, Russia and the Ukraine and further factsheets will follow.
Feb. 14, 2019 The ETUC has welcomed elements of the latest version of the draft Directive on Transparent and Predictable Working Conditions but is disappointed that some hoped-for rights, such as a ban on zero-hours contracts, have not materialised. It notes the new rights in relation to training, probation, payment for cancelled shifts and working for more than one employer. The ETUC was also calling for the right for precarious workers to transfer to more secure forms of employment and is disappointed that workers on fewer than 12 hours a month will be excluded. EPSU reacted similarly but also underlined its concern that the Directive includes a loophole that would allow a broad range of public service workers to be denied certain rights.