Jan. 17, 2019 The latest collective bargaining newsletter from the European Trade Union Institute includes articles on all European Union member states and candidate countries and more. Among the public sector news items are reports of legislation in Latvia providing for 20% pay increases for health workers and a court victory in the UK for the FBU firefighters' union over changes to pension ages.
Jan. 04, 2019 On 17 December the European trade unions and employers in central government administrations signed guidelines on tackling violence and harassment. This extends coverage to 8.9 million public employees and civil servants in addition to the millions of workers who are already covered by the guidelines adopted in 2010 in local and regional government, hospitals, education, commerce, and private security. While not legally binding, the guidelines provide basic yet fundamental guidance on how to put in place a policy and a procedure to prevent and deal with harassment and violent acts, in close consultation of workers and their trade union representatives.
Dec. 05, 2018 The ETUI research organisation has published a new report and issue of its health and safety magazine, HesaMag, that both cover the risks of workplace cancers. As many as 100000 deaths a year are linked to workplace carcinogens but it is not just hazardous substances that are of concern. The ETUI publications also cover other risks such as night work which has been linked to higher risk of breast cancer with some specific cases affecting hospital staff. HesaMag also looks at the problems of getting proper recognition of the risks faced by workers in sectors like cleaning, maintenance and waste-recycling.
Dec. 03, 2018 In a case involving a Russian railworker who was dismissed after a one-day strike over pay, the European Court of Human Rights has confirmed that the right to strike falls under the protection of Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights as an important aspect of the right to freedom of association. The court based its arguments on conclusions of the International Labour Organisation's supervisory bodies, which take the right to strike as an indispensable corollary of the freedom of association.
Nov. 30, 2018 EPSU has published a report that compares pay developments in the public and private sectors in 44 countries over the period 2003 to 2017. One of the main findings of the report, written by the Labour Research Department, is the greater impact of austerity on public sector pay trends in the European Union compared to countries outside the EU. The survey found 10 states where there was similar pay growth in both the public and private sector before the crisis, but since then the public sector has fallen behind (eight EU states and two outside the EU) and there were four states where public sector earnings were already growing more slowly than private sector earnings and the financial crisis made this worse (all in the EU).
Nov. 30, 2018 EPSU affiliates have had a busy year fighting for pay rises and improvements in employment and working and conditions for their members across Europe. A round-up of key developments highlights some of the major conflicts and calls for solidarity, including the public sector pay dispute in Denmark in the spring, the equal pay strike in Glasgow in November and the support built across the Orpea social care multinational for striking workers in Germany. EPSU's collective bargaining newsletter has covered all these and more in its 300+ articles reporting on health, social services, local, regional and national government, energy, waste and water in over 30 countries.
Nov. 23, 2018 EPSU has joined with the PSI, ETUC, ITUC and other labour movement organisations in calling for an International Labour Organisation Convention against gender-based violence at the workplace. The call comes on the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which takes place on 25 November every year. A draft text is under discussion and could be agreed at the ILO conference next year although the ETUC has concerns that some European governments are trying to get the text watered down.
Oct. 26, 2018 The ETUC has produced a new leaflet on the rights of the 22 million workers in the EU (10% of the total) who are self-employed and have no employees. The ETUC points out that they often have fewer rights than employees. For instance, in some countries they have no right to join a trade union and to benefit from union protection and support. This brochure looks at why self-employed workers need better rights, what unions are doing about this and what the priorities are for the future?
Oct. 10, 2018 A new report from the Eurofound research agency analyses trends in collectively negotiated wages compared to productivity over the 2000-2017 period. The report says that: "From an employee perspective...applying harmonised consumer prices, wages per employee have grown more slowly than productivity since the beginning of the millennium and the gap has been widening, despite hourly wages having been more aligned." It adds that: "In most countries with available data (14 EU Member States), there has been a positive wage drift since the early 2000s, indicating that actual wages have grown more than collectively agreed pay."
Oct. 10, 2018 A new report from the Committee on Workers' Capital reveals the obscure way in which many fund managers charge costs to pension funds. It makes suggestions and provides guidance on how these costs can be made public and how this contributes to better pension fund performance and ultimately to higher pay-outs.
Sep. 14, 2018 The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says that the proposals for Pan-European Personal Pensions (PEPP) should include stronger protection for workers' savings. The ETUC welcomed some improvements voted through by the European Parliament related to regulation and preferential treatment of schemes with good governance. However, it underlined that initiatives like PEPP should not be used to undermine collective and publicly-provided pension schemes which need to be maintained and strengthened.
Sep. 14, 2018 The latest issue of Collective Bargaining News from the European Trade Union Institute includes nearly 100 articles covering all sectors from over 30 countries. There are several news stories from EPSU sectors including reports on a dispute in the waste sector in Belgium, the impact of austerity on health in Greece, calls for consultation over job cuts in Hungary and a strike of cleaners at the Ministry of Justice in the UK.
Sep. 14, 2018 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has published two reports on collective bargaining and social dialogue. A working paper on social dialogue in public services was published to mark the 40th anniversary of ILO Convention 151 on labour relations in the public services. It covers three of the European social dialogue committees in which EPSU is involved along with examples of how social dialogue works in Italy, Denmark and the Czech and Slovak Republics. The ILO's report on extension of collective agreements provides evidence on the important role that this process can play in reducing inequality and countering unfair competition by providing a level playing field at sector level.
Aug. 30, 2018 There has been some improvement in industrial relations at the European Patent Office (EPO). As we reported in 2016 (November epsucob@NEWS 15) there had been considerable conflict in the organisation with several trade union representatives dismissed and who took up cases through the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The chair of the EPO union in Munich, Ion Brumme resumed his job in the middle of August, two and a half years after his dismissal. Both he and another colleague were cleared by an ILO tribunal. Brumme has urged the new EPO president to restore relations with the SUEPO trade union. Other dismissed reps, including Laurent Prunier from the office in The Hague are still waiting for their cases to come before the ILO tribunal.
Aug. 02, 2018 The European Commission has produced a short overview of paternity and parental leave provisions across EU countries revealing that, for example, paternity leave is available in nearly all member states but the length and level of compensation vary considerably. The draft directive on work-life balance proposes two weeks' paternity leave paid at the level of sick pay. While 17 member states already have the two-week minimum only 13 offer it on the basis of at least 66% of previous earnings.