Low pay/minimum wages, Precarious employment
Proposals to reform the labour code have been criticised by a range of trade union and student organisations. The CGT and FO confederations were joined by thousands of students in protests on 9 March calling for he withdrawal of the planned changes. Other union organisations, including the CFDT and UNSA, are pushing for changes to the reforms, particuarly in relation to measures that will make it easier for employers to carry out redundancies. They plan to mobilise for 12 March and warn of further action if the government doesn't make the necessary changes.
(January 2017) There was strong support for a health workers' strike on 20 January with unions calling for action on pay, career development and the application of the 35-hour week for all public service workers. On 3 February non-teaching staff in schools and kindergartens plan a 24-hour strike with demands to tackle precarious employment, to increase recruitment and create a proper career structure.
(January 2017) The vida private services union is calling for a EUR 1500 minimum wage in collective agreements across the private sector. The union says that over 350000 workers are covered by collective agreements where the minimum wage is below EUR 1500, two thirds of these workers are women. The agreements include some in the private care and health service sectors. Once the EUR 1500 is reached then the next step will the the EUR 1700 target set by the OEGB trade union confederation.
(January 2017) White-collar union Vision has set out its main bargaining demands in its negotiations with the KFS organisation for local enterprises. The union wants to see competitive salaries and action to improve well-being at work. It also wants employees to be on permanent contracts with employers providing objective justifications for any use of fixed-term contracts of agency staff. Longer paid holidays, individual working time accounts and shorter hours for workers in establishment requiring 24-hour cover are also among the demands.
(February 2017) The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter covers a wide range of sector and general news on pay and conditions. This month there are several articles on minimum wage developments - Austria, Germany, Portugal and Slovenia - as well as the debate at European level. Nurses' pay features in articles from Ireland and the Czech Republic and working time - in terms of shorter hours and gender differences is covered in stories from Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden.
(February 2017) The Eurofound research agency has published a new analysis of minimum wage rates across the EU noting the increase in rates, particularly across Eastern Europe. The article confirms, however, that there is still a wide range of rates across the continent, ranging from EUR 1999 in Luxembourg to EUR 238 in Bulgaria. Of the 22 EU countries with statutory minimum wages all have seen an increase in real terms since 2010 with the exception of Greece where the Troika pressured a previous government to cut the rate substantially.
(February 2017) Negotiators in the private manufacturing sector signed a new three-year deal last month. This is seen as a key agreement setting the pace for negotiations in other sectors. In the public services, the FOA union noted in particular the proposals for new funding and rights for workers for training as well as improved parental leave. FOA also underlines the flat-rate, two-crown (EUR 0.3) increase in the minimum hourly pay rates in each of the three years of the agreement. Which will take the minimum to DKK 117.65 (EUR 16.1) by 2019.
(March 2017) After years of campaigning, workers in social care might see some respite from the race to the bottom on contract costs and pay. The government has approved an order in council that requires municipalities to adopt fair and equitable rates for home care. This should end the situation where local authorities were issuing tenders which providers could only meet by cutting costs and for workers this meant either losing their job or seeing a massive cut in pay.