Jan. 26, 2018 The 2018 edition of the World Employment and Social Outlook from the International Labour Organisation has a generally positive analysis of unemployment trends in Europe but underlines the often poor quality of jobs being created which has also partly contributed to constraining wages. The report says that since the onset of the 2008 financial crisis, a large share of the jobs created, especially in the Euro Area, have been part-time jobs, and workers have often taken them involuntarily, owing to the lack of full-time employment opportunities.
Jan. 25, 2018 25th January will see the first of another series of partial work stoppages by home care workers in the Basque region in protest at poor pay and working conditions. The actions follow similar protests at the end of last year coordinated by the UGT, USO, ELA and LAB trade union organisations. The unions say that companies are not respecting the collective agreement and make no guarantees on hourly payments when they bid for contracts. The unions are also protesting against excessive flexibility and use of temporary contracts and the fact that workers haven't had a pay increase for five years. They will be taking their case to the Basque regional authority demanding measures to ensure quality employment and quality services in the sector.
Jan. 10, 2018 A new report from the European Trade Union Institute shows what aspects of work improved or deteriorated over the last decade. It updates the Institute's European Job Quality Index which covers a broad range of work and employment characteristics, including wages, non-wage aspects of employment and work organisation, and collective interest representation. The results indicate a decline in non-wage job quality over the past decade and sluggish real wage growth in the years following the crisis.
Jan. 10, 2018 The government has passed a decree that effectively ends outsourcing in central and local government. Outsourced workers in central government will be directly employed by the central government institutions while those in local authorities will be transferred to local authority-owned companies, rather than directly to the local authorities. The changes have been welcomed by trade unions although some have expressed concern about the difference in rights and pay and conditions for those in local authority companies and about the fact that the changes were implemented by decree with no consultation with the unions.
Jan. 05, 2018 On 20 December the European Commission published is draft directive on transparent and predictable working conditions to replace the Written Statement Directive. The initial response from the ETUC is to welcome the requirement on employers to provide information to workers on day one and to extend this right to a range of atypical workers. There are also positive measures related to training, prohibition periods, protection of trade union reps and the rights of flexible workers. However, the ETUC wants to see additional measures to tackle the worst forms of precarious employment, particularly for workers on zero-hours contracts.
Jan. 05, 2018 The three main trade unions representing workers in ministries and agencies - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP and UIL-PA - have welcomed the new agreement signed on 23 December that marks the end of almost nine years of a freeze on collective bargaining. Covering around 250000 employees, the agreement re-establishes the importance of the role of the trade unions and collective bargaining and implements the basic pay provisions set out in the public sector framework deal agreed at the end of 2016. The central government agreement has a wide range of provisions on leave, including extra leave for women who are victims of violence, study leave rights for temporary workers and improved rights to training. There are also measures to tackle precarious work, to deal with stress and burnout and to retain the 36-hour working week.
Dec. 15, 2017 Unions report a high level of support - 70%-80% in some areas - for the strike by doctors and health managers on 12 December. The action involved many organisations in the sector including FP-CGIL, UIL-FPL and CISL Medici. The strike was called in support of negotiations to renew doctors' contracts after eight years without any bargaining. But the unions are also raising issues around precarious work and training for young doctors as well as the issue of funding. The unions are criticising the government for failing to increase health funding as a percentage of GDP.
Dec. 15, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed a new two-year agreement covering 7000 workers in the waste and environment sector. Pay will increase by 6% over the two years but with a EUR 900 flat-rate increase in the second year it will mean that lower paid workers will see wages rise by 7.5%. There is also a commitment to provide permanent contracts for 360 temporary workers, to reduce hours for older staff while taking on young workers and paid partner leave at the birth of a child will now be a minimum of four weeks. Private sector waste workers are covered by a separate (transport) three-year agreement signed earlier this year with a 2% pay increase a year plus additions for specific jobs.
Nov. 30, 2017 The CGSP and CSC public service federations in Wallonia organised strike action on 30 November over the failure of the regional government to respect agreements that it has signed. The unions had been warning from early September that urgent action was required. The issues involve a commitment to permanent status for contract workers, shorter working time, filling of vacant posts to ensure service quality and revaluing low salaries for workers on the level B pay grade.
Nov. 17, 2017 The ETUC has made a number of specific proposals for revision of the Written Statement Directive. The ETUC says that the legislation should cover as many workers as possible, including the growing number of self-employed and gig economy workers. It should provide information before the start of the employment relationship and extend the information requirements, on pay and working time and other issues. The ETUC also wants to see a right to adequate remuneration and guaranteed hours (putting an end to zero-hour type contracts) and ensure online platforms do not avoid or evade their responsibilities as employers.
Nov. 09, 2017 The FeSP-UGT and CCOO federations in the public sector have come together to launch a campaign to get the government to negotiate over employment in the public sector and to adjust the budget for 2018 to begin to tackle the staffing crisis. The unions point out that not only have 350000 public sector jobs been cut since 2010 but the problem is being compounded by an ageing workforce. In social security, for example, around 48% of staff are set to retire over the next 10 years. The unions also want to ensure implementation of the agreement signed earlier this year to reduce the number of temporary contracts across the public sector.
Oct. 27, 2017 The FNV trade union has welcomed new data showing an increase of 56000 in the number of children benefitting from childcare places. The union says this good news has to be weighed against the main challenges facing the sector with many workers on precarious contracts, with variable hours and often facing high workloads. The union plans to raise the issues in the upcoming negotiations over a new collective agreement. The current agreement covers 80000 workers and expires in January. Negotiations are due to begin in November.
Oct. 27, 2017 The FSC-CCOO federation has analysed new data on public sector employment and found a worrying increase in temporary contracts. While over 58000 new workers have been taken on, more than 87% of these are on fixed-term contracts and this has taken the overall percentage of temporay contracts across the public administration from 22.9% to 24.1%. The data also shows an increase in the average age across the public administration with 43.1% now 50 or over.