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 establish a fair remuneration system, with some salaries below the minimum wage and other inconsistencies in the pay structure.
Cross-sector agreement addresses public sector pay
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(January 2017) Trade unions and employers in the private sector have negotiated a two-year cross-sector agreement which is now up for approval by member organisations. The deal includes scope for a pay increase of 1.1% that would be negotiated at sector level but this would come on top of the 2.9% increase arising from the indexation of pay that continues to be applied at national level. The unions believe they have made some progress with the employers on a range of social issues, including early retirement, in stark contrast to the what they see as the negative approach of the government.
The CSC/ACV and FGTB/ABVV trade union confederations are planning a day of protests and strikes on 29 March to push their claims in the stalled negotiations over the biennial agreement for the private sector. This follows two days of action in February in support of the unions’ demands to increase what they say is an unacceptable 0.4% margin for negotiations over and above what’s provided by indexation. The confederations are also calling for a higher minimum wage, action on careers and retirement and a review of the legislation that regulates pay negotiations in the private sector. The CGSLB
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