Jun. 05, 2020 On 3 June, the European Commission launched the second-stage consultation on an initiative to deliver fair minimum wages. The deadline for responses is 4 September. In an initial reaction, the ETUC welcomed the greater emphasis on collective bargaining. However, there is no detailed proposal from the Commission. The ETUC has underlined the importance of action on wages, noting the impact of the current crisis and the fact that in several countries wages have yet to recover from the previous crisis. A draft response is due from the ETUC shortly and this will be discussed at an EPSU collective bargaining working group on 19 June.
May. 08, 2020 The ETUC has published a first COVID-19 Watch briefing on social dialogue across Europe. Covering 20 countries, the briefing indicates that in most countries trade unions have been involved in various degrees in consultation and negotiation over emergency measures. This includes Spain and Italy, two of the countries worst hit by the pandemic. In France, the situation is more mixed with some limitation on trade union involvement in discussing key measures. More worrying have been the developments in Croatia, Hungary and Poland. While the Croatian withdrew plans to limit trade union and employment rights, emergency legislation in Hungary and Poland allows for major restrictions on social dialogue and trade union rights.
May. 08, 2020 Global trade union federations have welcomed the initiative of the ENGIE energy multinational to commit to cover any hospitalisation and death-related costs arising from the COVID-19 virus for any of its 170000 employees around the world. The company is bringing forward implementation of a new CARE programme for employees that would provide help with such costs but, in the period up to 31 December 2020, is boosting this by providing full coverage of hospitalization costs related to COVID-19 and for employees temporarily without social protection providing all-cause death cover and reimbursement of hospital costs related to the disease.
Mar. 05, 2020 The ETUC used an event in Brussels on 25 February to underline the need for legislation to end pay secrecy clauses, deliver compulsory annual pay audits and the right for workers to request gender pay information from their employers. While information helps, the ETUC also stresses that it is not enough to end inequality in pay and that a directive is needed to empower women workers and their unions to negotiate the changes needed to ensure equal pay in the workplace. Representatives of EPSU joined the action.
Mar. 05, 2020 The ETUC has revealed the latest data showing the decline in collective bargaining coverage across Europe. The ETUC has been pressing the case for action on wages and collective bargaining and set out a range of key demands and red lines in its submission to the European Commission's consultation on fair minimum wages. Figures from the University of Amsterdam show that 3.3 million fewer workers are covered by collective bargaining compared to 2000. The biggest percentage declines have been seen in Romania, Greece and Bulgaria.
Feb. 21, 2020 The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) has released figures showing how pay increases in many countries across Europe have lagged behind productivity developments over the period 2010-2019. Wage rises in 15 European Union Member States have been anything from 0.2% to 35% lower than productivity increase over that period. The ETUC is calling for "action to support stronger collective bargaining. When workers can bargain for their fair share of productivity gains the median wage increases which makes it more likely that 60% of the median wage amounts to a minimum wage from which workers can make a living."
Feb. 03, 2020 As the debate continues during the first phase consultation over the European Commission's proposals on fair minimum wages, the ETUC is highlighting the need for a major boost to legal minimum wages across Europe. It argues that in most of the 22 EU member states with a statutory national minimum wage it fails to meet even the minimal at risk-of-poverty wage threshold of 60% of the median wage. In 10 member states, the statutory minimum is 50% or less of the national median wage.
Jan. 21, 2020 On 14 January the European Commission published a document on fair wages, launching a six-week consultation process with trade unions and employer organisations. The ETUC welcomed some key points in the document such as the acknowledgement that wage in many countries were too low and that collective bargaining is an essential element of a social market economy. However, it was also disappointed that the document was very short on concrete measures, particularly in relation to strengthening and extending collective bargaining. The ETUC is drafting a response that will be discussed at its collective bargaining committee on 31 January and EPSU has convened a working group on 30 January to discuss the document.
Jan. 09, 2020 Around 50000 European public service officials and other workers employed by the European institutions and agencies are getting a 2% pay increase backdated to 1 July 2019. This is the result of the application of a pay formula obtained following lengthy strike action organised by EPSU affiliate Union Syndicale Fédérale in the 1980s and 90s and incorporated in the Staff Regulations since 2004. The formula guarantees that the purchasing power of these workers develops in line with inflation and the pay of officials in the central governments of the 28 member states with 1.5% due to inflation in Belgium and Luxemburg and the other 0.5% based on the average increase of the purchasing power of officials in central governments.
Dec. 06, 2019 The International Labour Organisation has produced a new report that examines the scope of collective bargaining in public administration. Along with specific country examples, including Denmark and Spain, from Europe, the report looks at recent developments and the extent to which collective bargaining covers issues such as information and consultation, dispute resolution measures, facilities for trade unions, gender equality and decent work. As one of the conclusions the report notes that fewer and fewer governments are excluding pay from collective bargaining.
Dec. 06, 2019 The ETUI has published data on strike activity across Europe, including an interactive strike map that provides details on total number of days not worked per 1000 workers. Information on each country also includes the frequency of strikes and total number of workers involved. Detailed information on the right to strike was published earlier this year by EPSU in country factsheets that were coordinated for EPSU by the ETUI.
Nov. 20, 2019 The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has just produced a report emphasising the role that collective bargaining can play in meeting new labour market challenges. The report highlights the positive role that collective bargaining, particularly coordinated bargaining, can play in reducing inequality and supporting economic growth. It notes that some adaptation is required, particularly action to reduce the number of non-standard workers who are not covered by collective agreements. The report also argues that "state regulations need to leave space for collective bargaining, and local representative structures and promote (or not at least not discourage) self-organisation by workers and employers."
Nov. 07, 2019 Research by the ETUC reveals that parents in seven EU member states will benefit from new rights as a result of the work-life balance directive that was adopted by the European Council in June. However, this will depend on national governments properly implementing the legislation over the next three years. Fathers in Italy, Croatia and Slovakia are set to receive paid paternity leave around the birth of a child for the first time ever while the directive should at least double the length of paid paternity leave in the Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Portugal and Romania.
Oct. 24, 2019 The latest issue of the ETUI's collective bargaining newsletter covers as usual all EU Member States and more with over 65 articles including news from Croatia where the government has backed down from increasing the retirement age from 65 to 67 after a union campaign. There are also news items covering strikes in Greece and Hungary, action by youth workers in the Netherlands and an initiative on lifelong learning to support energy workers in Estonia.
Oct. 09, 2019 The latest biennial report from the Eurofound research agency finds that there have not been any significant developments in working time across Europe. The average working week remains at 38 hours. Public administration is one of the specific sectors analysed where weekly hours averaged 37.6 in both 2018 and 2017. The report noted some specific sector developments with particularly negative legislation passed in Hungary affecting public administration allowing for longer hours and more flexibility. More positive agreements were noted in Estonia (health) and Greece (local government and waste).