Jul. 11, 2019 The ETUC has call on the next European Commission to introduce a legislative instrument that recognises this increased risk to workers of increasing temperatures and provides a framework for protecting workers. The ETUC argues that weather conditions do not respect national borders and so European action is required. Other parts of the world have legislation but Europe has no binding law on safe maximum working temperatures. The ETUC says that currently maximum (and minimum) permissible working temperatures vary widely across different Member States and across sectors and companies.
Jul. 11, 2019 Employees of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and a number of other international bodies, including NATO and the Council of Europe, joined a protest in Paris on 2 July in opposition to threats to change pension arrangements. The Member Countries of the Coordination System are calling for changes to the CPS pension scheme that was closed 17 years ago. This could involve raising the age of pension entitlement; adjusting pensions to inflation and not to salaries; and removing entitlement to the education allowance for pensioners. The OECD staff association and other union organisations are concerned that if the changes are pushed through there would even be a risk of further cuts.
Jun. 27, 2019 On the final day of its centenary conference the International Labour Organisation agreed a new Convention, the first since 2011, against violence and harassment at work. The Convention defines “violence and harassment” as behaviours, practices or threats “that aim at, result in, or are likely to result in physical, psychological, sexual or economic harm.” The Convention covers anyone at the workplace including interns and volunteers and has a broad definition of what constitutes the workplace. There is an accompanying Recommendation which sets out how the Convention should be implemented.
Jun. 21, 2019 The latest report on global trade union rights from the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) reveals a deterioration of workers’ rights across the world. The greatest increase in cases where workers were denied the right to establish or join a trade union was experienced in Europe where 50% of countries now exclude groups of workers, up from 20% in 2018. The report also highlights the fact that “Europe, traditionally the mainstay of collective bargaining rights, saw companies in Estonia, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain seek to undermine or circumvent workers’ rights.”
Jun. 20, 2019 The latest issue of the Collective Bargaining Newsletter produced by the European Trade Union Institute includes over 70 articles covering developments in over 30 countries. Among the more interesting this month are moves to a four-day week in Austria, action by outsourced workers in Cyprus, strikes by ambulance staff in Ireland, action by nursery workers in Spain and pay offers from Glasgow City Council in Scotland to resolve the equal pay dispute there.
Jun. 20, 2019 A survey of European wage developments by the Hans Böckler research organisation finds an upward trend since 2017, with the highest increases recorded in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). Overall real wage increases across Europe averaged 0.9% in 2018, twice the level of 2017 and the figure so far for the current year is at 1.0%. The median increase in the 11 countries of North and West Europe was 0.6% in 2018, rising to 1.1% so far this year, contrasting with the higher figures for CEE countries of 5.2% in 2018 and 3.7% in 2019. The six countries in Southern Europe registered lower increases - a median of 0.2% in 2018 and 1.0% so far in 2019.
May. 29, 2019 The SUEPO trade union, representing staff at the European Patent Office (EPO), says that it will take strike action in June unless management responds to a series of key demands on fair pay and fair treatment of workers. There had been a very difficult industrial relations climate at EPO for some time but with the appointment of a new president last year there was some hope for an improvement. However, a recent staff survey reveals continuing problems and more or less a continuation of the hardline management of the old regime. A ballot for strike action will have to take place by the middle of June for a strike to take place at the end of June to coincide with the EPO administrative council.
May. 29, 2019 A new report from the Eurofound research agency, based on the European Working Conditions Survey, reveals key factors influencing health and well-being at work. While regulations on working time are important in restricting excessive hours, the report warns that work intensity and flexibility also need to be addressed. It also says that working arrangements are an important element and that more job control can help improve well-being along with the basic factors that demonstrate a recognition of a worker's skills and commitment, including pay, career prospects and job security.
May. 29, 2019 A working paper from the European Trade Union Institute, written by former European Commission official Jean-Paul Tricart, puts the spotlight on the way that the current Commission has followed its predecessor in moving away from a 20-year approach in support of social dialogue. While launching a process aimed ostensibly at the strengthening the social dialogue, the report argues that the current Commission has chosen "at will those outcomes of social dialogue that it would promote and those that it would not, and even those that it would go all out to discourage, lampoon or oppose." This leaves open the debate "as regards the legitimacy of the selective, restrictive approach."
May. 28, 2019 A new analysis covering wage and productivity developments in 25 EU countries indicates that pay for most workers has not risen in line with productivity. The report says that there is still a clear link between wages and productivity in most countries and that the trend has been for the two to be more in alignment in recent years. However, this development has yet to compensate fully for the 25-year period up to 1994 when wages lagged behind productivity.
May. 16, 2019 On 14 May the European Court of Justice (ECJ) issued an important ruling that effectively requires Member States to establish rules for employers to record their employees' working time. In a case about overtime brought against Deutsche Bank by the FS-CCOO services federation in Spain, the ECJ stated that workers' rights to protection as afforded by the Working Time Directive cannot be properly ensured unless there is an objective measure of their working hours. The Court said it is up to Member States how they ensure that employers comply with the ruling.
May. 02, 2019 The Eurofound research agency has published a new report that looks at the rules on rest breaks at work across Europe. These cover both legislation and the kinds of rules included in collective agreements. The report finds considerable variety with different approaches to whether breaks are paid or unpaid and whether or not they are included in working time. The overview includes information on rules for specific categories of workers such as pregnant women, young workers and those employed in arduous occupations. While not a major area of legal dispute, the report highlights some recent court cases which tend to focus on the question of pay. There is a section on the health implications of having or not having proper breaks as well as the impact on performance and productivity.
May. 01, 2019 EPSU is running a series of training seminars this year and next to provide support for affiliates who are facing up to the challenges of digitalisation. The five regional seminars will be open to all EPSU affiliates with a focus on participants who are involved in collective bargaining. The first seminar will take place in Bucharest on 24-25 September, followed by one in Lisbon on 19-20 November. Further details (in 19 languages) of the training project which is receiving financial support from the European Commission can be found on the EPSU website. The invitations to the first seminar will be sent out in June.
May. 01, 2019 On 29 April EPSU signed a landmark agreement with the French-based Korian social care multinational to set up a European works council (EWC). The agreement comes two years after EPSU took the initiative to bring together affiliates that organise in the company to form a network with a view to establishing an EWC. EPSU believes this is an important step in improving information and consultation in the company and sets the standard for other multinationals in the fast-growing social care sector.