Nov. 30, 2018 EPSU affiliates have had a busy year fighting for pay rises and improvements in employment and working and conditions for their members across Europe. A round-up of key developments highlights some of the major conflicts and calls for solidarity, including the public sector pay dispute in Denmark in the spring, the equal pay strike in Glasgow in November and the support built across the Orpea social care multinational for striking workers in Germany. EPSU's collective bargaining newsletter has covered all these and more in its 300+ articles reporting on health, social services, local, regional and national government, energy, waste and water in over 30 countries.
Nov. 23, 2018 EPSU has joined with the PSI, ETUC, ITUC and other labour movement organisations in calling for an International Labour Organisation Convention against gender-based violence at the workplace. The call comes on the United Nations’ International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, which takes place on 25 November every year. A draft text is under discussion and could be agreed at the ILO conference next year although the ETUC has concerns that some European governments are trying to get the text watered down.
Oct. 26, 2018 The ETUC has produced a new leaflet on the rights of the 22 million workers in the EU (10% of the total) who are self-employed and have no employees. The ETUC points out that they often have fewer rights than employees. For instance, in some countries they have no right to join a trade union and to benefit from union protection and support. This brochure looks at why self-employed workers need better rights, what unions are doing about this and what the priorities are for the future?
Oct. 10, 2018 A new report from the Eurofound research agency analyses trends in collectively negotiated wages compared to productivity over the 2000-2017 period. The report says that: "From an employee perspective...applying harmonised consumer prices, wages per employee have grown more slowly than productivity since the beginning of the millennium and the gap has been widening, despite hourly wages having been more aligned." It adds that: "In most countries with available data (14 EU Member States), there has been a positive wage drift since the early 2000s, indicating that actual wages have grown more than collectively agreed pay."
Oct. 10, 2018 A new report from the Committee on Workers' Capital reveals the obscure way in which many fund managers charge costs to pension funds. It makes suggestions and provides guidance on how these costs can be made public and how this contributes to better pension fund performance and ultimately to higher pay-outs.
Sep. 14, 2018 The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) says that the proposals for Pan-European Personal Pensions (PEPP) should include stronger protection for workers' savings. The ETUC welcomed some improvements voted through by the European Parliament related to regulation and preferential treatment of schemes with good governance. However, it underlined that initiatives like PEPP should not be used to undermine collective and publicly-provided pension schemes which need to be maintained and strengthened.
Sep. 14, 2018 The latest issue of Collective Bargaining News from the European Trade Union Institute includes nearly 100 articles covering all sectors from over 30 countries. There are several news stories from EPSU sectors including reports on a dispute in the waste sector in Belgium, the impact of austerity on health in Greece, calls for consultation over job cuts in Hungary and a strike of cleaners at the Ministry of Justice in the UK.
Sep. 14, 2018 The International Labour Organisation (ILO) has published two reports on collective bargaining and social dialogue. A working paper on social dialogue in public services was published to mark the 40th anniversary of ILO Convention 151 on labour relations in the public services. It covers three of the European social dialogue committees in which EPSU is involved along with examples of how social dialogue works in Italy, Denmark and the Czech and Slovak Republics. The ILO's report on extension of collective agreements provides evidence on the important role that this process can play in reducing inequality and countering unfair competition by providing a level playing field at sector level.
Aug. 30, 2018 There has been some improvement in industrial relations at the European Patent Office (EPO). As we reported in 2016 (November epsucob@NEWS 15) there had been considerable conflict in the organisation with several trade union representatives dismissed and who took up cases through the International Labour Organisation (ILO). The chair of the EPO union in Munich, Ion Brumme resumed his job in the middle of August, two and a half years after his dismissal. Both he and another colleague were cleared by an ILO tribunal. Brumme has urged the new EPO president to restore relations with the SUEPO trade union. Other dismissed reps, including Laurent Prunier from the office in The Hague are still waiting for their cases to come before the ILO tribunal.
Aug. 02, 2018 The European Commission has produced a short overview of paternity and parental leave provisions across EU countries revealing that, for example, paternity leave is available in nearly all member states but the length and level of compensation vary considerably. The draft directive on work-life balance proposes two weeks' paternity leave paid at the level of sick pay. While 17 member states already have the two-week minimum only 13 offer it on the basis of at least 66% of previous earnings.
Aug. 02, 2018 EPSU has launched a legal case against the European Commission and is now waiting for the first formal response. EPSU has taken the case because the Commission refused to submit to the European Council the information and consultation agreement signed in the Central Government Administrations social dialogue in December 2015. Despite signing the European Pillar of Social Rights and making positive statements about social dialogue, the Commission has failed to act to provide important rights to 9.8 million central government workers that are already enjoyed in the private sector. The complaint was filed in May and the main arguments have now been published in the Official Journal.
Aug. 01, 2018 The ETUC has published the priorities for its Collective Bargaining and Wages Coordination Committee. These cover four main areas - (re)building and enhancing collective bargaining; pursuing upward wage and social convergence; combating in-work poverty, particularly through increasing wages for the lower paid; and increasing solidarity and reducing inequalities. The detailed policy document sets out how the ETUC will follow up on its Pay Rise campaign and includes provisions for a two-year project where the ETUC will aim to support initiatives at national level to boost sector-level bargaining.
Jul. 19, 2018 The Eurofound research agency has produced a new report that looks into the links between national and European social dialogue. The report identifies some of the key challenges for ensuring an effective European social dialogue and suggests that it is "worth exploring new forms of knowledge transfer, resources provision or engagement with EU- and national-level social partners." It also says that the European Commission "might be more pro-active in promoting social dialogue, notably through its social dialogue website" and that: "Recent initiatives such as the European Pillar of Social Rights and the revised 2018 Employment Guidelines could contribute to "strengthening social dialogue and the relationship between the social partners and governments at national level."
Jul. 19, 2018 A new ETUI publication, Multi-employer bargaining under pressure: decentralisation trends in five European countries, investigates developments in the shift from centrally coordinated multi-employer to decentralized collective bargaining in a number of EU Member States where the former has been traditionally stronger (Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Spain). It also looks at whether company level bargaining can play a useful new role in setting working conditions, without paving the way for social dumping and widened inequalities.
Jun. 08, 2018 Nadja Salson of EPSU policy staff provided some background on the social partner agreement in the European social dialogue committee for Central Government Administrations. This landmark agreement on information and consultation was signed in December 2015 and was intended to fill the gap in the information and consultation directives that had excluded public administration. The trade unions and employers jointly submitted it to the European Commission for eventual transposition into a directive by the European Council. However, the Commission then took over two years to respond, finally stating in a short letter that it would not put the agreement forward to the Council. Nadja ran through the debates in EPSU’s National and European Administration Standing Committee and Executive Committee and the decision at the Executive Committee in May to launch a legal challenge and political campaign calling on the Commission to reverse its decision.