A policy brief published by the European Trade Union Institute (ETUI) looks at the role of collective bargaining in providing protection for the low-paid and the important role of government in setting a framework that protects and promotes collective bargaining. The authors found that over time, statutory minimum wages have become increasingly important, while state support for collective bargaining has declined. This is despite the fact that the report finds that state support for collective bargaining appears most successful in containing low-wage employment. The policy brief highlights
Collective bargaining – trends and developments
Collective bargaining is a core activity of trade unions and EPSU’s affiliates negotiate with public service employers at every level. This can range from national public-sector wide bargaining to sector and local negotiations with public sector employers but also private and non-profit providers of public services. EPSU works with the European Trade Union Confederation to try to improve collective bargaining rights for all workers across Europe. We also act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends in public service negotiations. EPSU’s collective bargaining newsletter provides regular updates on developments across Europe.
An analysis of data working time from the Eurofound research agency by the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) shows how collective bargaining can deliver a better work-life balance. Workers in countries with the highest levels of collective bargaining coverage enjoy up to a month more leisure time each year – without loss of pay – than those where coverage is lower. In countries where nine in 10 workers are covered by a collective bargaining agreement, the average working time is 1,674 hours a year (excluding overtime). In contrast, in countries where only one in 10 workers are covered
With just under a year to go before all member states of the European Union have to transpose the Adequate Minimum Wage Directive (AMWD), EPSU organised an online briefing for affiliates with a particular focus on the new rights in relation to collective bargaining.
The SDLSN is calling on the government to change the rules on representativeness for civil service pay negotiations. The union is involved in various working groups that are discussing the new pay structure for the public sector but it is concerned that the current rules on representativeness exclude it, and other trade unions, from the formal negotiations. It argues that only the police trade union meets the representativeness criterion for the main negotiations leaving many areas of the civil service without proper trade union representation as the SDLSN and other unions fall below the
A new report from the Eurofound research agency, Measuring key dimensions of industrial relations and industrial democracy, provides concrete evidence for policymakers to promote the strengthening of industrial relations. It found that six Member States (Austria, Germany, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands and Sweden) show how mature systems of industrial relations can combine efficiency, equity and voice. Top of the overall Industrial Relations Index, these countries are among the highest seven performers on the Industrial Democracy Index and Industrial Competitiveness Index, as well as coming
Alongside action by the CGIL and UIL confederations, the CISL trade union confederation is planning a national protest in Rome on 25 November over the government’s budget for 2024 and its refusal to engage with the trade unions. Together with demands for increased funding for public services, CISL wants to see action on staffing and measures to reduce precarious work. It also wants the government to commit to negotiating new collective agreements in the public sector. The mobilisations by UIL and CGIL continue with regional stoppages planned for 24 and 27 November and 1 December.
The International Trade Union Confederation has welcomed the decision of the governing body of the International Labour Organisation to refer the question of the right to strike to the International Court of Justice (ICJ). There has been a a long-standing dispute between workers’ and employers’ representatives related to the right to strike and the extent to which it derives from the ILO conventions on the freedom of association (87) and the rights to organise and collective bargaining (98). The issue will now be addressed by the ICJ and the ITUC hopes this will unblock the impasse that has
The JHL public service union is organising a series of one-day political strikes as part of the continuing campaign by the trade union movement in protest against government policy. The unions are challenging government proposals on changes to welfare and employment rights and threats to weaken the right to strike and impose restrictions on pay bargaining. The strikes will hit different regions over the three-day period 7-9 November. A range of services will be affected including sports facilities, waste services, laundry and catering services, public transport and energy. So far the
The FP-CGIL, UIL-FPL and UIL-PA public service federations are coordinating strike action on 17 November as part of a series of strikes and protests organised by the CGIL and UIL confederations. The unions are angry about government economic and social policy, the proposed state budget for 2024 and the refusal of the government to consult with unions. The public service strike will be followed by action in other sectors on 20, 24 and 27 November and 1 December. There was also a one-day strike by FP-CGIL and UIL-PA members at the INL National Labour Inspectorate on 30 October. This was part of
The vpod/ssp public service union is having a busy autumn with a wide range of actions around the country as it increases its efforts to protect and improve pay. Public service workers in Bern had a pay increase of only 0.5% in 2023 and have been offered only 2% for 2024, ignoring union protests and a petition with 16,195 signatures. A further petition will be handed over on 16 November and action is planned for 4 December. In Dübendorf, over 70% of the permanent workforce signed a petition calling for a fair and transparent wage system and cost-of-living adjustment for 2023. The vpod in
Using figures from the Eurostat statistics agency, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) shows that the price of the most basic food stuffs is still rising up to seven times faster than wages. The price of olive oil is 75% higher than it was in January 2021, while there have been substantial increases in the price of potatoes (53%), eggs (37%) and butter (27%). By contrast, the ETUC shows that nominal wages have increased by 11% in the EU and 10% in the Euro area over the last three years. The confederation has also challenged the International Monetary Fund over its analysis of wages
The Eurofound research agency regularly carries out surveys of cross-sector and sector European trade union employer organisations to confirm their representativeness for the European social dialogue. Its latest report on the cross-sector level provides an overview of the ETUC in the European Union where it has 74 affiliated organisations in all EU27 countries, of which 62 are recognised as representative at national level. The 74 ETUC members represent some 37 million trade union members, that is, approximately 22% of all employees in the EU27 and about 80% of all trade union members. The