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).
Jul. 25, 2019 EPSU has launched a training project on digitalisation and collective bargaining with financial support from the European Commission. The consultants Ecorys/wmp will be providing the training in five regional seminars beginning in Bucharest on 24-25 September. The five seminars will be open to all EPSU affiliates and full details in 19 languages are available on the EPSU website.
Jul. 25, 2019 The European Trade Union Institute is publishing a comprehensive four-volume overview of collective bargaining in all 28 Member States of the European Union.This documents how collective bargaining institutions have been abolished, changed or narrowed in scope. However, it also highlights some positive developments with some collective bargaining systems proving more resilient than others in maintaining multi-employer bargaining arrangements. The key policy issue addressed in this book is how the reduction of the importance of collective bargaining as a tool to jointly regulate the employment relationship can be reversed.
Jul. 11, 2019 Earlier this year the Council of Europe published its latest assessments of countries' compliance with its social charter and particularly article 6 on the right to strike. The report reveals that many continue to fail to conform with the requirements of the article and this is often related to significant restrictions on the right to strike particularly affecting public service workers. The latest list of countries not in conformity include: Croatia, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, Germany, Iceland, Malta, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Spain and the UK. Further details can be read in the relevant country factsheets which have been drafted by the ETUI and are available on the EPSU website.
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.”