The ETUC joined the CCOO and UGT trade union confederations in a meeting with European Commission Vice-President Dombrovskis to ensure that Spain’s recovery plan would not be subject to austerity conditions. The government is proposing a labour reform that would reverse a 2012 law, which pushed down wages by ending sectoral collective bargaining in favour of weaker company level deals. In a newspaper interview which came in the middle of social dialogue between trade unions and employers on the issue, Dombrovskis appeared to oppose the reform. Following the meeting the ETUC felt reassured that
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 and this briefing gives an overview of the state of play in the main agreements in each country.
The Fórsa public services trade union has published a new report to support its call on the government to “harness the productive power of sectoral bargaining” which it argues will improve wage levels and pay equality. The report puts Ireland near the bottom of the scale on worker representation and participation in economic decision-making and argues that collective bargaining can deliver benefits to both workers and employers, while underpinning better outcomes for society and the economy as a whole. The report would contribute to the work of the high-level working group which is examining
Employment, social affairs and health ministers are due to meet at the EPSCO Council on 14 June to discuss the draft directive on minimum wages and have a policy debate on “New Challenges for Social Dialogue and Collective Bargaining”. In the lead up to the meeting the ETUC has been urging national affiliates to approach their governments to underline some key messages. First, is the need for European and national institutions to be active and fulfil their obligations and engagement to ensure the respect of the right to collective bargaining. The ETUC argues that any discussion on the
Leading economists from across Europe have expressed their support for an effective directive on adequate minimum wages that would not only deliver higher pay but greater collective bargaining protection for millions of workers. The conclusion of the letter says that: “The proposed Directive is a step in the right direction, but stronger measures are needed to guarantee the respect of the right to collective bargaining for unions to negotiate better pay and conditions for workers and raise statutory minimum wages to a level which ensures at least a decent standard of living. Adequate minimum
The three main trade union confederations are pleased that, following the national day of action on 29 March 29, the government agreed to separate negotiations on welfare from those on pay. This was a key demand of the trade unions who agreed to approve the funds allocated to a range of payments from unemployment benefit to pensions. The budget of more than 700 million euros intended to maintain the lowest benefit rates should have been implemented last September, but the employers wanted to link it to an agreement on wages. The unions are disappointed that it took so long to arrive at an
The three public service federations – Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa – have set out the main aims for the new round of collective bargaining in central government. The federations are positive about the negotiations taking place in the framework of the pact for innovation in public services agreed recently with the government. The unions have a broad range of issues that they want to see addressed including: a revision of the staff classification and grading system; a review of pay and career progression; improved industrial relations and information and consultation; strengthening supplementary
Government, trade unions and employers signed a new cross-sector agreement on 31 March that includes a wide range of provisions, among them three key points: adoption of the International Labour Organization Centenary Declaration on the Future of the World of Work; amendments to the Constitution covering the special role of social partnership in the regulation of social and labour relations; and the need to take into account the pandemic when formulating measures to protect workers. The agreement also highlights issues that need to be addressed in relation to public sector pay in order to
The CSC/ACV and FGTB/ABVV trade union confederations are planning a day of protests and strikes on 29 March to push their claims in the stalled negotiations over the biennial agreement for the private sector. This follows two days of action in February in support of the unions’ demands to increase what they say is an unacceptable 0.4% margin for negotiations over and above what’s provided by indexation. The confederations are also calling for a higher minimum wage, action on careers and retirement and a review of the legislation that regulates pay negotiations in the private sector. The CGSLB
The government has put forward a proposal to set up a joint labour committee (JLC) that would determine minimum pay and working conditions for the childcare sector. Currently there is no sector bargaining covering childcare workers and unions have been campaigning for years to tackle low pay and precarious employment. JLCs are independent bodies that exist in sectors like security and cleaning where there is no sector bargaining. They issue employment regulation orders (ERO) setting minimum pay rates and conditions. SIPTU says that a JLC would provide an opportunity for the union and the IBEC
Trade unions have told the government that they reject any plans to end the single pay system across the public sector and strongly oppose any unilateral changes to pay or the creation of jobs and pay rates outside of the collective agreement. In response to government calls for more flexibility, the unions argue that there is already the potential for variable remuneration and adjustments to pay for specific jobs and occupations within the current system, but they are not used. The unions are also concerned that the government wants to treat certain public services differently and see this as
Respect for trade union rights, collective bargaining and social dialogue part of our democratic values – say North East European constituency unions
The EPSU affiliates of North East Europe expressed their concerns about developments in the region in the online meeting of the North East European constituency on 3 March. They received information about the situation in Armenia, Belarus, Georgia and Ukraine.
The biennial cross-sector negotiations remain in stalemate with the employers refusing to budge on the 0.4% margin for negotiations. The confederations are arguing strongly that this is unacceptable and fails to recognise the differential impact of the pandemic across the economy and the need to acknowledge the additional risks faced by workers in dealing with the virus. A number of work stoppages and rallies took place across the country on 25 February to put pressure on the employers to come up with an improved offer.