As the trend towards public sector pay cuts began to take hold across Europe, EPSU decided it was important to monitor the impact of those cuts and the way they were being implemented. Two major reports produced by the Labour Research Department set out not just the facts and figures in 10 countries where cuts were imposed but also provide case studies to show what those cuts have meant for individual public sector workers.
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.
(January 2017) The latest Global Wage Report from the International Labour Organisation shows that, in 2010, the top 10% of European best-paid workers obtained 25.5% of total wages, while the lower half of workers got less than 30%.The report also notes the role that minimum wages can play in reducing the gender pay gap, recommending that social partners should have a role in determining the level of minimum wages.
(January 2017) The ETUC has called for 2017 to be year of the pay rise. The ETUC argues that a pay rise is fully justified to tackle rising inequality and in-work poverty, and to generate growth and recovery for all. The focus will be on negotiating higher pay through collective bargaining but there will also be campaigning on higher statutory minimum wages where they exist. The ETUC will be working with the European Trade Union Federations during the campaign. There is an initial conference on 14-15 February.
(January 2017) Trade unions and employers in the private sector have negotiated a two-year cross-sector agreement which is now up for approval by member organisations. The deal includes scope for a pay increase of 1.1% that would be negotiated at sector level but this would come on top of the 2.9% increase arising from the indexation of pay that continues to be applied at national level. The unions believe they have made some progress with the employers on a range of social issues, including early retirement, in stark contrast to the what they see as the negative approach of the government.
(January 2017) White-collar union Vision has set out its main bargaining demands in its negotiations with the KFS organisation for local enterprises. The union wants to see competitive salaries and action to improve well-being at work. It also wants employees to be on permanent contracts with employers providing objective justifications for any use of fixed-term contracts of agency staff. Longer paid holidays, individual working time accounts and shorter hours for workers in establishment requiring 24-hour cover are also among the demands.
(January 2017) The European Trade Union Institute has launched a new online service that will monitor developments in labour markets, pension reforms and strike activities as well as changes to legislation on industrial action. The Reforms Watch information service includes country files and will be updated through regular news reports. This is also linked to existing information on collective bargaining and industrial relations.
(January 2017) EPSU has sent a message of support to four members of the HVDSZ 2000 municipal and waste union who were sacked by their employer, FKFzrt. The four are part of a collective bargaining negotiating team and were paid by company as part of a normal arrangement but which the company now claims contravenes the law on independent unions. The union, supported by its confederation MASZSZ, has set up an online campaign backed by the Labourstart website.
(January 2017) The latest issue of collective bargaining news from the European Trade Union Institute reports on some developments in the public services, including a pay rise negotiated at the CEZ electricity company in the Czech Republic, conflicts in the water and waste sectors in Hungary and a new report from the OSE research organisation looking at the impact of austerity
(January 2017) Over 120 trade union representatives from across Europe took part in EPSU's conference on quality employment on 10-11 January. The debates covered how to define quality employment, trends in labour law reform in Eastern Europe, the ETUC's pay rise campaign, how to improve pay in the social care sector, workloads and staffing in prisons and hospitals, precarious work and social dialogue. The conference was organised with the financial support of the European Commission.