After the recent success of public service union UNISON in getting the courts to end the government's policy to charge workers for the right to take employment tribunal cases, UNISON and the PCS civil service union have celebrated two further court victories. UNISON's second success came in another landmark case that will effectively require employers to consult over workplace restructuring such as redundancies. The PCS victory was in a judicial review of government cuts to the civil service pension scheme which the government now has to withdraw.
The STAL trade union reports a high level of support for strike action at the RESIESTRELA waste company part of the EGF multinational. The strike is over pay, a pay structure and the right to collective bargaining. The union says that workers at RESIESTRELA are the lowest paid in the EGF group with no developed pay or career structure. STAL has been raising these issues with EGF for many years but the company has refused to negotiate.
Proposals to reform the labour code were published owin 31 August with some initial negative reactions from the trade unions. A common response was that the raft of reforms was being put forward before there had been a proper evaluation of the changes that have been implemented in the last four years. Unions expressed concern about rebalancing of the relationship between sector and company-level bargaining and changes to compensation in cases of redundancy. In small companies (less than 50 employees) it will be possible for employers to negotiate with non-trade union representatives and in
The SSP/vpod public services union is campaigning with political and other organisations to defend the right to strike in the care sector. In proposed revisions to the law on the care sector, the government of the Fribourg region in western Switzerland plans to ban strike action. The union says this will deprive over 6000 workers (4000 in the public sector and 2500 in the non-profit sector) of the right to strike.The campaigning organisations have been collecting signatures for a petition and demonstrations and other action are planned if the region doesn't revise its proposals.
The European Trade Union Institute has published an updated analysis of the treatment of social issues in the European Semester - the process of economic policy coordination. This reveals, for example, the extent to which the country-specific recommendations address the question of collective bargaining, with the European institutions calling for reforms in many countries, with the accent on decentralisation of bargaining despite the lack of evidence that this produces any economic benefits.
Protest action and a petition promoted by the vpod/ssp public services union and supported by other trade unions, political parties and civil society has led to a change to draft legislation in the Freibourg/Fribourg region that would have removed the right to strike for care workers (see epsucob@NEWS 15, 2017). The union said that the mobilisation of care staff had been important for the outcome and reinforces the importance of the right to strike in underpinning the unions' ability to negotiate effectively.
The CGSP/ACOD public service federation, part of the FGTB socialist confederation, organised a national strike on 10 October. The union was protesting against the austerity policies of the government, weakening of employment rights in the public sector, reduced pension entitlement and the increased threat of privatisation. The union is also objecting to plans to impose minimum service requirements when public service unions taken strike action. The union says that minimum service agreements are currently negotiated with public service employers and should not be unilaterally imposed by the
The ssp/vpod public service union is mobilising again to defend the right to strike for care workers in the Fribourg region. The proposal for the ban is coming from right-wing MPs in the cantonal parliament despite the fact that the union had successfully negotiated with the state council to preserve care workers' right to strike (see epsucob@NEWS 15 and 17 in September). The union called for a big protest outside the Grand Council on 17 November.
The European Institutions signed the EU Pillar of Social Rights at the EU Social Summit on 17 November 2017 in Gothenburg. The Pillar, which sets out the commitment of Member States and the European Union to develop a Social Europe.