Ireland - European Commission oversteps bounds to seek pay cuts - January 25, 2011

In a letter as of 11 January sent to EU Commissioner Olli Rehn, the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) denounces the diktat pressures from European Commission officials to cut minimum wages and pensions, to reduce wage “rigidities” and to make labour markets more flexible in Greece and Ireland. In an interview with an Irish newspaper, ETUC General Secretary John Monks argued that the Commission was overstepping its bounds in Ireland in particular by seeking to influence a review of the registered employment agreements (REA) system that was earlier envisaged at national level. It has become clear that with the €85 billion bailout package agreed between the Irish government, the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) the government has signed up to begin an “independent review” of the REA system before the end of March. The REA system allows employers and unions to set minimum wages and conditions above the National Minimum Wage (See also this Collective Bargaining Newsletter Year 3 November 2010).

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This article was published in the Collective Bargaining Newsletter. It aims to facilitate information exchange between trade unions and to support the work of ETUC's collective bargaining committee. For more information, please contact the editor Maarten van Klaveren, Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Labour Studies (AIAS) You may find further information on the ETUI at, and on the AIAS at © ETUI aisbl, Brussels 2011.

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