2014

Italy -Labour reform stays controversial -December 24, 2014

The cabinet approved key parts of the so-called Jobs Act to ease firing restrictions, extend the duration of jobless benefits and introduce a new contract type offering compensation in case of dismissal that gradually increases with seniority.

France -Christmas strike of doctors -December 23, 2014

Thousands of doctors went on strike to protest against a health reform modelled on Britain's NHS system, and which they say will make them victims of state red tape. The general practitioners and specialists began an eight-day walkout in protest against changes that would adopt the principle of ‘free at the point of delivery’.

Estonia -Medical workers reach agreement -December 23, 2014

The largest collective agreement in the country that covers approximately 20,000 health care workers has been concluded. The medical employees’ collective labour agreement that was signed at the National Conciliator in the Ministry of Social Affairs includes a wage increase.

Ireland -New act on bargaining one step further -December 22, 2014

The government has approved draft legislation on collective bargaining, in the form of a revised Heads of Bill that will amend the 2001 Industrial Relations Act, to be enacted by mid-2015. The act has to bring Irish law in line with European Court of Justice rulings.

Germany -Christmas strike at Amazon -December 21, 2014

Amazon refuses to apply the retail collective agreement, arguing that it considers its employees logistics workers and applying that (lower paid) collective agreement. The current strike targets Amazon in the busiest days of the year, as Christmas orders are at a peak.

Malta -Deal in health care -December 19, 2014

Trade union UHM reached an agreement with the government on timeframes for the employment of new foreign health care graduates. This is the result of the protest at unaddressed staff shortages by some 800 state healthcare workers.

Italy -ThyssenKrupp dispute solved -December 19, 2014

One of the longest and most difficult labour disputes at Acciai Speciali Terni (AST), a steel factory owned by the multinational German group ThyssenKrupp has come to an end. AST workers voted by an 80% majority to approve the agreement negotiated by the trade union representatives and the company management.

Netherlands -Merger creates single FNV union -December 20, 2014

The congresses of four trade unions affiliated to the confederation FNV voted in favour of a merger that will create a single FNV trade union organisation. Following the positive vote by FNV Bondgenoten, which voted against the merger earlier on in October, the merger will go ahead.

Denmark -ECJ rules in ‘obesity’ case -December 19, 2014

Backed up by his trade union FOA a child minder, who said he was fired four years ago because he is obese, filed a suit to obtain damages and interest from the Billund municipality that employed him, claiming he was the victim of discrimination.

Croatia -Poverty rates increase rapidly -December 19, 2014

During a presentation of 2013 figures the Croatian Bureau of Statistics (DZS) confirmed that the poverty risk rate amounted in 2013 to 19.5% while the risk of poverty or social exclusion last year was 29.9%. According to the data more than one-third of the population or 36.2% could hardly make ends meet while 28.6% experienced problems in making ends meet.

Belgium -Social dialogue leads to several mini-agreements -December 19, 2014

In a harsh political climate the social partners met at confederal level to discuss several labour policy issues that the government has sought to cut. The talks resulted in creating space for collective agreements on the prolongation of early retirement provisions (at the age of 60, and for arduous work at the age of 58) for another 3 years.

Austria -Regional wage development in 2013 -December 19, 2014

Total GDP at current prices for Austria increased by 1.7%. The national disposable income of private households increased by 0.1% and stagnated de facto in 2013. The highest disposable income per capita was again recorded in Lower Austria, at €22 800.

Portugal -Trade unionism in times of austerity -December 15, 2014

As a result of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Troika (May 2011), of the social pact (January 2012), of the changes in the labour legislation (Law 23/2012, in force since August 1, 2012), there is a series of threats that are being imposed on the trade union movement. This has been enhanced by the crisis.

Hungary -Protest of tobacco union -December 15, 2014

The trade union of tobacco industry workers has organised a full-day demonstration against the government’s new measures affecting the industry. Some 1,200 employees in tobacco sales and logistics positions will be affected by the government’s amendments which seek to place a middleman between retailers and wholesalers.

Turkey -Family doctors on strike over on-duty system -December 12, 2014

Doctors working as family doctors in local health centres have staged a one day strike against a newly introduced on-duty system. The Full-Day law, which was passed in April, obliges family doctors to be included in on-duty systems in nearby hospitals. The law gave doctors holding academic positions three months to close their private clinic if they had one.

Bulgaria -Workers mobilise against pension reform -December 11, 2014

Trade unions have organised a large march in Sofia to protest against the pension reforms announced by the government. In an attempt to reduce the deficit, the government intends to raise the pensionable age of manual workers by four months, which would affect 15,000 workers due to retire next year.

Sweden -Labour market tendency survey 2014 online -December 09, 2014

The Labour Market Tendency Survey is a sample survey that has been published annually since 1959. It provides information about the labour market situation and the outlook for 71 educational and training categories. The newest report highlights a particularly high demand for engineers (Bachelor of Science) in structural engineering.

Serbia -ILO convention helps naming and shaming -December 09, 2014

The parliament ratified ILO Convention 94 on labour clauses in public contracts in October 2014. The ratification has been used as a basis for the work on ‘blacklisting’ of socially irresponsible companies in the sector of road construction and maintenance.

Estonia -Employment and labour turnover -December 08, 2014

The number of job vacancies increased in the 3rd quarter of 2014 by 0.3% compared to the 3rd quarter of 2013 and by 12.7% compared to the previous quarter. 30% of job vacancies were in the public sector and 70% in the private sector.

Czech Republic -Row over salaries of parliamentarians -December 05, 2014

The President of the Republic said he would veto a bill proposing to raise the salaries of members of Parliament by 14%. A row regarding deputies’ salaries started when it became clear that the salaries of deputies and senators would automatically increase by 26% in January, unless a motion was passed specifying a different wage increase.

Belgium -Unions meet to discuss global strategy for Holcim-Lafarge merger -December 04, 2014

The building, industry and chemical workers union ACV/CSC-BIE, the European Federation of Building and Woodworkers (EFBWW), the Building and Wood Workers’ International (BWI) and IndustriALL Global Union met to discuss a global trade union strategy for the merger of cement producers Holcim and Lafarge. Unions from 22 countries will work together in confronting a merger that will take place in the first half of 2015.

Austria -Collective agreement for private care workers -December 04, 2014

In a first round of negotiations the trade unions GPA-djp and vida have concluded an agreement for the 100,000 workers in the private health and social care. As of 1 February 2015 wages will increase with 2.03%. Part of the agreement is the increase of the monthly minimum wage in the sector to 1,500 euro.

Netherlands -Payroll companies concerned about new legislation -December 04, 2014

Payroll companies have said that legislation coming into force on 1 January 2015 is unclear. A new law will align the protection of payroll employees against dismissal with that of permanent employees at the client firms. The major change with the current regime is that firms will no longer be able to dismiss workers on payroll contracts without stating the reason.

Lithuania -Teachers go on indefinite strike -December 03,2014

After a warning strike in November, teachers from 120 schools have gone on indefinite strike, during which some schools will close down altogether. The teachers have made a list of demands to be met by the ministry in order to end the strike.

Italy -Rome Opera House jobs saved -December 03, 2014

The Rome Opera House cancelled its decision, reported in the October newsletter, to dismiss all of the institution’s 182 musicians and choir members. An agreement signed between unions and management, and approved by 97% of the staff, saves the jobs of the Rome Opera House artists.

Belgium -White paper with measures to improve transport sector -December 03, 2014

The transport workers union launched the results of a research project on the practice of letter-box companies and social dumping in the international road transport. It comes with 25 measures to improve the working conditions in the sector. Measure number 6 is the introduction of an EU regulation or European collective agreement prescribing a certain level of social conditions for the carriage of goods by road.

Denmark -Retailers leave the country -December 01, 2014

Wholesale giant METRO Cash & Carry is closing down its last two remaining stores at locations in Aarhus and Glostrup and dismissing 300 employees. It announced in September 2014 it would close its five Danish stores because they were no longer profitable.

Italy -Court judges claim against Eternit expired -November 27, 2014

The Supreme Court of Cassation has overturned a Turin court decision condemning one of the owners of Eternit Group, claiming the sentence is not applicable because of the long period of time that has passed. The dismissal of the accusations against the group owners is a slap to almost 3,000 victims.

Estonia -Wage increase documented -November 26, 2014

Gross wages grew 5.0% in the third quarter, compared to the same period in 2013. The country's average monthly gross wages and salaries stood at 977 euro. The average hourly salary rate was 5.89 euros, a 5.6% increase.

Poland -Deal on voluntary redundancies -November 25, 2014

PKP Cargo, the biggest railway freight company has concluded an agreement with its employee organisations to carry out a voluntary redundancy programme. After the dispute was resolved the company raised salaries and introduced extra bonuses.

Slovakia -Parliament discusses equal pay for temp workers -November 24, 2014

Parliament is discussing a draft law that imposes equal pay for temporary workers as well as a cap on temporary assignments. The law, if adopted, would give temporary agency workers the same wages as permanent workers if they do the same work. In cases where temp workers earn less, the law makes the temp agencies liable for paying the missing amount.

Portugal -Nurses and railway personnel on strike -November 24, 2014

Nurses organised two country-wide strikes on 14 and 21 November, whereas a strike by ticket inspectors and ticket clerks halted trains across Portugal on 24 November. The workers are protesting the ongoing cuts in the public sector, endangering both working conditions and the quality of services.

Bulgaria -No minimum wage hike in 2015 -November 24, 2014

The head of the interim parliamentary committee on budget and finance Menda Stoyanova said that no proposals to raise the minimum wage were on the agenda and that the 2015 budget that is being adopted is based on the current level. The minimum wage is currently BGN340 (€173) per month and is the lowest in the EU.

United Kingdom -NHS workers strike again -November 24, 2014

For the second time in a month tens of thousands members of 11 trade unions walked out for four hours in England and Northern Ireland in protest at the coalition government’s controversial decision not to accept a recommended 1% wage rise for all NHS employees.

Sweden -Half of under 25s in temporary jobs -November 20, 2014

Recent figures presented by trade union confederation LO show that half of the working young Swedes under 25 are on fixed term contracts, compared to 20% of the workforce as a whole. The unions report that many young people have to be constantly reachable on their mobile phones in order to be able to work intermittent days in temporary jobs.

Serbia -Teachers against pay cuts -November 17, 2014

After the government refused to exempt teachers from public-sector salary reductions, the trade unions in education have cut classes from 45 to 30 minutes in a strike. The new budget, adopted on October 22, includes wage cuts of 10% across the board in the public sector.

Finland -Social partners agree on pension reform -November 15, 2014

Parliament will vote on a pension reform agreement that has the support of all employers’ federations as well as of trade union confederations SAK and STTK. Under the proposed system, the pension age will be raised in increments from 63 to 65 years of age for people born after 1955.

Turkey -Kazova workers start cooperative -November 14, 2014

Kazova Workers, a group of textile workers who launched an occupation protest after being fired with no repartitions or deserved wages in early 2013 and obtained their own factory machines after months of struggle, have formed a cooperative.

Poland -Miners occupy company headquarters -November 18, 2014

Two hundred miners have occupied the offices of the EU’s largest thermal coal producer, Kompania Weglowa S.A. (KW), in Katowice. The occupation followed news that KW will liquidate the firm, threatening the jobs of 46,000 workers. KW has been facing financial problems for years and is already subject to a social plan in which its workforce reduces by 26,000.

Slovenia -Unions say no to privatisation -November 10, 2014

Trade unions call for conditions to be put in place to make privatisation process transparent: including improvements to the takeover act, boosting the role of state institutions in the procedures and protecting shop stewards and worker representatives on management and supervisory boards.

Norway -Union staff go on strike -November 13, 2014

Staff at the retail and office sector of the LO trade union confederation have announced they will be taking strike action. Roughly 150 employees will go on strike, claiming that their colleagues in other LO unions earn higher wages for the same work.

Latvia -Teachers deliberate strike action -November 13, 2014

Teachers unions are deliberating strike action after talks over investment in education reached a deadlock. The government has said it will allot an extra three million euro for education, which falls far short of the 36 million euro investments unions say are needed to pay decent salaries.

Austria -Figures on pay and tax revenue for 2013 -November 12, 2014

In the year 2013 a total of 6 667 884 taxpayers were registered, of whom 4 272 613 were employees and 2 395 271 were pensioners. Compared with 2012, the number of taxpayers increased by 1.0%. Gross earnings rose by 2.9% and total wage tax revenue increased by 4.8%.

Slovenia -Negotiations on public wages stagnate -November 06, 2014

Government proposals of a voluntary shorter working week, reduction of the bonus for years of service and lower lunch allowance, as well as lower compensation for commuting costs were rejected by the trade unions. They see the move of the government as a fresh set of measures to cut the public sector wage bill.

Ireland -Abuses of recruiter Atlanco Rimec investigated -November 06, 2014

The national TV channel has investigated the practices of international recruiter Atlanco Rimec, notorious for its treatment of workers. By using a labyrinth of cross-border posting relationships (for instance Polish workers recruited on the basis of a social security certificate from Cyprus) the payment of social security costs is circumvented.

Greece -Port workers strike -November 06, 2014

Ships and ferries did not operate among the country's many islands due to a 24-hour strike called by the National federation of port employees (Omyle) to protest against the government's planned privatisation of ports.

Serbia -Massive care workers protest against austerity -November 05, 2014

Tens of thousands of doctors, nurses, pharmacists and medical staff launched a one-day strike against the government‘s austerity measures. Medical trade unions representing some 80% of more than 160,000 employees called the work stoppage in protest at a planned 10% cut in all wages paid from the state budget.

Iceland -Dismissal of cleaners -November 04, 2014

The trade union Efling announced that 18 workers were fired by the Government Offices in an effort to save revenue. Most of these workers are over the age of 50, and all of them are women earning amongst the lowest legal wages in the country.

Austria -Services unions want six weeks holidays -November 05, 2014

Services union GPA-djp has called for an extension of the right to six weeks’ holidays to more workers in the sector. The union said that in female dominated sectors in particular, workers need longer holidays to balance work and family life, recuperate and to remain motivated.

Portugal -Cabin crew strike -November 03, 2014

Portugal Airline cabin crews launched a 24-hour strike. The crews for the TAP Portugal carrier grounded flights causing mass cancellations for nearly half of its 320 scheduled flights and rerouting more than 25,000 passengers.

EU sources -The global gender gap report 2014 -November 03, 2014

Global Gender Gap report is to document whether nations are distributing their opportunities and resources equitably between men and women. The 2014 report seeks to measure the relative gaps between women and men across four key areas: health, education, economy and politics.

Slovakia -Report on poverty -November 03, 2014

A project entitled ‘What to Do About Poverty’. 34% of the respondents said that a four-member family needs at least €900 per month in order to be able to live a modest but decent life. Another 34% said that it needs at least €1,200.

United Kingdom -More long-term low paid than ever -November 02, 2014

New research by the Resolution Foundation think-tank reveals that more than five million workers are in low-paid work, with the proportion of people on low salaries rising from 21 to 22% in 2013. Millions are in jobs so poorly paid that they have little if anything left to spend after their basic needs have been met.

Spain -One in four people live in poverty -November 01, 2014

The leading Catholic charity Caritas published a massive 700-page report on poverty and social exclusion prepared by some 90 experts and academics. The number of people living in poverty has risen by 4.4 million since the country was battered by an economic crisis to reach 11.7 million, or 1 in 4.

Poland -Unions threaten with railway strike -October 29, 2014

The trade unions in the biggest passenger railway company Przewozy Regionalne have taken a strong stand in a restructuring project. So far only 7 provinces have signed a rescue plan. Others who are against it have suggested they would rather develop their own passenger railway firms.

Germany -Amazon strikes continue -October 27, 2014

Trade union Ver.di has called a new series of strikes in Bad Hersfeld, Leipzig, Graben, Werne and Rheinberg. The strikes are organised in the context of an ongoing conflict with Amazon, reported in our Newsletter, over the application of collective agreement wages.

Austria -Metal workers conclude pay deal -October 27, 2014

After a marathon meeting of negotiations lasting 11 hours, the collective bargaining partners in the largest subsector of the metal industry (the FMMI - the employers’ federation for machinery and metal-ware and the trade unions PRO-GE and DPA-djp) agreed on a 2.1% pay increase (0.4% beyond the country’s inflation rate) for the 120,000 employees in the subsector.

Czech Republic -Pay cuts at Czech Airlines -October 24, 2014

After large scale job cuts at Czech Airlines were reported last month (see September 2014 newsletter), the airline now intends to lower pilots’ wages from 1 January 2015. Experienced pilots allegedly will lose up to 30% of their salaries.

Luxembourg -Labour market does not recover -October 23, 2014

The number of workers placed under reduced working hours increased for the third month in a row. At a meeting of the official committee that deals with the applications (the ‘comité de conjoncture’) 23 businesses were granted their request to cut working hours in a bid to save costs.

Iceland -Labour market analysed -October 22, 2014

Research institute FAFO has published an analysis of the Icelandic labour market in the frame of the NordMod 2030 project. The main characteristics of the labour market are a high level of union density, high labour force participation rate, long work hours, as well as late retirement.

Italy -Strike at ThyssenKrupp plant -October 17, 2014

The metalworkers’ trade unions held a 24-hours strike at ThyssenKrupp's Acciai Speciali Terni (Terni) in their fight against a drastic cost cutting plan. Thousands of people rallied in Terni against ThyssenKrupp’s decision to impose layoffs to 537 workers.

Finland -Teachers defend their rights -October 13, 2014

The teachers’ union Opetusalan Ammattijärjestö (OAJ) started a campaign to save education. The OAJ is reminding people that investment in education and teachers is needed and that education has to be developed through long-term programmes.

Denmark -Pole position in pension ranking -October 13, 2014

For the third year in a row, Denmark topped an Australian study comparing the pension systems of 25 different countries. It was the only nation to receive an ‘A’ grade, signifying ‘a first class and robust retirement income system that delivers good benefits, is sustainable and has a high level of integrity’.

France -Controversial debate on unemployment benefits -October 13, 2014

Members of the incoming government have stated that the country’s costly unemployment benefit system needs further reforms. The unemployment rate is stuck above 10% despite billions of euro spent on subsidised jobs, and the country is under pressure of the EU partners to show it can implement reform.

Czech Republic -Lay-offs in mining -October 13, 2014

Coal mining company OKD will dismiss 300 people at the end of 2014, mainly from offices and surface facilities. OKD had more than 12,000 workers in 2013. It now employs around 11,000 people. Most of the 300 workers will retire or use pre-retirement provisions.

Italy -Students against labour reforms -October 10, 2014

Thousands of students are taking to the streets to protest against the government's labour and education reforms. Protests are taking place across 60 cities and towns across the country as students demand ‘better schools, jobs and a different country’.

Hungary -Worries about low paid and housing -October 11, 2014

A conference organised by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation to find the answers to the most urgent questions of homeless and low paid. Since the political turn there is virtually no social housing, so whoever gets in trouble paying the rent or the instalments of the loan does not really have alternatives.

Liechtenstein -Employment in 2013 -October 10, 2014

The governmental Office of Statistics published its annual employment report. Migrants and commuters from surrounding countries build the majority of the workforce (almost 53%, with Swiss nationals up to half of the commuters, Austrian nationals more than 40%).

Ireland -Picket continues after court case -October 10, 2014

Striking bricklayers at a site in Kishoge, west Dublin are to continue their picket, after the High Court ruled that they were entitled to maintain the protest. However, they have agreed to limit the number of picketers, and to ensure that all future picketing will be lawful.

Portugal -Public sector unions stage protest -October 09, 2014

The Frente Comum, the main platform for trade unions representing public sector employees, has announced plans for a national demonstration in Lisbon on 31 October, to protest against pay cuts and the erosion of employment rights in the public sector.

Spain -Health workers ask minister to resign -October 07, 2014

In the slipstream of the detection of an Ebola infection and with reference to the deteriorating working conditions health care workers in Madrid have organised a protest. They are angry because many hospitals have experienced cuts in budgets, staff, units and equipment.

Slovenia -Precarious work on the rise -October 07, 2014

The number of precarious workers is double the figure of unemployed persons – around 250.000. In addition, a third of all sole proprietors (self-employed) are below the poverty threshold, according to the Movement for Decent Work.

Portugal -Lisbon metro strikes again -October 07, 2014

Workers of the Lisbon Metro underground system are to hold the latest in a series of 24-hour strike. The strike is being held to protest against plans to auction off the concession to private investors and consequent erosion of their rights.

EU Sources -Quarterly; Employment and Social Situation -October 06, 2014

European Commission's Quarterly Review reports that future employment developments remain uncertain, unemployment still remains close to historical records, long-term unemployed represent a large and growing share of total unemployment, with almost 13 million people having been unemployed for at least 1 year.

Norway -More job losses at Statoil -October 04, 2014

State oil company Statoil, faced with falling oil prices and rising costs, reportedly plans to cut 500 jobs on its offshore platforms on top of the roughly 1,400 jobs eliminated so far as it tries to slim down its organisation.

Slovakia -Panasonic dismisses and transfers production -October 03, 2014

A Panasonic plant based in the eastern town of Krompachy (Košice Region, a region with an unemployment rate between 15-20%) plans to shut down its production of Blu-ray players and recorders, DVD recorders and printed circuit boards (PCB) for TV sets, and move to Plzeň, in the Czech Republic.

Austria -Fatality for subcontracted migrant worker -October 02, 2014

A Hungarian painter decorator has tragically died after falling from a ladder whilst working in Austria. His boss, who was paying him in cash, refused to call an ambulance and made a fellow worker drive the injured for 90 km - to a hospital across the border in Hungary.

Poland -Wage development; first half of 2014 report -October 02, 2014

The publication ‘Employment, wages and salaries in national economy 1st half of 2014’ that can be downloaded from the governmental portal presents the current changes on the labour market regarding the number of the employed in large and medium units and the work time of employees, as well as the number of the unemployed registered in labour offices.

Ireland -Living wage has to go up -September 27, 2014

Over the past five years wages have shrunk, with average annual earnings down by about €1,000 since 2009. More people are finding it harder, not easier, to make ends meet. One in five workers is earning less than the ‘living wage’.

Denmark -Employers: migration a must -October 01, 2014

The employer association Dansk Industri (DI) has stressed the importance of having an international workforce. Unemployment is at its lowest since 2006 and DI predicts that it will fall even more in the coming years. According to DI, almost half of their member companies employ workers from abroad.

Germany -Lufthansa talks fail -September 28, 2014

Lufthansa that is seeking to expand low-cost services has to face opposition from the trade unions. The airline has been locked in a dispute with the Vereinigung Cockpit union over an early retirement scheme.

Finland -Deal on pension reform -September 28, 2014

Negotiations between the social partners concerning the pension reform have ended with several agreed changes to the existing system. The agreement was signed by two of the three trade union confederations.

Hungary -Employment increasing -September 26, 2014

According to official data the number of employed people in the period June-August 2014, increased to 4.158 million, 177 thousand more than a year ago. The employment rate of people aged 15-64 increased to 62.4%, the highest rate since 2009.

France -Wage increase won -September 26, 2014

Outsourced hotel housekeepers at the Park Hyatt Paris-Vendôme have won an important wage increase bringing pay into line with other luxury hotels following a four-day strike for better wages and working conditions begun on September 19.

Germany -Rail negotiations in new turbulence -September 25, 2014

New rail strikes might come after the train drivers' union GDL said that ‘last chance’ talks with the state-owned rail operator Deutsche Bahn over pay had collapsed. GDL is seeking a 5% pay rise for about 20,000 train drivers and a shortening of their work week to 37 hours from 39 hours.

Austria -Campaign for reduction of income tax -September 26, 2014

The trade union confederation ÖGB wants a substantial reduction in taxes on all workers and employees. In addition, reform of the overall tax structure is required in order to bring greater fairness into the domestic tax system. In 2012, the average tax rate on work was 41.5% – the third highest level in the whole of the EU.

United Kingdom -Unite wants higher minimum wage -September 25, 2014

Trade union Unite has stated that the minimum wage should be increased immediately to £7.81 an hour, arguing it would boost the economy as well as lift millions of low paid workers out of poverty. Unite said a £1.50 increase from the current hourly rate of £6.31 was affordable.

Spain -Emigration effects economic perspectives -September 25, 2014

The Central Bank writes in its monthly bulletin that the current rate of emigration of foreign residents from Spain and of Spaniards themselves could have a significant effect on the potential growth of the economy. According to the bank it is necessary to make the country a more attractive place to work.

Sweden -Job losses at Saab -September 24, 2014

Hundreds of the remaining workers at Saab's factory in Trollhätten are set to lose their jobs, according to the Chinese company Nevs which owns the Swedish car business. The factory has been out of action since May 2014, with Nevs unable to pay its suppliers.

Portugal -Minimum wage goes up -September 25, 2014

As a result of a tripartite agreement the minimum wage will go up by 20 euro to a monthly 505 euro. The increase in the minimum wage from 485 euros to 505 euros will take effect in October 2014 and is estimated to affect around 11% of all workers.

Luxembourg -Job security proposal announced -September 25, 2014

The air freight firm Cargolux announced it will make a job security proposal at the next Collective Working Agreement meeting with unions LCGB and OGBL. The firm has come under fire over a newly created Italian subsidiary, Cargolux Italia, over which fears were raised of outsourcing.

Turkey -More dismissals of union members -September 24, 2014

Deva Holding a Turkey-based pharmaceutical company, has sacked 24 workers, simply for signing up with a union. Management announced that there would no longer be a collective agreement using the pretext of high production costs and government policies in the pharmaceutical industry.

Greece -Cleaners against austerity -September 24, 2014

A group of 30 cleaners attended the first European Parliament plenary session in Strasbourg on 16 September, exactly one year after they were unexpectedly fired by the Ministry of Finance. The 30 cleaners are among 595 workers – mostly women aged between 45 and 60 – who used to work for the Ministry of Finance.

Slovakia -Holidays discussed -September 22, 2014

Employers have criticized the number of holidays in the country. There are 246 working days in Slovakia in 2014, the lowest number among all Visegrád Group (V4) countries, an alliance of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. Poland has 251 business days and Hungary and the Czech Republic both have 252.

Italy -Fiat suspends production -September 19, 2014

Fiat had decided to temporary suspend the production at the Pomigliano plant near Naples. Some 1,950 of the plant's 4,500 workers have already been on so-called solidarity contracts since March, under which they agree to work less and are also paid less in exchange for workers retaining their jobs.

Estonia -Information for workers posted abroad -September 22, 2014

The labour inspectorate has published a brochure that explains to workers the difference between a business trip and the posting of workers. In the brochure potential abuses are defined as the withholding of payment, the deduction of administrative costs and the refusal of a decent contract.

Lithuania -The burden of undeclared labour -September 18, 2014

A large conference dedicated to the fight against undeclared labour took place in Vilnius. Several speakers (from the ILO and several European institutes) formulated proposals to deal with formalizing the informal economy, which in Europe often takes the form of undeclared work.

Romania -Spontaneous strike at Tarom -September 16, 2014

Pilots and flight attendants of airline company Tarom went on a spontaneous strike on 16 September. Three days after the start of the strike, the transport ministry, Tarom management and trade unions were meeting to discuss the situation.

France -Employer proposals strongly rejected -September 15, 2014

In a document that was leaked to the newspaper Les Echos the MEDEF employers association came up with controversial proposals how to increase jobs. The trade unions opposed the suggestion from the country's main employers' association to cut the number of holidays, increase the hours that workers put in each week and pay below the minimum wage.

Slovenia -Union takes a stand for migrant workers -September 07, 2014

The trade union confederation ZSSS underlined at a press conference that the country needs to improve its administration system as regards migrant workers. Exploitation of migrant workers is still an ongoing problem. In many cases employers send migrant workers to do a job abroad and when the work is completed and the person comes to collect the wage, they either do not get paid at all, or receive much less money than previously agreed.

Cyprus -Social dumping in the tourist sector -September 07, 2014

Trade unions, active in the hotel branch, are complaining about exploitation practices in this branch. Whilst the hotels are exploiting migrant workers, the local workforce is really suffering due to attitude in the tourism sector to favour cheap foreign labour.

Romania -Wages in 2014 -September 04, 2014

PWC published a wage report. Despite the increase in the minimum wage, which was twice increased in the last 12 months, salaries in the private sector registered only a modest growth in 2014.

Norway -Downsizing in oil industry -September 04, 2014

Oil workers at the Polar Pioneer rig are confronted with a downsizing process because the market is not developing in the way thought previously. In addition to redundancies, some workers will be offered other jobs, but in a more junior position.

Greece -Police, fire fighters and coast guards protest -September 06, 2014

About 2,000 police, firefighters and coast guards have held a peaceful anti-austerity protest in the northern city of Thessaloniki, on the eve of a visit by prime minister Samaras. The trade unions that organised the protest are angry at pay cuts and government plans to merge their pension funds under a major pension reform.

Bulgaria -Shadow economy discussed -September 04, 2014

During a conference attention was paid to the growing problem with the shadow economy. It was reported that the shadow economy represents nearly a third of the country’s total GDP, which is well-above one and a half times the EU average.

Croatia -Social partners discuss fair contracts -September 03, 2014

The social partners in construction have initiated the ‘fair prices initiative’ that aims to encourage debate and establish dialogue among participants of the process of public procurement and politically responsible bodies and individuals as well as to interrupt neglect, silence and tolerance by the public contracting authorities.

United Kingdom -Underemployment reaches record level -September 03, 2014

An analysis of the Labour Force Survey by the trade union confederation TUC shows that the number of people who count as underemployed – people working part-time because they can’t get a full-time job, or wanting more hours in their current job – has increased for both employees and the self-employed.

Estonia -Average wage 4.8% up in one year -September 02, 2014

The Wages and Salaries Statistics Survey reported in the 2nd quarter an average monthly gross wage of 1,023 euro, an increase of 4.8% year on year. Average hourly gross wages were 6.21 euro and increased 8.8% compared to the same quarter of 2013.

Denmark -Income inequality on the rise -September 02, 2014

A recent analysis from the think-tank Cevea shows that income inequality is on the rise. The analysis shows that the wealthiest one percent of Danes – about 46,000 individuals – own nearly one third of the country’s total wealth. The gap is increasing.

Bulgaria -Minimum wage debate opened up -September 02, 2014

In the middle of a political crisis in which the country is being governed by a caretaker government, its caretaker Minister of Labour and Social Policy has opened up the debate about the minimum wage. Minister Hristoskov said the minimum wage could be increased from BGN 340 to BGN 400 without the business sector experiencing negative impact.

Poland -Airline LOT violates union rights -September 01, 2014

Over the last five years, the airline dismissed eight trade union leaders. The Civil Aviation Secretaries of the international and European trade unions ITF and ETF are demanding the reinstatement of the dismissed union leader in a joint letter to the President of LOT Polish Airlines.

Germany -Strike at Germanwings -August 29, 2014

In an effort to maintain their early retirement scheme pilots at Lufthansa's budget carrier Germanwings staged a six-hour strike. The scheme allows pilots to retire at 55 and still receive up to 60% of their pay until state pension payments start.

Portugal -Massive strike of nurses in Algarve -August 28, 2014

Since the austerity, hospitals take no responsibility for the heavily understaffed Basic Emergency Services (SUB). Unions say many nurses work 16 hour days for 15 or 16 days in a row to staff the units. The participation in a 24-hour strike to protest against long working hours, often without intervals.

France -Pilots ask for dialogue with a week-long strike -August 28, 2014

Trade unions representing the pilots have announced a week of strike between September 15 and 22, as part of a running dispute with the company over its strategy to compete against low-cost airlines. Pilots say they there is a complete lack of dialogue over the reorganisation of the airline.

Belgium -Picket lines at IKEA -August 21, 2014

Transport workers have organised actions at several IKEA stores in the Netherlands and Belgium, accusing social dumping. The Belgian transport trade union BTB and FNV Bondgenoten in the Netherlands claim that IKEA is bringing in cheap labour from eastern European countries to transport their products.

United Kingdom -Meat inspectors strike -August 20, 2014

Meat inspectors at the Food Standards Agency (FSA) are to stage two four-hour strikes in a row over pay. The move follows a ballot earlier this month, voted by 63% in favour of strike action, over an imposed pay offer of 0.75%.

Spain -Self-employment decreased despite facilities -August 20, 2014

The government’s decision to significantly reduce social security contributions for new self-employed workers has encouraged thousands of people to work for themselves. Over 267,000 people have particularly embraced a measure that allows them to pay €53 a month for half a year, compared with the regular rate of nearly €260.

EU sources -Job quality and earnings -August 20, 2014

Eurofound has analysed several aspects of working conditions. The resulting report aims to identify occupations and groups of individuals experiencing relatively lower levels of earnings, job and career prospects, poor working time and intrinsic job quality.

Norway -Several pay deals for oil workers -August 17, 2014

Trade union SAFE came to an agreement with oil service companies, calling off a strike that would have affected a unit of Baker Hughes. Some 89 oil workers would have walked off the job if the talks had failed. Collective agreements cover about 6,000 workers employed at oil service firms.

Hungary -Media law obstructs union work -August 17, 2014

The powers of the politically-appointed Media Council still exist. The OSF report claims that the power of the broadcast media arm of the Media Council, is ‘absolute’ and ‘unprecedented in other European democracies.’ The Modified labour legislation, has further weakened the bargaining power of journalists’ union.

Condor -dispute to tribunal -August 13, 2014

Two Condor Ferries workers have taken the firm to a tribunal over employment rights. They are arguing all St Malo-based seafarers should have the same package of benefits as anyone who lives in France.

Ireland -Hope of public sector pay restoration rekindled -August 11, 2014

Trade unions have reacted favourably to indications by the minister for Public Expenditure and Reform that collective negotiations in the public sector may be restored in 2015. Since 2009, the public sector has been subject to pay freezes and across the board cuts as a part of the Croke Park Agreement.

Italy -Airport strike averted -August 09, 2014

As part of the planned merger with Abu Dhabi carrier Etihad; redundancies have been a major hurdle, with Etihad asking for 2,171 job cuts. In mid-July: partial agreement on laying off 1,635 workers out of a workforce of some 12,800 has been reached.

Denmark -Lay-offs in IT -August 07, 2014

IT company KMD announced the cutting of 120 positions. The job cuts – motivated by dropping prices and greater competition – will be scattered throughout the company.

Malta -Collective agreement for academic staff -August 06, 2014

A collective agreement for academic staff at the University of Malta and the Junior College for the period between 2014 and 2018 was settled. The agreement places salary increases for academic staff in parallel with those of other civil service workers.

Latvia -Tallink ferries announce job cuts -August 06, 2014

The AS Tallink Grupp management reported that changes are necessary to improve the company’s operational efficiency and profitability. The ferry M/S Isabelle Silja Europa will become the new ferry hub to Australia, starting with August.

Hungary -Union busting at Hankook -August 05, 2014

Korean owned tire maker Hankook has been relentless in its union busting. The firing of a local union president became the last violation in a series of totally unusual and extraordinary examples of the bad industrial relations practice for years exercised by the Hankook management.

Czech Republic -Employment figures published -August 04, 2014

According to figures released by the Statistics Office the country has the fourth lowest unemployment rate in the EU, after the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. In 2013 the Czech Republic had an average 7% unemployment rate, compared with the EU average of 11%.

Romania -International migration documented -August 01, 2014

A report of the national statistical office documents the evolution of the workforce and notably the labour migration with facts and figures. As a result the country has to face an increased ageing of the population. Up to three quarter of the migrants leave for Italy and Spain.

Croatia -Labour law changes explained -August 01, 2014

The Ministry of Labour and Pension System announced earlier in 2014 proposals to modify working time legislation that will make internal organisation of work easier for employers. The aim is to help them cut operating costs by being able to respond quickly to short-term fluctuations in orders.

Poland -Minimum wage in construction -July 30, 2014

The Polish Confederation of Employers of the Building Industry (Polski Związek Pracodawców Budownictwa PZPB) and the Confederation of the Polish Crafts (Związek Rzemiosła Polskiego ZRP) and trade unions Solidarnosc and ZZ Budowlani have signed an agreement setting a minimum wage in the construction sector.

Germany -Bundesbank favours higher wages -July 30, 2014

The Bundesbank that historically has been a strong advocate of wage restraint has welcomed above-inflation wage increases in some sectors, with euro zone inflation stuck below 1% and consumer prices rising just 1.0% in June in Europe's biggest economy.

Luxembourg -Luxair conciliation talks fail too -July 24, 2014

A first round of talks between LuxairGroup and trade unions OGBL, LCGB and ngl-snep at the national conciliation office has failed. The trade unions report that Luxair refuses to make any real wage offer, being only interested in an indefinite wage freeze despite a 1.9 million benefit in 2013.

Finland -Railway electricians strike for better working conditions -July 19, 2014

Members of the Finnish Electrical Workers’ Union working for railway company VR Track have gone back to work, but announced new strikes might be organised. The workers, who fall under the labour agreement for railway workers demand to be treated equal to electric installation specialists under the Electrical Workers’ Union collective agreement.

Netherlands -New collective agreement in waste sector -July 15, 2014

Negotiators of employers and trade unions have reached a collective agreement that will run from 1 September 2014 until 31 December 2015 if approved by the union members. The agreement includes a wage increase of 1.25% from 1 September 2014 and another 0.75% from 1 June 2015.

Sweden -IKEA suspected of secret police funding -July 04, 2014

The Guardian reports that declassified files at the National College for Studying the Securitate Archives (CNSAS) in Romania show that furniture giant IKEA agreed to be overcharged for Romanian-made products and some of these funds were handed over to the Securitate, the infamous secret service.

Romania -Tax cut on social security pay -July 03, 2014

The parliament's lower house approved a 5% point cut in social security taxes for employers that is intended to boost economic growth but will leave a gap in the budget, going against a recommendation from the International Monetary Fund.

EU sources -European strategy at Amazon discussed -July 03, 2014

Union leaders from Britain, France and Germany held talks in Berlin with colleagues from Poland, the Czech Republic and the United States to discuss the rise of Amazon in Europe and how to engage with the online retailer on job security, warehouse working conditions and low pay.

United Kingdom -People on low income cannot afford decent life -July 02, 2014

The Joseph Rowntree Foundation's minimum income standard (MIS), now in its sixth year, has become an essential, annual benchmark of what is thought to be the reasonable financial underpinnings of a modest life; not starvation rations, just sufficient to achieve a decent standard of living in the 21st century.

Turkey -Justice for unrecorded worker -July 02, 2014

A court in Istanbul has ruled that a company that employed an unregistered worker from Türkmenistan, but disowned him after he died in a work-related incident, must pay a record amount of compensation to his family. The court found the main contractor liable.

Italy -Construction industry concludes collective agreement -July 02, 2014

Long after it expired (the end of 2012) the collective bargaining partners in construction renewed the sectoral collective agreement that covers approximately 800,000 workers. In addition to a wage increase that starts at €40 for the basic level, it provides for a reform of the sector’s paritarian organisations.

Ireland -High Court lifts injunction -July 02, 2014

The High Court has lifted the three interim injunction orders granted to Greyhound Household Ltd in June. The decision means that management cannot interfere with official union pickets or prevent workers from describing its actions as a lockout.

Denmark -Statistical yearbook 2014 -July 02, 2014

An English version of the annual report of the official statistical office is available online. The section Labour, Earnings and Income summarises data on wages and labour costs, (un)employment, labour migration and other relevant items.

Croatia -Electricity services strike postponed -July 02, 2014

Due to the reopening of the talks the trade unions in the national electricity supply company HEP have postponed their strike announced earlier on. The protest was initiated as workers feared their rights were endangered with the new contracts they were offered.

Belgium -Agreement for air traffic controllers -July 01, 2014

After two weeks of negotiations and two-hour strikes that caused chaos at the country's airports the trade unions representing the air traffic controllers and the management of the air traffic control service Belgocontrol have reached an agreement on (amongst other things) conditions for retirement.

Austria -Post workers conclude pay deal July 01, 2014

After several bargaining rounds the management of the national postal service (Österreichische Post AG) and the postal and telecom trade union GPF concluded a collective agreement with on an average a 2.2% wage increase with a guaranteed minimum of €40 a month (for the lowest wages this means an increase of 3.24%).

Sweden -Train strike ends at Southern Sweden -June 27, 2014

Employees of Veolia, operating trains in Southern Sweden, went on indefinite strike, effectively halting transport in the region and stranding over 75,000 passengers. The workers called the strike after they were fired only to be re-hired under worse working conditions.

Norway -Dock workers involved in several disputes -June 27, 2014

Dockers in Mosjøen are in dispute over claims that their employer, Mosjøen Industri Terminal (MIT), a subcontractor at Alcoa's facility, has failed to pay money owed to them for their work and that they have been illegally locked out since early May 2014.

Germany -Reconsidering cooperatives -June 26, 2014

In a large article the pros and cons of cooperatives led by the trade unions are treated. The author was invited by several organisations, including trade union IG Metall to give an answer to such questions as: Why should trade unions and cooperatives partner together?

Ireland -Pay cuts lead to strike -June 25, 2014

The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) has invited IMPACT and South Dublin County Council to talks after 600 IMPACT members took strike action in a dispute over the unilateral imposition of pay cuts.

Denmark -Eco-friendly investment creates jobs -June 25, 2014

A green investment fund created by the government will be able to lend money to companies that intend to invest in environment-friendly projects. Aside from the fund, a green innovation pool will also be created to strengthen small and medium-sized enterprises innovation.

France -Industrial action of arts workers -June 24, 2014

Strikes by performers, actors and technicians are threatening to shut down some of the leading arts events, including the renowned Avignon festival. Part-time and temporary workers are angry at plans to reduce their right to extra benefits and social security, aimed at cutting government debt.

Netherlands -Consequences of labour reform discussed -June 23, 2013

The planned labour reform that passed the upper house of the parliament with a large majority has to provide temporary and freelance workers with greater protection, ensure equal treatment and compulsory procedures in redundancy and tackle ‘sham’ employment arrangements more effectively.

Netherlands -Collective agreement dairy industry -June 20, 2013

Trade unions and employers in the dairy industry have reached a collective agreement that will run retroactively from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016. The 10,000 employees in the sector will receive a 2% pay hike from 1 April 2014 onward and a second 2% increase from 1 April 2015.

Luxembourg -Negotiations with Luxair failed -June 20, 2014

Talks between airline Luxair and unions for a collective working agreement have failed, after the latter decided to walk out on the latest round of negotiations. The OGBL, LCGB and ngl-snep trade unions have complained that Luxair is unwilling to acknowledge its workers despite a 1.9 million euro benefit last year, for example by wanting to freeze wages.

Hungary -1997 global agreement between Danone and unions put to the test -June 19, 2014

A 1997 agreement between Danone and global food, farm and hotel workers union IUF that regulates major employment changes anywhere in the world, is being put to the test as Danone announces its intention to close three plants in Germany, Hungary and Italy. In Hungary, the cuts are expected to lead to the layoff of 155 workers, while total job cuts in all three countries would amount to 325 jobs.

Sweden -Threat of job losses at SAS -June 18, 2014

After the airline SAS reported over one billion kronor in losses for the second quarter of 2014 the management stated that at least 300 employees will be dismissed. The measures are expected to have an impact of one billion kronor in the financial year of 2014/2015.

Bulgaria -Social partners discuss rules for annual leave take-up -June 18, 2014

Trade union, employer and government representatives have announced they intent to start talks on the rules governing the take-up of annual leave. Currently, schedules for the annual leave for the next year must be published by employers before the end of the current year and employees are not allowed to transfer more than 10 days of unused paid leave days to the next year.

EU sources -Changes in wage-setting mechanisms -June 18, 2014

An Eiro report explores the impact of the crisis on wage-setting mechanisms (based on separate reports for the 28 EU Member States plus Norway) and examines the impact of the EU’s new economic governance regime – specifically the requirements of the country-specific recommendations and Memoranda of Understanding.

Spain -Coca cola ordered to reinstate workers -June 15, 2014

Madrid’s national court has ordered Coca-Cola to rehire 821 workers it had laid off and to pay them their outstanding salaries. According to the court the US drinks giant had undermined workers right to strike and not adequately informed or negotiated with staff. A spokesperson of the food workers trade union of CC.OO stated that the company had violated fundamental workers’ rights.

France -Rail strike against proposed reforms -June 15, 2014

Trade unions CGT and Sud called a national rail strike. The strike comes as Parliament discusses a draft bill proposing a merger of the two companies operating the railway system, the SNCF and RFF, and to allow competition on the tracks.

Ireland -M&S workers accept proposals -June 14, 2014

The Mandate trade union members in Marks & Spencer voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new set of proposals. The dispute between Marks & Spencer workers and their employer was over the company seeking cost cutting measures.

Cyprus -Trade union criticises selling of London sloth -June 14, 2014

Cyprus Airways plan to sell its remaining slot at Heathrow Airport has led to harsh criticism from the trade union side. The airline’s pilots union PASYPI is dead set against selling the remaining Heathrow operation, warning that this could jeopardise the airline’s long-term viability.

United Kingdom -Rail workers at Heathrow Express against pay cuts -June 13, 2014

Trade union RMT confirmed a fourth wave of industrial action across Heathrow Express after the company sabotaged ACAS talks and resorted to issuing blanket threats to sack hundreds of staff if they don’t call off their fight over a package of multi-million pound cuts which amount to an all-out assault on pay, jobs and safety.

Ireland -Job and pay cuts at Bausch + Lomb -June 13, 2014

Trade union Siptu and management of pharmaceutical company Bausch + Lomb, the single largest employer in the South East, are in crisis talks as management announced its intention to lay off 200 employees and cut wages of the remaining staff by 20%.

Iceland -Data on wage development published -June 13, 2014

Wages have increased 1.9% on average from the previous quarter according to the quarterly wage index in 1st quarter 2014. From the previous year the increase was 5.5% on average, 5.7% in the private sector and 4.9% in the public sector.

Cyprus -Massive appeal against privatisation -June 13, 2014

A vast majority of employees of the semi-state power company (EAC) have resumed their struggle against the privatisation of the company by the government, with mass appeals to the Supreme Court requesting the repeal of the Council of Ministers’ decision slating it for privatisation.

Belgium -Massive job cuts at retail giant Delhaize -June 13, 2014

The management of Delhaize, one of the largest retail chains in the country, announced during an extraordinary meeting of the works council its intention to implement major changes to its organisation that could lead to the dismissal of 2,500 workers in the next 3 years as part of the company’s strategy for 2015-2017.

Austria -A tool for key economic and social data -June 13, 2014

Statistics Austria has produced the Austrian Economic Atlas, a straightforward and well organised tool for gaining an overview of the structure of the economy. The databank is providing a comprehensive package of key economic and social data information about the economy online (available in German only).

EU sources -Special Eurobarometer on undeclared labour -June 10, 2014

A Eurofound report examines the concept of undeclared work, the characteristics of those supplying goods and services on an undeclared basis, the types of work activities that are undeclared, and income levels from undeclared work, including the extent of the practice of offering cash in hand.

Italy -Alitalia to cut 2,200 jobs -June 09, 2014

Airline Alitalia is expected to lay off as many as 2,200 as a part of an alliance with Gulf carrier Etihad Airways. The heavily indebted company Alitalia has been negotiating with Etihad to save the company before it runs out of cash in August.

Italy -Wage development assessed -June 06, 2014

In an updated profile some specificities of the collective bargaining structure for the entire economy are described. The article illustrates the developments in the collectively agreed wages by the examples of the chemical sector, retail and civil services.

Germany -Strike at Amazon warehouses extended again -June 03, 2014

Trade union Ver.di has called out strikes at more Amazon warehouses as the company continues to refuse to apply the correct collective agreement. In a long-running conflict that has seen dozens of strike actions, reported in this newsletter over the last years, Amazon pays its staff according to the collective agreement for logistics workers, whereas all other delivery services in the country correctly apply the collective agreement for retail and mail order workers.

Latvia -Wage increases recorded -June 02, 2014

Data compiled by the Central Statistical Bureau show that in the 1st quarter of 2014 average monthly gross wages and salaries, compared to the 1st quarter of 2013, increased by 7.7% from 689 euro to 742 euro.

Switzerland -Opening hours in retail disputed -June 02, 2014

A draft federal law to set uniform national opening hours for shops is running into opposition from cantons, municipalities and trade unions representing store workers. The law would allow shops across the country to stay open on weekdays from 6am to 8pm and from 6am to 7pm on Saturdays.

Italy -Airport workers on strike -June 02, 2014

Flights at Rome Fiumicino and Milan’s Malpensa and Linate airports were facing disruption resulting from a strike coordinated by the trade unions, including baggage handlers and staff working with airlines Alitalia and Easyjet.

Portugal -CGTP takes week-long action -June 01, 2014

The trade union confederation CGTP staged a week of protests and strike action as a form of national action to fight for the improvement of the national minimum wage. The demand was to hike the minimum monthly wage by €30, from the current €485 to €515.

Ireland -Cabin crew strike -June 01, 2014

Aer Lingus cabin crew organised a 24-hour strike over rosters. Pickets were placed on Dublin, Cork and Shannon Airports and the cabin crew marched through Dublin Airport to Aer Lingus headquarters to hand in a letter to management outlining their position.

United Kingdom -Trade union membership recorded May 30, 2014

Around 6.5 million employees in the UK were trade union members in 2013. The level of overall union members was broadly unchanged from 2012, with a reduction of only 6,000 over the year (a 0.1% decline), but well below the peak of over 13 million in 1979. The overall number of employees increased between 2012 and 2013.

Slovakia -Strike averted at Volkswagen -May 28, 2014

Trade unions at the Slovak division of German carmaker Volkswagen called off a warning strike in Volkswagen's plant in Bratislava. A new collective agreement raises the basic salary 2.4% retroactively as of April 2014. Another pay rise of 2.3% is scheduled to take effect at the start of 2015. Employees will also get a bonus of 280 euros.

Poland -Unemployment decreases -May 28, 2014

The level of unemployment fell from 13.5% to 13% in April. Analysts predict that with winter over, the level will continue to decrease, as an increasing number of seasonal jobs become available.

Norway -Wage deal for oil rig workers -May 28, 2014

Two trade unions representing workers who operate oil drilling rigs reached a deal with the Norwegian Shipowners' Association, averting a strike after similar negotiations with other oil sector workers broke down in recent weeks. The unions were pleased with the overall financial settlement.

Netherlands -Philip Morris workers strike -May 28, 2013

The social plan negotiations for the loss of 1230 jobs at the Philip Morris cigarette factory in Bergen op Zoom came to a halt. The social plan drafted by the management was rejected by the workforce that called for a strike on Wednesday 28 May.

Netherlands -3-year agreement for cleaning sector -May 27, 2013

The trade unions (FNV Bondgenoten and CNV Vakmensen) reached an agreement with the Employers’ organisation Cleaning and Office services (OSB) for a collective agreement in the cleaning sector after a long period of negotiations and strike actions that, according to an opinion poll, had a 70% public support.

Denmark -Walk out at TDC -May 26, 2014

Technicians working nationwide for the telecommunications group TDC laid down their tools. TDC and the trade union Dansk Metal, which is negotiating on behalf of the workers, acknowledged that they were very far apart on wage demands.

Liechtenstein -Economic outlook improves -May 22, 2014

The governmental Office of Statistics published new analysis for the year 2013. The employment figures show that in manufacturing (mainly food and automobile services) and in general and financial services the perspective improved.

Hungary -First quarter figures -May 22, 2014

n the national economy (in companies employing at least 5 persons, budgetary and designated non-profit institutions) average earnings increased by 1.8% in the first quarter of 2014, compared to 2013.

Germany -Solidarity action with Autogrill workers -May 20, 2014

Since 16 April 2014 workers at Autogrill service stations in Hörselgau and Eisenach (Thuringia) and in Donautal, Rhön and Greding (Bavaria) have been taking indefinite strike action. The aim is to conclude a standard general wage agreement with better working conditions.

EU sources -Analysis of labour force survey figures -May 19, 2014

An analysis of Eurostat shows that the state of the EU labour market in 2013 was determined by the economic crisis, as in previous years. The key EU figures did not improve: the figures either continued to show a negative trend (unemployment) or remained relatively stable compared with the year before (employment).

Czech Republic -Data on working poor – annual report 2013 -May 17, 2014

Data from the statistical office ČSÚ reveal that 18% of working Czechs live in poverty since their low pay hardly suffices for their subsistence. Some professions are the most threatened with poverty, primarily unqualified workers, such as cashiers in supermarkets, cleaning ladies and security agency workers.

Netherlands -Schiphol security staff demand decent work -May 16, 2013

Security workers at Amsterdam Schiphol airport have initiated industrial action against indecent working conditions. Hundreds joined a manifestation whereas others wore protest badges on the job. The workers are protesting against insecure contracts, being made to work long hours without sufficient breaks and irregular pay and hours.

Italy -Deal at Electrolux -May 16, 2014

The government signed a deal with the trade unions and representatives of the home appliance maker Electrolux to stave off the threat of closure for one of the company's factories and to save 1,200 jobs.

France -Public sector strike for better pay -May 16, 2014

Tens of thousands of public sector workers joined the 15 May public sector strike to demand higher wages and an end to austerity. The strike was felt in schools, hospitals, airports, city transport, police stations and government buildings around the country.

Switzerland -Job cuts announced at insurer -May 15, 2014

Although net profit rose in the first quarter of 2014 from the same period a year earlier, thanks to returns on its investments, Zurich Insurance is continuing with a plan to cut hundreds of jobs in Switzerland and elsewhere.

Latvia -Labour market figures published -May 15, 2014

Results of the Labour Force Survey conducted by the Central Statistical Bureau show that in the first quarter of 2014 there were 118.7 thousand unemployed persons aged 15-74, of which 15.5 thousand or 13% were young people aged 15-24.

Iceland -Pay dispute of pilots continues – ban on strike -May 15, 2014

Negotiations between pilots and Icelandair on a collective bargaining agreement were broken off. The International Transport Workers’ Federation stated: ‘The company has had tremendous success over the last four years, resulting in substantial executive bonuses and an excellent return on investment for shareholders’.

Austria -Bargaining information online -May 15, 2014

The site www.kollektivvertrag.at is the result of a cooperation project of the trade union confederation OGB and its affiliates with the ministry of labour. It provides information (in German) on all collective agreements in force, summaries of a selection of agreements, news on ongoing negotiations and thematic background information.

Austria -Minimum wage index published -May 15, 2014

The Index of Agreed Minimum Wages (basis: 2006 annual average = 100) measures the minimum wage trend. This index is a key evaluation criterion for wage and salary negotiations and, with other indices relating to wage and price trends, an important economic indicator.

Turkey -Disaster with miners due to poor safety record -May 14, 2014

Hundreds of coal miners were trapped underground after an explosion and fire in Soma (western Turkey) that left almost 300 of their colleagues dead. A blast in the power unit of the mine triggered an electricity cut, making the lifts unusable and leaving hundreds of miners stranded underground.

Norway -Air strike called off after deal was reached -May 14, 2014

Danish and Norwegian workers of low-cost air carrier have been in conflict with management since the company announced it intends to transfer its cabin crew to new holding company subsidiaries in a move that workers fear will affect their wages, working conditions and pensions.

Ireland -New act on bargaining proposed -May 14, 2014

The government has drafted proposals that aim to deliver on the commitment in the coalition programme to legislate on employees’ right to engage in collective bargaining. Workers will get new protection from employers in disputes over pay cuts, pensions and other conditions.

Bulgaria -Wage decrease recorded -May 14, 2014

According to figures published by the National Statistical Institute (NSI) the number of employees under labour contract has increased at the end of March 2014 by 2.5% as compared to the end of December 2013 and reached 2.22 million.

EU sources -Impact IMF-policy on inequality assessed -May 13, 2014

In the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) congress papers a critical assessment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) policy is made. The papers state that the IMF has received attention for its research documents which show that income inequality harms economic growth and stability.

Hungary -Gender pay gap -May 11, 2014

The website Fizetesek.hu has investigated how the gender pay gap has changed during recent years. The results show that women receive 21% less money than men for the same amount of work, and in higher positions the difference is even greater.

Romania -Postal workers on strike -May 06, 2014

Postal workers throughout the country have gone on strike against low pay, bad working conditions and mismanagement. The workers demand a 20% pay rise, paid overtime, new uniforms, new staff to fill the vacant jobs and for current management resign.

Germany -New collective agreement for construction -May 06, 2014

After four rounds of negotiations the partners in collective bargaining for the construction sector (approximately 780,000 workers) have agreed on a compromise two-year pay deal. Partners agreed to further reduce the pay gap between East and West Germany.

Finland -Warehouse workers strike -May 03, 2014

Thousands of workers at Keslog, Inex Partners, Oriola, Tuko Logistics and Lidl warehouses went on strike after the deadline for a collective agreement expired on 30 April 2014. Focus of the dispute between the Finnish Commerce Federation and trade union PAM are working hours and low pay rates for sick leave.

Portugal -Police officers plan appeal to tourists -May 02, 2014

Police officers have announced they are preparing a leafleting action targeting tourists arriving to the country’s ports and airports. The officers are protesting the far going cuts, which have left them with lower salaries, fewer colleagues and higher work pressure. Through the action, tourists will be made aware of the situation.

United Kingdom -London tube strike halts inner city traffic -May 02, 2014

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union have organised a 48 hour strike in the London Underground and have announced further action for 5 May. While three other unions decided against industrial action, RMT members voted in favour of opposing the looming closure of every one of the underground’s ticket offices.

Denmark Unions criticise reward for not getting pregnant --May 02, 2014

The initiative launched by an au pair bureau to reward Filipino au pairs for not getting pregnant within the two-year period of their stay has been sharply criticised by the trade unions. Aupair Agency Denmark motivated it as a bonus that will be attractive for those who ‘are only interested in money’.

Luxembourg -16,000 work related accidents in 2012 -May 01, 2014

A recent study by Statec has shown that Luxembourg has more work related accidents (2,900 per 100,000 workers) than the EU average (2,300). In 2010, a total of 16,000 work place accidents were reported, 14 of which resulted in the death of the worker.

Portugal -Independent national call centres union is founded -April 26, 2014

Sixty call centre workers have founded the Sindicato Nacional dos Trabalhadores de Call Centers, which aims to represent call centre workers and claims independence from established unions UGT and CGTP. The founders say their primary aims are to combat precariousness and to establish effective collective representation in a sector with extremely high turnover rates.

Ireland -Public service unions prepare pay claim -April 25, 2014

Public service unions announced that they will be seeking pay increases in 2015 if public finances continue to improve. From the beginning of the financial and economic crisis, public service unions and the government have agreed on wage moderation in exchange for job guarantees.

Turkey -Collective agreement for DHL workers -April 23, 2014

After 2.5 years of negotiations, trade union TUMTIS and DHL management have concluded a collective agreement. The long struggle, which was backed by a number of international unions, started picking up speed at TUMTIS was recognised as the lawful union of choice for DHL Turkey Supply Chain staff in November 2013.

Spain -Authors join FNAC staff in strike on St. George’s Day -April 23, 2014

Authors have supported a 24 hours strike by FNAC staff in Barcelona on St. George’s Day. Trade unions have been reporting that book retailer FNAC has put the majority of its staff on part-time contracts and meagre wages as well as the company’s policy to continuously pressure its staff into reaching unattainable sales targets.

Norway -Pension dispute continues -April 23, 2014

The trade union SAFE and Industri Energi lost a case in the Stavanger District Court but choose to continue their pension battle on behalf of 7,500 current and past rig workers at 18 companies.

Sweden -Flat rate pay deal in voluntary sector -April 17, 2014

Trade union Kommunal and the employers’ organisation in the health and social care have reached a collective agreement that will run from 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2016. The deal includes a pay rise across the board of SEK 550 (€60) in 2013 and SEK600 (€66) in 2014.

Germany -Pay deal for federal and local authorities -April 17, 2014

After a series of warning strikes that was reported in last month’s newsletter, a pay deal was reached for the 2.1 million federal and municipal workers. The agreement includes an immediate 3% pay rise, implemented retrospectively from 1 March 2014, and another 2.5% from 1 March 2015 onwards.

Slovakia -Strike cancelled after agreement on wages -April 11, 2014

The trade union action that was announced in the engineering company PPS Group Detva has been cancelled thanks to an agreement between the unions and the company’s leadership on an across-the-board pay rise of €25 per month and on retaining all social benefits.

Estonia -Gender gap discussed -April 10, 2014

On ‘Equal Pay Day’, an initiative of the Ministry of Social Affairs, debates took place on the gender gap. In Estonia, women earn on average 30% less than men - the greatest difference in salaries in the European Union.

Spain -Judge rules over wild cat strike -April 04, 2014

A Madrid magistrate has ruled that the wildcat strike by air traffic controllers that caused chaos at the country’s airports over a holiday weekend in December 2010 after the closure of national airspace was neither ‘legitimate’ nor a protected right.

Croatia -Strike over unpaid wages -April 04, 2014

Workers of the chemical industry company Kemoplast from the village of Policnik in the southern part of the country decided to go for a strike to protest after not receiving 17 consecutive wage packets.

EU sources -Collective bargaining at risk -April 03, 2014

The Eurofound report Impact of the crisis on industrial relations and working conditions in Europe analyses the impact of the global financial, economic and public debt crisis on industrial relations and working conditions at national level in the EU Member States from 2008 to end 2012. The clearest finding has been an accelerated trend towards decentralization in collective bargaining in many countries.

Norway -Wage deal for oil workers -April 02, 2014

The industrial workers struck a last minute wage deal, averting a strike that would have involved some of the country's top oil services firms, unions and employers said. The sides agreed on wage rises worth about 3.3%, which will favour lower paid employees.

Poland -Strike over job security -April 02, 2014

Three trade unions have stated the intention to organise a strike at Warsaw's Chopin International Airport on 7 May. The action follows an announcement that several hundred employees are due to be laid off as part of a restructuring programme.


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