2015

Spain -New jobs are insecure and uncertain -May 04, 2015

Majority of jobs that have been created in recent years are low-skilled and short-term lasting for a period of just seven days, many of these in the hotel industry; adding to the insecure nature of the newly created posts.

Ireland -Forum on living wages prepared -March 02, 2015

The government has published draft legislation aimed at establishing a commission on low pay. The forum will include trade unions, employers and representatives of civil society. It will have to discuss the meaning of a living wage ‘in a structured way’.

European sources -Slight growth of minimum wage -March 01, 2015

The article looks at developments in the minimum wage across Europe’s Member States. While minimum wages have often been frozen or seen only moderate increases during the years of crisis, the past two years have witnessed a cautious return in most Member States to growth in the minimum wage.

Turkey -Health workers protest -February 28, 2015

Protesting health workers set up camp in front of a hospital to demand the reinstatement of 98 workers dismissed for demanding higher wages and shorter working hours, and for joining Dev Sağlık-İş - the health union of the trade union confederation, DISK.

Latvia -OECD insists on reform -February 25, 2015

According to an OECD Economic Survey continued reforms will promote a rapid and sustainable pace of convergence with upper-income countries while limiting the risk of repeated boom-and-bust cycles.

EU sources -Tax avoidance at McDonalds -February 24, 2015

EPSU and EFFAT Report: McDonald’s deliberately has avoided over €1 billion in corporate taxes in Europe over the five year period 2009-2013. The tax avoidance strategy essentially consisted of moving the European headquarters from the UK to Switzerland as well as using intra-group royalty payments and channelling them into a Luxembourg based subsidiary with a Swiss branch.

Belgium -No to unregulated taxis -February 20, 2015

Trade union BTB has taken action in its ongoing efforts to confront app-based taxi system Uber over protecting standards for drivers and passengers. Although currently prohibited, Uber has been operating in Brussels.

Italy -OECD backs up reforms -February 19, 2015

An OECD report adds that labour market reforms will improve Italy’s low productivity growth and will also help potentially high-growth, productive firms to overcome barriers to their development.

Serbia -New collective agreement for teachers -February 12, 2015

After 3 months of strike, 4 teachers unions and the ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development have agreed on a collective agreement for teachers in primary and secondary education. The partners agreed to mitigate the 10% salary cut that teachers experiences through a solidarity support fund and the annual award.

Cyprus -Economic outlook fragile -February 12, 2015

The economic outlook still is fragile. The elevated unemployment rate, reaching a peak in November 2014 (of 16.8%), negatively affects the outlook; high unemployment may undermine a sustained recovery.

Ireland -Dunnes Stores refuses talks with unions -February 11, 2015

Retailer Dunnes claims it has the constitutional right not to negotiate with trade unions. In a letter to its staff the company accused the trade union Mandate of seeking to generate a dispute that does not exist with its employees with a view to securing negotiation rights.

Luxembourg -Cross-border workers entitled to child care vouchers -February 10, 2015

Recent changes have ensured that cross-border workers will be entitled to child care vouchers. Child vouchers are a benefit scheme in which workers contribute part of their wage to buy subsidies vouchers for child care facilities. 355,800 cross-border workers, comprising 44% of the country’s workforce, will be entitled to child vouchers.

Austria -OECD report pleads for lowering wage tax -February 10, 2015

In an OECD-report it was noted that the country needs to take a range of measures to ensure long-term growth - in particular by reducing effective marginal income tax rates. Labour taxes include personal income tax and employee plus employer social security contributions. The report notes that taxation is particularly high for low income earners.

Slovenia -Social pact signed for 2015/16 -February 06, 2015

The social partners signed a document that represents a step towards the restoring of mutual trust. Due to unresolved issues - like the minimum wage which has been left out of the social pact - social peace among partners will be put on test in the coming period.

Romania -Average net salary goes up -February 06, 2015

The average net salary was of 1,866 lei (419 euro) in December 2014, up by 123 lei (27 euro) or 7.1% compared to November 2014. The increases of the average net earnings were mainly due to occasional bonuses, including quarterly, annual or holiday bonuses.

Germany -Siemens announces job cuts -February 06, 2015

Siemens - the engineering firm that makes everything from trains to turbines - says it is cutting 7,800 jobs to streamline management and speed up decision-making, looking for one billion euros in savings by the end of 2016. In Germany, 3,300 posts will go.

Denmark -Unions take Ryanair to court -February 04, 2015

The looming conflict with Ryanair enters a new phase as the trade unions have decided to file a case in the Danish Labour Court (Arbejdsretten) to determine whether Ryanair should operate under Irish or Danish rules when it begins flying out of its new Copenhagen base.

Austria -Shadow economy increases -February 04, 2015

According to a recent report rising unemployment and high tax and social insurance contributions are causing an increasing number of people to abandon formal employment and work in ‘shadow economies’. The author, economist Friedrich Schneider, has argued in the past that rather than trying to deter the shadow economy governments should embrace the entrepreneurship it spawns and lower taxes.

Switzerland -Trade unions report on wages and distribution of wealth -February 02, 2015

During the last 20 years inequality has increased between the low paid and the top of the income earners. Fiscal policy and other levies have contributed to a further rise of inequality instead of having a redistributing effect. The situation accelerated from the mid-1990s with an increase of 40% for the highest earners, whilst the lower paid were confronted with a reduction of 8% (and middle class with 12% reduction).

Belgium -Tripartite deal leads to split views -February 02, 2015

The protests organised by the three trade union confederations led to an intensification of the tripartite talks. The government agreed with the so-called ‘Group of Ten’, the main negotiators of trade unions and employer organisations, on a timeframe for talks.

Portugal -Intervention of EU in minimum wage increase -January 30, 2015

The government took a stand against the European Commission that had criticized recent measures for the labour market, including an increase in the national minimum wage. Suggestions in a commission report that they represented backtracking in the reforms undertaken over the past three-and-a-half years were rejected in a letter to the EC.

Cyprus -Dockers walked off -January 29, 2015

Larnaca port workers organised a three-hour strike to protest the extension given to the consortium that was supposed to develop the area but cannot find the money to go ahead with the project.

Bulgaria -Prison workers industrial action continues -January 28, 2015

Late December 2014 prison officers from all correctional facilities staged protests in front of their workplaces in expression of their discontent with the non-observation of the Ministry of the Interior Act. The demonstrations concerned the bad labour conditions and the unfulfilled engagements of the Ministry of Justice.

Austria -Key data on industry and construction -January 28, 2015

A report with key data on industries and construction published by Statistik Austria provides a retrospective overview relating to the development of these core sectors of the economy in 2013. Enterprises, establishments, employees, turnover, earnings, volumes of work and orders, production and indices are shown.

EU Sources -Employment increase by 2018 -January 28, 2015

Against a backdrop of sluggish economic conditions and continued weak job creation, the European Commission’s Investment Plan proposed by President Juncker could provide a rapid economic stimulus that would foster Europe’s competitiveness at the same time as boosting much-needed employment creation.

United Kingdom -Pay offer will be balloted -January 27, 2015

The trade unions Unison, Unite, GMB and the Royal College of Midwives suspended strike action for the National Health Service members in England and Northern Ireland that was scheduled for 29 January. Suspension followed several meetings with Health Secretary Hunt to resolve disputes over pay.

Belgium -Clash with Ryanair continues -January 27, 2015

A legal dispute with low cost carrier Ryanair has entered into a new phase. The company will be forced to hand over a series of documents, including the labour contracts of pilots that fly from and to Brussels airport.

Estonia -Confederation worried about wave of dismissals -January 24, 2015

The trade union confederation has urged the government to find solutions to the wave of redundancies that has recently hit the North East Estonian Ida-Virumaa county. Making thousands of people redundant is today not just a temporary economic setback of individual sectors but a major social security risk to the country as a whole.

Hungary -Jobs in retail threatened -January 22, 2015

Tesco, one of the largest employers in retail, announced that a new law stripping loss-making grocery stores of their operating permits after two consecutive years of trading in the red may result in an additional 33 store closures.

Greece -The impact of austerity on education -January 22, 2015

In an interview the president of the school teachers union explains what austerity has meant for the education sector. The reduction of the education budget to less than 2% of GDP has brought the country in the ranks of the worst countries in the world.

Austria -Pay deal in pulp and paper -January 21, 2015

The negotiators in the paper branch reached an agreement that guarantees the purchase power of the 9,500 workers in the sector. From 1 March 2015 the minimum wages increase with 2%, whilst the apprentice pay will increase with 3%.

Germany -Mediation sought at Lufthansa -January 20, 2015

Lufthansa management and cabin crew have agreed to mediation in their dispute over retirement benefits, as the risk of further costly labour strikes looms over the carrier. Lufthansa tries to cut costs to compete with low-cost carriers including Ryanair and easyJet as well as with Gulf carriers such as Emirates.

EU Sources -OXFAM report on inequality -January 19, 2015

Anti-poverty NGO Oxfam formulated a demand for urgent action to narrow the gap between rich and poor. The Oxfam briefing report (based on the earlier report Even it Up: Time to end extreme inequality, October 2014) shows that the share of the world’s wealth owned by the best-off 1% has increased from 44% in 2009 to 48% in 2014, while the least well-off 80% currently own just 5.5%.

Portugal -TAP privatisation to include layoff ban January 15, 2015

After the industrial conflict between the government and Portugal Airlines (TAP) workers culminated in threats of a Christmas strike, talks have been resumed. The government will maintain a 34% stake in the company and plans imposing a ban on mass layoffs as a condition of the sale.

Luxembourg -Unions ask for mediator in Cargolux dispute -January 15, 2015

Trade unions OGBL and LCGB have asked the national conciliation office to mediate in the negotiations of a collective agreement at Cargolux. After sluggish negotiations, Cargolux terminated the collective agreement that expired in December 2014, promising to ‘establish a timeframe for the next stages of the negotiation process’.

Romania -Strike at car manufacturer Dacia -January 14, 2015

Trade unions at car manufacturer Dacia have announced they will be taking industrial action over stalled collective agreement negotiations. The unions have demanded a pay rise of RON 400 (€89), which is about 15% above current levels.

Ireland -Nurses and midwives vote for work-to-rule -January 13, 2015

Members of the Nurses and Midwives' Organisation (INMO) have voted to work-to-rule at Limerick university hospital and other Midwest region hospitals on 3 February because of overcrowding. The ballot resulted in 93% of nurses voting in favour of the action, which will see nurses refusing to perform administrative, clerical or non-clerical tasks.

Netherlands -Equal pay for foreign transport workers -January 08, 2015

A court in Den Bosch has decided that ten Hungarian lorry drivers who took legal action against a Dutch transport company for not paying them the same as Dutch workers should be paid according to the official Dutch pay and conditions agreement rather than the much lower Hungarian pay scale.


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