- 21 Dec 2007
Italy: Renewal of collective agreement for insurance sector
After 18 months of talks and three breakdowns in negotiations, a deal has been reached on renewing the collective agreement for the insurance sector. Trade unions and employers have expressed their satisfaction with the agreement. The main points concern the contracting or ‘insourcing’ of call centre services, high pay increases and measures intended to expand company welfare services. A protocol on social responsibility is a new feature of the accord.
- 05 Nov 2007
Cyprus: Unions slate Competition Commission for intervention in labour disputes
In an entirely unanticipated move, the Commission for the Protection of Competition (EPA) attempted to intervene in two recent labour disputes involving important sectors of the economy – the banking and the energy supply sectors. EPA’s move met with strong opposition from the trade union movement. The latter claimed that EPA’s role is restricted solely to ensuring conditions of healthy competition and that industrial relations are regulated by law.
- 09 Oct 2007
EU Level: French company first to adopt European company status
On 14 May 2007, management and employee representatives of the reinsurance SCOR Group concluded an agreement on the constitution of a Common European Companies’ Committee and the participation of employee representatives on the board of directors. SCOR is the first listed French company to sign a European company (Societas Europea/SE) agreement. Management believes that the move will strengthen its multinational identity and facilitate financial flexibility.
- 17 Sep 2007
Ireland: Performance-related pay deal for bank employees
Management and worker representatives at ACC Bank have concluded a new deal on performance-related pay covering 700 employees. This group includes both non-union members and unionised staff who have traditionally been opposed to performance-related payment systems. The new system sets out a number of terms for existing and new employees at the bank and will be fully operational as of 1 January 2008.
- 13 Aug 2007
Ireland: Pension dispute at state broadcasting company influenced by bank deal
Trade unions at the country’s state broadcaster, Radio Telefís Éireann, are seeking a re-hearing of their case for a new defined benefit pension scheme. The appeal follows a recent recommendation with respect to one of Ireland’s largest banks, Allied Irish Banks, which backed an attractive new ‘hybrid’ pension plan.
- 13 Aug 2007
Luxembourg: Deadlock in collective bargaining in financial services sector
Agreement has not yet been reached on the renewal of the collective agreement for the financial services sector, mainly due to disagreements over remuneration. The Luxembourg Bankers’ Association would like to abolish pay increases based on seniority. However, given the profits generated by the sector, the trade unions find this unacceptable. Meanwhile, the Luxembourg Association of Bank and Insurance Employees has realigned itself with the firm position taken by the other two trade unions involved.
- 02 Jul 2007
Italy: Major bank merger will result in second largest bank in Europe
In May 2007, the management groups of UniCredit and Capitalia revealed a plan to merge the two Italian banks. The merger will give rise to the second largest banking group in Europe, and the sixth largest in the world. The possible consequences in terms of employment are not yet clear. The trade unions, which are still waiting to be convened by the banks’ management, estimate that between 3,000 and 9,000 workers are at risk of redundancy.
- 02 Jul 2007
Ireland: Proposed new pension scheme at major bank welcomed
In a significant development in the area of pensions, the chair of an independent tribunal has proposed that one of Ireland’s largest banks, Allied Irish Banks, should introduce a new ‘hybrid’ pension scheme for staff. The scheme would guarantee a minimum pension for the bank’s staff once they retire. The recommendation has been eagerly awaited in the industrial relations sphere, although it appears to have taken stock market analysts by surprise.
- 22 May 2007
Malta: Industrial dispute at Bank of Valletta
A dispute has broken out between the General Workers’ Unions (GWU) and the management of the Bank of Valletta after the bank failed to grant GWU’s request for joint recognition. GWU appealed to the Union of Bank Employees (MUBE) to work together to create a strong united front in the upcoming negotiations for the new collective agreement. Although the majority of workers welcomed GWU’s proposal, MUBE refused the request.
- 03 May 2007
Netherlands: Staff association loses court appeal over bank outsourcing
In February 2007, the ING bank outsourced its mail and document processing operations to the new company, Astron. Subsequently, a staff association at the bank appealed to the courts, claiming that Astron, which has also taken over a large number of ING’s employees, does not offer the same terms and conditions of employment as the bank. At the end of 2006, ING, Astron and the trade unions had reached agreement on the transition of around 800 employees due to the outsourcing operation. Following preliminary relief proceedings at the start of March 2007, the courts rejected the employees’ claim, thus recognising the legitimacy of the agreed social plan.
- 27 Apr 2007
Italy: Management and unions sign agreement to protect workers in bank merger
On 21 December 2006, the management of Italy’s Banca Intesa and Sanpaolo IMI met with the worker representatives of both companies. The two banks informed the trade unions of their merger and its consequences in legal, economic and corporate terms, together with the measures that were planned. The merger was formalised on 1 January 2007.
- 23 Apr 2007
Luxembourg: Dispute about agreement in financial services sector escalates
On 17 October 2006, negotiations began on the renewal of the collective agreement in the financial services sector. After a series of difficult meetings, the trade unions decided to leave the negotiating table in mid January 2007. The cause of the breakdown in negotiations relates mainly to the employers’ demands for the introduction of a new system of performance-based pay. The trade unions involved in the negotiations accuse the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association, which represents the employers, of seeking to relax its position in 2007 in order to make it easier to impose its requirements in 2008.
- 02 Apr 2007
Denmark: Union to set up complaints board as part of good practice rules
The trade union for employees working in financial services, Finansforbundet, has drawn up a set of rules pertaining to good governance for trade unions. Inspired by the philosophy of good company management as part of the concept of corporate governance, Finansforbundet has translated its own terms of good management into the notion of union governance. Among other elements, the trade union has introduced a complaints board where dissatisfied members can have their case reviewed by an impartial lawyer. Moreover, the union aims to ensure greater accountability and a wider representation of membership interests.
- 08 Mar 2007
Luxembourg: Break-down of negotiations in financial services sector
Some 91 days after negotiations began between employers and trade unions about the renewal of the collective agreement concerning financial services employees, the trade unions have decided to leave the negotiating table. As talks between the parties have been heated since the beginning, the trade unions have now unanimously decided to suspend negotiations at least until the Luxembourg Bankers’ Association withdraws its recommendation to the banks to freeze the seniority benefits of their employees.
- 12 Feb 2007
Ireland: Bank’s ongoing pension dispute has serious repercussions
A major dispute over a new pension scheme at the Bank of Ireland has raised serious issues for the recently negotiated national agreement, Towards 2016, as well as highlighting the role of the Labour Court, Ireland’s main dispute resolution body.
- 09 Jan 2007
Ireland: Labour Court to rule in bank dispute over pensions
The current impasse concerning the pensions dispute between Bank of Ireland and the Irish Bank Officials Association represents an important challenge for the Labour Court. In particular, the court has been faced with the task of finding a creative way to deal with this difficult dispute and hence to rescue a key element of the new ‘Towards 2016’ social partnership agreement.