19 November 2006
In 2004, the European Commission brought an action (case C-484/04) to the European Court of Justice (ECJ ) against the UK government over its implementation of the EU directive on certain aspects of the organisation of working time, now consolidated in Directive 2003/88/EC  . More specifically, the Commission objected to the way that the UK had applied the directive’s rules on daily and weekly rest periods  for employees.  http://curia.europa.eu/  http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32003L0088:EN:HTML  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/industrial-relations-dictionary/rest-periods
08 October 2006
Talks started in early 2005 over a merger between three of the UK’s four largest trade unions – Amicus  (1,160,000 members, according to the latest figures from the Certification Officer ), the GMB  general union (570,000 members) and the Transport and General Workers’ Union (TGWU , 810,000 members). Union consolidation through mergers has been an accelerating trend since the 1990s (*UK0410105F* ) against a background of continuing decline in union membership (*UK0504109F* ). Amicus, for example, was formed from the merger of the AEEU engineering and electrical union and the MSF manufacturing and finance union in 2002 (UK9912142N ) and has since merged with the Graphical, Paper and Media Union and the UNIFI finance union. Other recent large-scale mergers include that between NATFHE – The University & College Lecturers’ Union and the Association of University Teachers (AUT) to form the 116,000-strong University and College Union (UCU ) in June 2006 (*UK0601103N* ).  http://www.amicustheunion.org  http://www.certoffice.org  http://www.gmb.org.uk  http://www.tgwu.org.uk  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/union-merger-momentum-continues  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/bleak-future-predicted-for-trade-unions  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/manufacturing-unions-in-merger-talks  http://www.ucu.org.uk/?CFID=23256709&CFTOKEN=38139492  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/academics-vote-in-favour-of-new-university-and-college-union
08 October 2006
Asda is one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, with some 140,000 employees. It has been owned since 1999 by the US-based Wal-Mart group – a company that seeks to avoid dealing with trade unions in its home-country operations – and in recent years has been beset by industrial relations problems. These have included a number of disputes over union recognition and collective bargaining rights, especially in Asda’s distribution warehouses. Most notably, in February 2006, an employment tribunal found that the company had breached the law by offering financial incentives to employees at a site to give up their rights to collective bargaining (*UK0604059I* ).  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/ruling-highlights-poor-industrial-relations-at-asda
27 August 2006
In its manifesto for the May 2005 general election (*UK0504110F* ), the Labour Party stated that it would make paid time off for bank and public holidays additional to employees’ current statutory four-week annual holiday entitlement. This commitment, based on the July 2004 ‘Warwick agreement’ with trade unions on employment law reform and other matters (*UK0409102N* ), was reiterated in the re-elected Labour government’s March 2006 employment relations strategy paper (*UK0605019I* ). On 13 June 2006, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI ) duly issued an initial consultation document on increasing the holiday entitlement (259Kb PDF)  to 5.6 weeks a year – the equivalent of an increase from 20 days to 28 days for an employee working a five-day week.  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/parties-outline-contrasting-election-policies-on-employment-relations  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/unions-win-concessions-from-ministers-on-employment-law-agenda  www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/government-publishes-employment-relations-strategy-paper  http://www.dti.gov.uk/  http://www.dti.gov.uk/files/file30011.pdf
15 August 2006
Fondée sur les contributions fournies par ses centres nationaux, la présente mise à jour de l'Observatoire européen des relations industrielles (EIRO) vise à fournir une indication générale et globale des tendances des augmentations salariales en 2004 et 2005 au sein des États membres de l'UE, de deux pays candidats (Bulgarie et Roumanie) et de la Norvège. Elle examine les augmentations de salaires établies par négociations collectives sur l’ensemble de l’économie et dans six secteurs sélectionnés, les augmentations salariales minimales nationales et les taux salariaux minima, les inégalités salariales entre les genres, les augmentations et les niveaux des revenus moyens ainsi que les augmentations et les niveaux des coûts salariaux.
09 August 2006
This review of the length of working time in 2004 and 2005 finds that average collectively agreed weekly working time in the European Union as a whole remained at around 38.6 hours - 0.6 hours shorter in the old EU15 (plus Norway), and 0.9 hours longer in the new Member States. Agreed normal annual working time averages around 1,750 hours - some 1,700 in the old EU15 (plus Norway) and 1,800 in the new Member States. Of six sectors examined, agreed weekly hours are highest in chemicals and retail, followed by metalworking and local government, the civil service and banking. Average collectively agreed paid annual leave entitlement stood at 25.5 days in 2005. The review also looks at statutory working time and leave limits, actual working hours and overtime.
26 June 2006
With economic globalisation growing ever deeper and international competition intensifying, it is increasingly clear that Europe's industrial relations systems do not exist in isolation, and cannot be studied as such. This report examines two topical issues – minimum wages and the crossborder relocation of production – from the perspective of industrial relations. Drawing on comparative analysis from the European Industrial Relation Observatory (EIRO), it looks at the situation in the 25 EU Member States, in two ‘developed’ countries – Japan and the USA – and two ‘developing’ countries – Brazil and China.
04 May 2006
EIRObserver is the bi-monthly bulletin of the European Industrial Relations Observatory. It contains an edited selection of feature and news items, based on some of the reports supplied for the EIROnline database over each two-month period. On top of this, EIRO also conducts comparative research on specific themes. The comparative supplement looks at the EU-level and national debate on working time and quality of work, outlining the wide variety of governmental initiatives and the views of the social partners, and examines the level and content of collective bargaining on the theme. The study concludes that there appears to be a considerable gap between rhetoric and reality so far as working time developments and the quality of work are concerned. While the issue has climbed up the agenda of policy-makers and there have been significant government initiatives, collective bargaining seems to be lagging behind, with relatively few innovative agreements
04 May 2006
This report provides a detailed comparison of the different aspects of industrial relations in these three economic blocs. It charts the similarities and trends in this area and provides a clear picture of the differences in both basic structures and developments across these three major economies. In particular it highlights the distinctive characteristics of the EU in the areas of collective bargaining, trade unions, employer organisations and labour legislation.
07 September 2005
This report examines the most important challenges faced by the national social partners in the iron and steel industry in 16 European countries. It focuses on the internationalisation of the industry and the cross-border mergers and acquisitions that have accompanied this transformation. It looks at the structure and characteristics of the sector, changes in employment levels and practices, the representation and positions of trade union and employer organisations and the structure and content of collective bargaining.