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  • Article
    27 december 1997

    According to recently published information, the regional metalworking sector
    employers' association Nordmetall- which represents 350 enterprises in the
    German states of Hamburg, Schleswig-Holstein and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and
    is a member of the federal sectoral employers' association Gesamtmetall- has
    founded an employers' association called Arbeitgeberverband Norddeutschland
    which will neither conclude, nor be bound by, industry-level collective
    agreements.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    Over the five years to 1997, growth and productivity levels in the UK have
    shown above average figures for the EU. In 1997, GDP continued to grow at
    between 3% and 3.5%. Average earnings growth fluctuated within the range of
    4.25% to 4.75%, with average pay awards remaining at around 3% for most of
    1997, but moving towards the 4% mark in the last quarter.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    As part of an experiment with a new salary system for civil servants, due to
    begin on 1 January 1998, senior civil servants were to negotiate part of
    their salaries on a personal basis without the participation of their trade
    union. This, according to Danish Confederation of Professional Associations
    (Akademikernes Centralorganisation, AC), was in conflict with the Crown
    Servants Act, which provides for a right to collective bargaining. The Crown
    Servants Court upheld AC's contention in a ruling issued on 5 December 1997,
    which in practice will exclude 2,800 of the 3,200 civil servants concerned
    from taking part in the experiments from 1 January 1998.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    In late 1997, the International Monetary Fund once more asked Spain for
    greater flexibility in its labour market, but stated that it should be based
    on social dialogue. The Prime Minister and several of his ministers have
    stated their support for the introduction of such a new reform, but the trade
    unions are radically opposed to any changes until the results of 1997's
    "April agreements" have been analysed.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The year 1997 saw: an increase in GDP of 3.5% (according to Eurostat
    figures); an inflation rate of 1.9%, which was lower than the previous year;
    and a low government deficit of 0.8% of GDP (according to national figures).
    The unemployment rate for the year was 6.7% (down from 7.3% in 1996). Low
    skill levels and inadequate management strategies have been identified as
    being among the key causes of high unemployment.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    On 9 December 1997 the pension reform for those employees of the Austrian
    Federal Railways (Österreichische Bundesbahnen, ÖBB) with civil servant
    status was concluded. This was the final part of the pensions reform the
    Government had set out to achieve at the beginning of 1007 (AT9711144F [1]).
    Because ÖBB pensions are not regulated by law or by collective agreement but
    by individual employment contracts, the reform posed serious problems. It was
    finally achieved by way of a delicate balance between legal reform and works
    agreement. This was accompanied by serious tensions within the coalition
    Government.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined-social-policies/pension-reform-nears-completion

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    In June 1997, the Swedish Employers' Confederation (Svenska
    Arbetsgivareföreningen, SAF) gave the trade union negotiating cartel, the
    Federation of Salaried Employees in Industry and Services
    (Privattjänstemannakartellen, PTK) notice of termination of the so-called
    adjustment agreement (omställningsavtalet), the purpose of which is to
    facilitate the adjustment for workers and employers in the event of
    collective redundancies (SE9709137F [1]). SAF argued that the agreement was
    too costly for the employers and wanted /inter alia/ to convert the Council
    for Redundancy Support and Advice (Trygghetsrådet) - which is based on the
    agreement - from a foundation to a private company, subject to open
    competition.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/working-conditions-undefined/council-for-redundancy-support-and-advice-under-debate

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    After many difficult attempts to resolve the problem of illegal immigration
    and work in Greece, the process of legalising the status of aliens living and
    working in Greece is set to begin soon, following a government initiative in
    December 1997.

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The Finnish Medical Association (Suomen Lääkäriliitto, SLL) is one of the
    few trade unions that have decided not to approve the central incomes policy
    agreement, signed on 12 December 1997 by trade union and employers'
    confederations (FI9801145F [1]). The employers of the doctors concerned, the
    Commission for Local Authority Employers (Kunnallinen työmarkkinalaitos,
    KT), made a proposal for an agreement but the doctors decided to reject it.
    According to SLL, the proposal did not resolve the dispute concerning
    doctors' working hours. The income of medical doctors will decrease
    significantly in 1998 if they become fully subject the new Working Hours Act
    ( which has been in force from the beginning of 1997). Until now, no drastic
    changes have taken place due to local agreements. If these local agreements
    cannot be prolonged, the limitations of the Act will take full effect. The EU
    Directive on certain aspects of the organisation of working time [2]
    (93/104/EC) forbids long sessions of emergency duty and the doctors want the
    resulting loss of income to be compensated by increasing wages for normal
    working time. Previously, the pay of hospital doctors consisted to a large
    extent of remuneration for emergency duties.

    [1] www.eurofound.europa.eu/ef/observatories/eurwork/articles/undefined/second-incomes-policy-agreement-for-employment-is-signed
    [2] http://europa.eu.int/comm/sg/scadplus/leg/en/cha/c10405.htm

  • Article
    27 december 1997

    The Dutch economy continued to develop favourably in 1997. The level of
    economic growth stood at 3.3%, which is higher than the EU average. Although
    inflation in the Netherlands, at 2.2%, was considerably higher than the EU
    average, it was fairly stable. The General Government Financial Balance for
    1997 was -2.0% of GDP (NLG 14.2 billion - ECU 6.4 billion). Eurostat put
    public debt at 72.1% of GDP. Unemployment decreased significantly again in
    1997, and the number of unemployed persons stood at 336,000 (6.4%) in the
    last quarter of 1997.

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Forthcoming publications