This article presents some of the key developments and research findings on aspects of public sector pay and collective bargaining in the EU during the third quarter of 2015. Its main focus is a growing trend of restored pay levels in public sector agreements. It also deals with the broadening scope of such agreements and discusses evidence that some governments want to introduce more flexibility in pay-setting.
EU Member States have been passing laws to regulate opening hours for shops and businesses on Sundays. However, there are also Member States where new legislation is restricting opening hours. According to the European Working Conditions Survey, the proportion of workers reporting working Sundays increased between 2010 and 2015, supporting the idea that Sunday trading is becoming increasingly common.
The German national statutory minimum wage for international truck drivers has caused considerable controversy. Some Member States fear it will damage the competitiveness of companies sending drivers to destinations via Germany. However, it is important to find a balance between promoting the free movement of goods and ensuring appropriate protection for workers.
Commission withdraws proposal to extend maternity leave, promising a fresh start – Developments at EU level – Q2 2015
The Commission has decided to withdraw its draft Maternity Leave Directive, which has been stuck in the legislative process since 2008. This article describes key developments and explores some of the contradictions that were predicted in the Commission’s 2015 Work Programme and the Better Regulation Package.
Collective bargaining has been crucial in developing recent initiatives on flexible working time in many countries, both at sectoral and at company level. Such agreements, together with some legislation, also cover working with ICT outside an employer’s premises (such as telework). This topical update singles out some original examples in companies in Europe.
The need to reform pension systems is one of the key challenges for social policymakers in Europe. This article provides an update of how the EU 28 and Norway are tackling this issue in the face of demographic change, focusing in particular on the involvement of the social partners and governments.
Since the beginning of 2015 a number of major collective agreements at national, sectoral and cross-sectoral level have been renewed, renegotiated, or under discussion. Several of the examples presented here are from the countries that have been hit hardest during the crisis and/or in which collective bargaining has been most affected, such as Croatia, Ireland, Slovenia, Spain or Greece. It is too early to speak about a reversal of the trend in collective bargaining in general; however, some tentative optimism may be justified.
Psychosocial work environment: Health and well-being at work - Q2 2014-Q1 2015 (EurWORK topical update)
This article presents some of the key developments and research findings on health and well-being in the EU from Q2 2014 to Q1 2015 – primarily in terms of improving the psychosocial work environment. In terms of psychosocial risks, some European countries have made progress towards a culture of prevention, but there is still a long way to go.
This article synopsises the development of European social dialogue and then discusses some ideas that might guide the European institutions and the social partners as social dialogue within in the EU is relaunched, such as more autonomy for the social partners, better links between EU and national level, and greater involvement of the social partners in the European Semester.
An increasing number of European workers have part-time jobs or non-standard types of work, such as the zero-hours employment contracts that have become common in the UK. Yet most European workers with temporary contracts would like permanent jobs, and one third of people working part time would like a full-time job.