EurWORK European Observatory of Working Life

Articles

EurWORK articles cover working life in Europe, in particular the fields of industrial relations and working conditions. The articles are based on quarterly reporting provided by the Network of Eurofound Correspondents.

  • Topical updates summarise and update developments around selected topics, which are relevant across a number of Member States at the same time
  • Spotlight reports cover in more depth country-level events, debates and changes in regulation related to working life, aiming to provide a balanced view of all parties’ positions
  • Research in Focus articles report on important research findings (including surveys) from the national level, often, but not exclusively, in the area of working conditions
  • In brief articles are short news items drawn from the correspondents' quarterly reports
  • Country updates summarise developments at national level and are published 4 times a year

13845 items found
  • Strikes focus on earlier retirement

    In January and February 1997, many French towns were hit by public transport strikes, affecting bus, tram and underground rail services. The strikers' demands differed somewhat from town to town but certain themes have been common. such as: improvements in working conditions; better protection from crime and delinquency, two consecutive days off in a week; and less taxing route schedules. Strikers have also been demanding pay rises and a reduction in the working week to 35 hours or less, with the recruitment of new personnel to take up the slack. Demands for the right to retire with full pensions at the age of 55, along with systematic replacement of retiring employees by new recruitment, have also been frequently voiced.
  • Union opposes end of postal delivery monopoly

    As the legislation regulating the postal delivery monopoly will expire by the end of 1997, on 18 February Germany's governing coalition parties proposed a new law which would limit the exclusive licence of Deutsche Post AG, the national postal service, to handling letters weighting under 100g, and this only until the end of 2002. According to the Ministry responsible, this proposal would reduce Deutsche Post's current monopoly to 87% of the standard letter market. The proposed new law would also open completely the bulk mail market to licensed competitors from 1 January 1998.
  • Job security agreement at Blue Circle

    In January 1997, the cement company, Blue Circle (BCC), and two of Britain's largest trade unions, the Transport and General Workers Union (TGWU) and the General Municipal and Boilermakers Union (GMB), agreed what has been described as a "ground breaking" deal which gives a guarantee of job security, in return for pay restraint and more flexible working arrangements. Both the unions and the Labour Party see the agreement as a model for future employee relations, which could go some way towards reviving the fortunes of the British economy.
  • New sick pay legislation brings severe problems in interpretation

    On 19 February, Arbio, the employers' association for the forestry industry, sued the Swedish Paper Workers' Union before the Labour Court. Formally, the parties are arguing over a sum of less than SEK 50, though in practice the case concerns an unlimited amount of money. This is a test case, and the question that the Court has to address is: how is the collective agreement on sick pay for employees in the paper industry to be interpreted?
  • Social partner negotiations on part-time work near deadlock?

    In a recent press interview, Padraig Flynn, the European commissioner responsible for industrial relations and social affairs, expressed his unease at press reports that the social partners' negotiations on part-time work were heading for collapse, and stated that he remained hopeful of a positive outcome. Senior trade union negotiator and deputy general secretary of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), Jean Lapeyre, also stated that he remained convinced that the negotiations could succeed. He stressed, however, that if part-time work was to be made more attractive and acceptable for workers, assurance of "decent social protection" had to be offered.
  • 3,300 supply teachers reinstated in French secondary schools

    Following negotiations with the Education Minister, 3,300 unemployed supply teachers won the right in late January 1997 to be temporarily reinstated in their jobs.
  • Civil service normalises situation of its fixed-term contract workers

    With the aim of abolishing "irregular" employment in the civil service, the Portuguese Government is planning to integrate into its permanent staff lists those workers who are currently on fixed-term and other forms of precarious contract.
  • CBI sets out its plans for 1997

    At the beginning of February the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) set out its long term priorities for beyond the forthcoming general election. Its director general, Adair Turner said that "whatever happens between now and May, there are fundamental issues for business which need attention. The changing nature of the world in which we do business brings both opportunities and challenges, and the CBI should be at the heart of change."
  • Industrial action in public administration

    Industrial action has accompanied trade unions' pay demands in Spain's public administration since late 1996, and the threat of further action has been made if negotiations are not started immediately.
  • Metalworking collective agreement signed after nine months of negotiations

    On 4 February, following a mediation proposal by the Government, the national metalworking collective agreement was signed. Negotiations had lasted for nine months and were marked by moments of breakdown and conflict which resulted in strikes. The metalworking settlement, which covers some 1.5 million workers, is Italy's most important industry-wide agreement. It will strongly influence both the forthcoming renewals of contracts in other sectors and the evaluation of the July 1993 tripartite central agreement on incomes policy and collective bargaining structure, planned for June 1997.

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