Developments in working life in Europe - Q1 2019

What has taken place during the first quarter of 2019 in the industrial relations and working conditions landscape in European countries? There is no need to look further: you can get up-to-date information as reported by our Network of Eurofound Correspondents who, on a quarterly basis, chart the latest developments in those fields of observation. What measure has the German government proposed in Germany to strengthen dual vocational training? What is at the nub of the issue in the hotel industry in Cyprus? What reactions have emerged from the proposal on parental leave in Malta?

Be informed at a glance about the following issues and actions: • Private sector firms’ plans to increase employees’ pay in Ireland • Social unrest in the education sector in Poland • Proposals on national collective bargaining in the public sector in Lithuania for 2020 • Abolition of unpaid sick pay in Czechia • Launch of a national debate on tackling the yellow vests crisis in France • Measures taken by the Norwegian Ministry of Education and Research to prevent violence and threats in schools • Resolution of the Port of Gothenburg conflict in Sweden. Read these updates and more in the following areas:

Actors and institutions

Malta: The Maltese Employers’ Association (MEA) proposes changes to the Industrial Tribunal

Norway: Norway ranks sixth for union density

Austria: Social Democrats triumph in Chamber of Labour elections

Austria: Trade union membership on the rise

Estonia: Strong start for new academic trade union

Sweden: New government in place four months after general election

Denmark: Disruption Council established by government sets out Danish aims for the future

Greece: GSEE Congress cancelled

Italy: CGIL elects new Secretary General

Luxembourg: Social elections in the private sector

Latvia: Government pursues reforms in the Health care and education sectors

Collective bargaining

Cyprus: Hotel sector collective bargaining begins

Cyprus: Trade unions meet with tourism minister

Ireland: Irish collective bargaining law found not in breach of Charter

Lithuania: Collective bargaining in the public sector ends with withdrawal

Lithuania: Bargaining for 2020 national collective agreement begins

Norway: Sectoral wage bargaining kicks off in the public sector

Belgium: Intersectoral wage negotiations run into difficulties

Estonia: New collective agreement for transport sector

Sweden: Port of Gothenburg conflict resolved

Slovenia: Unions submit draft collective agreement for the economy

Italy: Renewal of collective agreement in the automobile sector


Portugal: Recommendation to tackle wage disparity approved

Portugal: Recommendation to promote equal pay for men and women approved

France: Government seeks to reduce gender pay gap

Individual employment relations

Spain: Decree to fight against precarious work approved

Norway: Supreme Court rules on justification of dismissals

Norway: Violations of the law on fixed-term employment

United Kingdom: Courier firm Hermes leads gig economy developments

Bulgaria: Social partners disagree on Labour Code changes

Croatia: Regulation on student work and Act on fostering come into force

Slovakia: Changes in Labour Code good news for employees

Greece: Cleaning, catering and security services employees directly employed by public hospitals by Court Decision

Industrial action

Germany: Resolution for collective bargaining conflicts

Cyprus: Construction industry workers walk out

Poland: Teachers prepare to go on strike

Portugal: Controversy over length of service for teachers

Romania: Workers strike over pay in energy and manufacturing

Hungary: Resurgence of industrial action in the auto sector

Ireland: Nurses strike over pay dispute

Ireland: Second lowest number of strike days on record in 2018

Belgium: Strike action and protests at sectoral and national level

Bulgaria: Nurses protest over wages and working conditions

Croatia: Strike at combine harvester factory resolved

Latvia: Teachers protest over low salaries

Labour market and employment

Germany: German economy wobbles while labour market holds steady

Cyprus: Concern over deregulation of industrial relations in the hotel sector

Spain: Government approves thousands of new public sector posts

Romania: Low unemployment but severe labour shortages

Bulgaria: European Commission presents Bulgaria report

Croatia: Concern over lack of labour force

Latvia: Amendments to the Labour Law on remuneration for civil guards on training

Pay and income

Pay developments

Ireland: Pay and conditions in private sector revealed by survey

Czechia: Wage levels for foreign workers under discussion

Croatia: Rise in public sector salaries

Slovakia: Wage growth rising steadily since changeover to euro

Slovenia: Government propose reduction of tax burden on labour

Slovenia: Public sector wage agreement leads to higher prices in some sectors

Italy: Government focuses on minimum income legislation

Latvia: Healthcare workers receive incremental salary increase


Poland: Judiciary personnel demand wage increase

Minimum wages

Germany: Minimum wage for apprentices proposed

Greece: Minimum wage increased and sub-minimum wage abolished

Greece: Social partners remain divided over minimum wage

Pension reforms

Croatia: Unions propose action against pension reform

Netherlands: Ongoing issue of pension reform

Skills, training and employability

United Kingdom: UK skills base falling behind according to new report from the Learning and Work Institute

Czechia: Czech government prepares for digitalisation

Social dialogue

Poland: Tripartite social dialogue stalls

Lithuania: Draft law on social dialogue under discussion

Netherlands: Uncertainty over the National Climate Accord

Slovenia: Chamber proposes social agreement for wage system renewal

France: Great national debate to tackle the gilets jaunes crisis

Italy: Social partners urge government to start employment talks

Luxembourg: Social partners react to new government on the 2019 budget bill

Latvia: State budget finally adopted

Social protection

Austria: Change to minimum income scheme agreed

Czechia: Unpaid sick leave period is abolished

Finland: Basic income trial shows rise in perceived well-being

Slovakia: Increase in material needs benefit

Slovenia: Tackling the ageing population issue

France: Reforming the unemployment insurance scheme

Working environment

Norway: Concern about levels of workplace violence

Estonia: New year brings about health and safety changes

United Kingdom: Unions criticise Good Work Plan for failing to tackle insecure work

Denmark: New research reveals limited changes in the working environment

Working time and work–life balance

Family leave

Spain: Parental leave extended to eight weeks

Malta: Parental leave directive draws mixed reactions

Ireland: Paternity leave figures for 2018 released

Netherlands: Talks on paternity leave continue

Sweden: Increase in fathers’ uptake of parental leave

Regulation of working time

Finland: Workers guaranteed four weeks of paid leave

Hungary: Overtime law protests continue into 2019

Austria: Good Friday declared a ‘personal holiday’

Finland: New law on flexible working time

Luxembourg: Time saving accounts in the private sector

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