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  • New statute for federal civil servants

    In June 1997, André Flahaut, the minister for civil service affairs, proposed a number of measures which constitute a new statute for about 100,000 federal civil servants. The cabinet accepted his proposals, which will become operational on 1 January 1998. The most important changes are to be found in recruitment, appraisal and disciplinary procedures for public servants and new measures to increase mobility within the civil service.
  • Unions welcome role in Government

    After 18 years in the wilderness, being frozen out of influence in the corridors of government by Conservative administrations, trade unions have been informed that they will be offered places on working groups being formed to advise various government departments. The Trades Union Congress (TUC) reports a substantially changed mood in Whitehall and Westminster, after years of unions being systematically excluded from representing their members.
  • Disputes hit newspaper sector

    Following failure to agree in their current round of negotiations, about 400 journalists belonging to the Belgian Union of Professional Journalists (Algemene Vereniging van Belgische Beroepsjournalisten, AVBB) carried out a protest on Thursday 5 June 1997 in Brussels. The former collective agreement had expired in March and negotiations between the journalists and the Belgian Union of Newspaper Publishers (Belgische Vereniging van Dagbladuitgevers) had not led to any new agreement.
  • Government relaxes compulsory competitive tendering rules

    Compulsory competitive tendering (CCT) was one of the key privatisation measures introduced into the public sector by the Conservative governments of 1979-97, coming into effect 17 years ago for "blue-collar" services and four years ago for "white-collar" services. The argument behind it was that greater competition would induce greater efficiency and hence savings in public expenditure. The Labour Government, however, believes that compulsion in itself is not the best method and should instead be replaced by a promise to provide "best value" for money.
  • New collective agreements signed in west German banking

    On 28 May 1997, new collective agreements were concluded for the 460,000 or so employees in west German banking. The signatories were the commerce, banking and insurance workers' trade union HBV (Gewerkschaft Handel, Banken und Versicherungen) and the white-collar workers' union DAG (Deutsche Angestellten-Gewerkschaft) on one side, and the employers' association for private banking (Arbeitgeberverband des privaten Bankgewerbes) and the collective bargaining community for public banks (Tarifgemeinschaft öffentlicher Banken) on the other.
  • New mass redundancy programme announced at Peugeot : 2,816 jobs to be axed

    Immediately following the Left's victory in France's May/June parliamentary elections, Peugeot's management announced a new mass redundancy programme, cutting 2,816 jobs, to the company-wide works council.
  • Company-level bargaining in industry increases pay by 1.7%

    The results of the latest collective bargaining round at company level in industry are emerging. An estimate from the Confederation of Danish Industries (DI) shows an average increase in pay of 1.7%, or between DKK 1.75 and DKK 2.00 per hour. The increase is higher than in 1996, when bargaining at company level produced an increase of between DKK 1.50 and DKK 1.75 per hour
  • New works agreement seeks to save production sites and employment at Bayer AG

    On 20 June 1997 the management of one of Germany's leading chemical companies, Bayer AG, and the company works council [1] (Gesamtbetriebsrat) - politically supported by the chemical workers' union, IG Chemie-Papier-Keramik- signed a new works agreement [2] to save production sites and employment in Germany. The central aim of the agreement is to guarantee production at the five German Bayer plants in Leverkusen, Dormagen, Uerdingen, Elberfeld and Brunsbüttel. [1] [2]
  • Expert appointed to resolve Renault-Vilvorde dispute

    On 10 June 1997, Renault management announced the appointment of an independent expert who will evaluate, on an economic basis, the potential measures envisaged to "compensate for the inefficiency involved in the structure of Renault's production facilities".
  • Employers opt out of the Danish health and safety system

    The new and amended Work Environment Act adopted on 30 May 1997 has infuriated theDanish Employers' Confederation (DA). The DA had criticised the Minister of Labour,Jytte Andersen during the preparatory process (DK9705111N [1]), accusing her of ignoring the views of the social partners and attacking the perceived hastiness of the process. It stated that: "Ms Andersen's solitary approach will unavoidably create problems for tripartite cooperation, which so far has been the modus operandi of the health and safety system in Denmark". TheDanish Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is in agreement with the DA, stating that the process has been contrary to past practice and characterised by secretiveness. Normally the Minister would establish a tripartite committee, which would then propose action. [1]