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  • Heated debate among social partners on reform of labour market model

    The current debate about reforming the Swedish labour market model should be considered within the context of recent debates and developments, such as the Laval case [1] (*SE0905029I* [2], SE0706029I [3], SE0801019I [4], SE0804029I [5], SE0811029I [6], SE0901029I [7]) and the breakdown in negotiations between the peak national social partner organisations to reach a new central agreement earlier this year (SE0903029I [8], *SE0908029I* [9]). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
  • Social partners disagree over minimum wage level

    In terms of Act No. 663/2007 on the minimum wage in force since February 2008, discussion about the minimum wage for 2009 started with the negotiations among the social partners at the peak national level. The economic crisis affected the negotiations and thus they ended without any agreement being reached between the social partners. The Slovakian Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR [1]) requested a 9% increase in the minimum wage, which was close to the increase agreed in 2008 (*SK0811019I* [2]). [1] [2]
  • Social partners look at impact of climate change on employment

    On 20 and 21 October 2009, the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC [1]) adopted a ‘Resolution on climate change’. The resolution was developed in the context of a major document debated at a meeting earlier that month and in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference due to take place in December. The document – entitled Climate change, new industrial policies and ways out of the crisis [2] – provides a detailed account of the trade union position on climate change policies. It affirms that the trade unions at EU level support policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions and at developing greener jobs. However, it also argues that these objectives can only be achieved in the context of social partner involvement, with ‘the information/consultation/negotiation procedures and processes at both company and sector level in need[ing] to be as rich as possible’, while recognising the need to enable workers to adapt to new jobs. [1] [2]
  • Conflicting reactions to 2010 draft budget

    At a meeting of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (NCTC), the government recently presented its draft for the 2010 budget, which encompassed zero deficits in order to avoid a prolonged recession and currency pressure. Revenue sources were, once again, made dependent on indirect tax proceeds – including through increases in excise duties on tobacco and on electricity used in industry. Direct taxes – that is, on workers’ incomes and businesses – are to remain unchanged. With regard to budgetary spending, the government has earmarked five priority areas: namely, social measures, healthcare, education, the environment and transport infrastructure.
  • Positive outcome for non-EU workers’ voluntary return programme

    Under Royal Decree 4/2008 of 19 September (in Spanish, 40Kb PDF) [1], the Non-EU Foreign Workers’ Voluntary Return Programme allows for the early lump-sum payment of unemployment contributory benefits to non-EU foreign workers who are voluntarily returning to their home country. The benefits are granted in two payments: 40% of the total amount is paid in Spain, and the remaining 60% is granted to the individual when they return to their home country after a period of 30 days. The programme, which was approved a year ago, is voluntary and, according to the government, aims to alleviate the situation of one of the groups most negatively affected by the economic crisis. In addition, individuals receiving the benefit may be offered the possibility of returning home together with their family, through a travel-finance assistance programme. [1]
  • National wage negotiations at a standstill

    After the new collective agreement in the technology industry that opened the 2009 bargaining round, wage negotiations have been at a standstill. In fact, many sectors are now at a stage where no agreement is in force. Thus, there seems to be little commitment to harmony in the labour market. In mid November 2009, the Finnish Airline Pilots’ Association (Suomen Liikennelentäjäliitto, SLL [1]) rejected a national conciliator’s settlement proposal to avert industrial action, and a strike of 800 pilots grounded the flights of the national airline carrier, Finnair. [1]
  • Cautious welcome for slight dip in unemployment

    At the end of October 2009, the Spanish National Statistical Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estadística, INE [1]) presented the results of the Spanish Labour Force Survey (/Encuesta de Población Activa/, EPA) corresponding to the third quarter of 2009. The results are somewhat significant as, for the first time in two years, they show a decrease in the number of unemployed people. Unemployment has declined by 14,100 persons in comparison to the previous quarter, with the number of unemployed people now standing at 4,123,300 persons. [1]
  • Sharp decline of footwear industry over twenty-year period

    In Latvia, the production of footwear at a manufacturing level was introduced in the second part of the 19th century. In 1912, footwear manufacturing companies employed 6,800 people, and the largest companies were located in the capital city Riga on the Baltic coast. In 1939, there were 84 footwear factories employing 1,400 people. Statistics show that in 1938, 2,140 pairs of footwear were manufactured, 79% of which were made from rubber.
  • Mixed reaction to changes in health and safety code of workers

    On 20 August 2009, Decree No. 106, published in the Official Gazette (/Gazzetta Ufficiale/) on 3 August 2009, came into force. It modifies and integrates Decree No. 81 of 2008, which was known as the Code for the Health and Safety of Workers (Consolidated Act on health and safety at the workplace) (*IT0804039I* [1]). [1]
  • Trade unions accept small pay increase in public sector

    The State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs and Family (Ministerstvo práce, sociálnych vecí a rodiny Slovenskej republiky, MPSVR SR [1]), Emília Kršíková, and the Vice-President of the Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR [2]), Ján Gašperan, issued a press release on 5 October 2009. After four months of negotiations, the social partners had concluded a multi-employer Collective Agreement for Civil Servants and a multi-employer Collective Agreement for Public Servants for 2010. The participants in the collective bargaining [3] round included representatives of the government and regional self-governments, led by the main negotiator Ms Kršíková, and representatives of KOZ SR, the Independent Christian Trade Unions of Slovakia (Nezávislé kresťanské odbory Slovenska, NKOS [4]) and the General Free Trade Union Association (Všeobecný slobodný odborový zväz, VSOZ), led by the main negotiator Mr Gašperan. [1] [2] [3] [4]