Smartphone car service Uber, a successful company example of the sharing economy, has spread to many EU Member States in recent years. However, many employers and unions are concerned about its challenge to fair competition for other businesses in the sector and about the erosion of working conditions for drivers. It remains to be seen whether there is some ground for EU- level regulation in this field.
This article reviews the current debate among social partners and governments about how to integrate asylum seekers into the EU's workforce. While employers claim that refugees could help to address skill shortages, unions are concerned about the consequences for the working conditions of both the refugees and lower-paid segments of the existing workforce.
Air transport has been in the news in recent months as strikes and difficulties in social dialogue across the European Union have strained relations between the sector’s unions and companies. Disputes in the different countries have revolved around pay and working conditions, restructuring and planned redundancies, collective agreement ‘cherry-picking’ and foot-dragging over entering into agreements.
Strike activity across the EU dropped in 2014 following a crisis-related peak in 2010. However, evidence from EurWORK correspondents suggests that the more highly unionised public sector has been a focus of industrial action recently. In general, strikes have been triggered by pay freezes and cuts, as well as by other unpopular effects of fiscal tightening such as lay-offs or changed working conditions.
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.