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  • Minimum wage exceeds 60% of average wage

    Cyprus does not stipulate a minimum wage at national level that must be observed in collective bargaining [1] at various specific levels – sectoral or company. Nevertheless, based on existing legislation (*CY0804039I* [2], CY0808019Q [3], *CY0704049I* [4], *CY0405101N* [5]), national minimum wages and salaries apply to eight specific occupations: sales staff, clerical workers, auxiliary healthcare staff, auxiliary staff in nursery schools, in crèches and in schools, security guards and caretakers. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
  • Czech Airlines struggles to survive economic crisis

    The Czech Republic’s national airline company, Czech Airlines (České aerolinie, ČSA [1]), is currently facing an economic crisis, recording a loss of CZK 1.8 billion (about €68.5 million as at 12 January 2010) in the first quarter of 2009 and with losses exceeding CZK 2 billion (€76 million) expected for the entire year. In previous months, the company had been preparing for privatisation; however, this did not occur due to a government decision. The current economic crisis is attributed to a dramatic drop in the number of passengers and lower price air tickets. As a result, the company has considerably reduced its flight schedule and is considering major job cuts – possibly in the region of 3,700 dismissals. [1]
  • New measures to combat unemployment in the pipeline

    The Slovakian government has adopted several measures aimed at maintaining employment. According to the information available, these provisions alleviated the impact of the current economic crisis on employment (*SK0908019I* [1]). Despite this, employment in Slovakia has decreased further and the rate of registered unemployment reached 12.5% in December 2009 – the highest level since 2004. [1]
  • Tense discussions expected at 16th Cgil congress

    The November 2009 meeting of the national directorate of the Italian General Confederation of Labour (Confederazione Generale Italiana del Lavoro, Cgil [1]) – the organisation’s uppermost governance body – formally marked the beginning of Cgil’s 16th congress (599Kb PDF) [2], which will be held in the eastern city of Rimini from 5 to 8 May 2010. The final assembly will be attended, in accordance with the regulations approved by the directorate, by 1,043 delegates representing more than 5.7 million members. Trade union members will be able to discuss and vote on two documents proposed by the directorate at regional meetings and in workplaces from 9 December onwards. Moreover, the regulations establish that regional congresses will be held between 15 and 25 March 2010, while sectoral meetings will take place from 26 March to 17 April. [1] [2]
  • Launch of Stiglitz report on economic performance and social progress

    In the context of the current economic crisis, on 14 September 2009, the Commission on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress (Commission sur la mesure des performances économiques et du progrès social) submitted its report. The commission was chaired by Nobel prize winner and American economist Joseph Stiglitz and brought together 22 experts, including another Nobel prize winner, the Indian economist Amartya Sen, as well as the French economist Jean-Paul Fitoussi. The French President, Nicolas Sarkozy, commissioned them to propose new indicators on measuring economic performance and social progress, as he considered that ‘the classical indicators do not suffice to convey the quality of life of French people’.
  • Employers oppose change in sickness cash benefit system

    In order to adopt the euro as the national currency from 1 January 2011, the Estonian government aims to fulfil the Maastricht criteria. To achieve this, the government seeks to improve the country’s budgetary position through extensive cuts in public spending (EE0902049I [1] and EE0907029I [2]). One measure to reduce the government budget was introducing a change in the sickness cash benefit system. The idea was to share the sickness benefit payment burden between employers and the Estonian Health Insurance Fund (Eesti Haigekassa [3]) to ease the financial responsibilities of the fund and increase employers’ motivation to improve employees’ working conditions, and health and safety at work. As a result of this change, the government expected to save EEK 350 million (about €22.4 million as at 11 December 2009) in 2009, taking into account that the new system was introduced in July. In the future, it expects to save about EEK 700 million a year (€44.7 million). [1] [2] [3]
  • Social partners evaluate Czech EU Presidency

    In the opinion of the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic (Svaz průmyslu a dopravy ČR, SP ČR [1]), the Czech Presidency [2] of the European Union was successful in terms of topics considered, administrative management and ability to solve problems flexibly. A non-confidence vote against the government, however, had a negative impact on the progress of the Presidency, causing damage to the image of the country. [1] [2]
  • Social partners welcome new agreement for 80,000 civil servants

    In the context of, on the one hand, budgetary constraints and, on the other, the desire to maintain civil servants’ purchasing power, the Belgian Minister of Civil Service, Steven Van Ackere, has reached a new two-year collective agreement 2009–2010 (in Dutch, 83Kb PDF) [1] with the public sector trade unions. The agreement or so-called protocol, signed on 29 September 2009, must now be transposed into the statutory rules of the 80,000 federal civil servants (*BE0611089I* [2], BE0611029Q [3]). [1] [2] [3]
  • Norwegian and Bulgarian trade unions cooperate for better health and safety at work

    In May 2009, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (Конфедерация на независимите синдикати в България, CITUB [1]) and the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (Landsorganisasjonen i Norge, LO [2]) began the first ever joint two-year project ‘Health, safety and environment in the workplace [3]’. It is supported by a grant from Norway through the Norwegian Cooperation Programme [4]. Partners to the project include the: [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Trade union leader outlines vision for one large union

    At the beginning of 2009, the membership of the trade unions organised under the Danish Trade Union Confederation (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO [1]) fell to under one million active members. This was a symbolic milestone of a development that has been steadily ongoing since the middle of the 1990s when membership peaked at 1.5 million and started to decrease after decades of continuous growth. The declining membership has been a contentious issue in the debate among the trade unions. They fear that further decline will leave them without influence towards employer organisations and that this will be the end of the so-called Danish model of labour market regulation, with its main emphasis on collective bargaining [2] between strong labour market organisations. [1] [2]