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In connection with its efforts to modernise the trade union movement, the
Confederation of Danish Trade Unions (Landsorganisationen i Danmark, LO) has
come up with proposals in order to resolve the long-running problem of
demarcation disputes among member unions. Notably, for 12 years, the Trade
Union of Public Employees (Forbundet af Offentligt Ansatte, FOA) and the
General Workers’ Union (Specialarbejderforbundet i Danmark, SiD) have been
in dispute about which of them should organise bus drivers in Copenhagen
(DK9909146N ). Another example of a disputed membership group is hotels
and restaurant workers. LO's proposal – which was presented at a meeting of
the executive committee on 15 November 2002 – would allow LO to impose
heavy fines on unions which cannot, or do not wish to reach agreement, or
leave it to the members to decide the issue through a ballot.
In June 2000, the Union of Salaried Employees (Gewerkschaft der
Privatangestellten, GPA) - the largest affiliate of the Austrian Trade Union
Federation (Österreichischer Gewerkschaftsbund, ÖGB), with almost 285,000
members among private sector white-collar workers - launched a thoroughgoing
organisational reform (AT0008277F ). This internal restructuring process
was prompted by declining unionisation rates and new labour market
developments, such as increasing flexibilisation and deregulation of
employment relations. In the course of this restructuring process, GPA's
former sectoral sections have been replaced by 'economic branches' and its
former regional (Länder) organisations by smaller sub-units. Furthermore,
the representation of new employee groups – such as those involved in
various forms of 'atypical' work or 'involuntary' self-employment – has
been addressed by corresponding 'interest groupings' and 'issue platforms'
Collective bargaining coverage and mechanisms which extend the provisions of collective agreements beyond the members of the signatory organisations are important factors which strongly affect the procedures and practices through which wage...
The EU-level social partners in the banking sector - for the employers, the
banking committee for European social affairs of the European Banking
Federation (FBE), the European Savings Banks Group (ESBG) and the European
Association of Cooperative Banks (GEBC), and for the employees UNI-Europa
Finance (Banks), the banking trade union section of the European regional
organisation of Union Network International- announced on 3 December 2002
that they had concluded a joint declaration on lifelong learning . Both
employer and trade union representatives state that lifelong learning is
needed in their sector (which employs some 2 million people in Europe) as a
key means of improving the skills and competences of its workforce.
Representatives of the central EU-level social partner organisations − the
European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), the Union of Industrial and
Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE)/European Association of Craft,
Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (UEAPME) and the European Centre of
Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic
Interest (CEEP) − held an intersectoral social dialogue summit in Brussels
on 28 November 2002. The highlight of the summit was the launch of a
three-year work programme  for 2003, 2004 and 2005.
The European Commission issued its draft joint employment report 2002  on
13 November 2002. In its executive summary of the joint Commission/Council
report - which, when finalised, will be endorsed by the European Council- the
Commission states that after five years, the European employment strategy 
(EES) 'is at a crossroads'. When it was launched in 1997 (EU9711168F ),
the EES’s priority was the fight against unemployment. Now, however, its
focus has shifted towards the wider 'Lisbon goals' (set out in the March 2001
Lisbon European Council meeting - EU0004241F ) of more and better jobs in
an inclusive society.
The use of temporary agency workers in Denmark has been steadily increasing.
In 1992, there were 73 registered temporary work agencies with about 3,000
agency workers, which grew to 396 agencies with 21,000 employees BY 1999
(according to figures from Statistics Denmark [Danmarks Statistik]). If the
growth rate recorded since 1997 has continued, there are probably about 370
agencies with about 35,000 workers in December 2002. In 2001, the agencies'
turnover was more than DKK 3 billion - a 10-fold increase over a decade.
Between 1 March and 31 May 2002, works council election  s took place in
German companies under the terms of the new Works Constitution Act
(Betriebsverfassungsgesetz, BetrVG) which has been in force since July 2001
(DE0107234F ). The BetrVG determines the legal framework for
co-determination at the level of the establishment  in the private sector,
through works council  s. Works councils are employee representative
bodies with a range of co-determination, information and consultation rights.
Works council elections are held every four years between 1 March and 31 May
(DE9810180F ). The reformed BetrVG aims to increase the number of works
councils, improve the representation of women on works councils and enhance
the operating conditions of works councils.
Since the beginning of the 1990s, the German system of industry-wide
collective bargaining has seen a continued process of decentralisation and
flexibilisation. While part of the process has been associated with the
increasing use of 'opening clauses' ('Öffnungsklauseln') which – under
certain conditions – allow companies to apply lower standards for wages,
hours and working conditions than provided in the collective agreement
(DE0103212F ), some observers have also been concerned about declining
membership of employers' associations.