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In November 2002, a collective agreement applying the new national incomes
policy agreement for 2003-4 was concluded in the Finnish metalworking sector.
The agreement sets the minimum wage increase at 2.6% in 2003 and at 1.8% in
2004. The deal is likely to be followed by agreements in other sectors .
Negotiations over a new collective agreement for the Finnish merchant
shipping sector were interrupted in November 2002 due to a disagreement
concerning the use of foreign labour. The employers are seeking a legislative
amendment, opposed by the trade union, which would allow the use of foreign
labour on Finnish vessels.
On 4 November 2002, the European social dialogue working group for the
telecommunications sector met to review progress. The group discussed a new
work programme for 2003, which includes issues such as the age profile of the
telecommunications sector workforce and a range of topics relating to call
centre workers, including health and safety, skills and training, staff
turnover and working conditions. A seminar on EU enlargement which has had to
be postponed was reconvened for June 2003. Further, cooperation on regulatory
and competition issues between the sectoral social partners - the
telecommunications section of UNI-Europa (the European regional organisation
of the global trade union organisation, Union Network International, UNI) and
the European Public Telecommunication Network Operators Association (ETNO)
for employers - was discussed. ETNO agreed to give a written response to
UNI’s policy position by mid-December 2002.
The European Commission originally proposed a Directive limiting noise at the
workplace in 1992, within the context of a broader Directive limiting
workers’ exposure to physical agents. A newer proposal dates from 1999,
when the Commission split the proposed physical agents Directive into
individual proposals, one of which related to noise (EU0106220F ).
The European Commission issued a proposal for a Directive on working
conditions for temporary (agency) workers  in March 2002 (EU0204205F ),
seeking to ensure equal treatment for temporary agency workers and comparable
workers in a number of areas. This followed the breakdown of EU-level social
partner negotiations on this topic in May 2001 (EU0106215N ). The proposal
is subject to the co-decision procedure, under which the European Parliament
(EP) may be consulted several times on the content and final agreement must
be reached between the Council of Ministers and the EP.
In October 2002, only five months after introducing a major reform of
unemployment benefit (without agreement with the trade unions), the Spanish
government decided to repeal most of the changes that it had made, faced with
pressure from the unions and public unpopularity.
In November 2002, the Spanish parliament decided not to debate as a draft law
a 'popular legislative initiative' promoted by the UGT trade union
confederation. The initiative sought to introduce new measures to improve
stability and safety in employment, but the opposition of the governing
People's Party's parliamentary majority ensured its rejection.
On 8 October 2002, the German Federation of Trade Unions (Deutscher
Gewerkschaftsbund, DGB) issued a statement  to the European Convention
- the body charged with preparing for the next Intergovernmental
Conference by proposing a new framework and structures for the EU, notably in
the light of enlargement (EU0201231N ) - containing proposals for a new
'social contract' for Europe. This initiative is a contribution to the
ongoing debate on a new EU 'constitution', and it seeks to face the
challenges of enlargement and of persistent unemployment, and to introduce an
integrated economic and social policy. DGB proposes: the creation of a higher
level of social rights for EU citizens; the strengthening of the
participation of the European Parliament (EP) and the social partners; and
the introduction of a more coordinated macroeconomic policy mix.
In October 2002, France's Economic and Social Council (CES) adopted an
opinion entitled 'What social competences will there be and who will be the
actors in an enlarged EU'. This report, endorsed by all the groups and
organisations represented in the CES, makes very detailed proposals for
bolstering the 'European social model' and enshrining the position and role
of the European-level social partners, at a time when the European Convention
is drafting a new EU treaty or constitution.
L’emploi 'non permanent' est une caractéristique des marchés du travail
européens qui a suscité une attention croissante au cours de ces dernières
années et a fait l’objet de nombreuses réglementations, notamment à
l’échelle européenne. L’emploi non permanent peut globalement être
défini comme tout emploi limité dans le temps qui n’est pas basé sur un
contrat de travail à durée indéterminée et continu - les principaux types
d’emploi non permanent étant l’emploi sous contrat à durée
déterminée, le travail intérimaire, le travail occasionnel ou saisonnier.
Cette étude comparative, basée sur les contributions des observatoires
nationaux de l’Observatoire européen des relations industrielles (EIRO)
dans les États membres de l’UE et en Norvège, vise à étudier les liens
entre l’emploi non permanent et la 'qualité' de la vie professionnelle
mais aussi à examiner comment ce thème est traité dans le cadre des
relations industrielles. L’étude porte principalement sur le travail à
durée déterminée - une étude précédente de l’EIRO fournissant des
informations plus détaillées sur le travail intérimaire TN9901201S .