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On 1 October 2009, a National Seminar on Restructuring in Slovakia was held
in the country’s capital city of Bratislava. The seminar was organised by
the International Training Centre of the International Labour Organization
(ITCILO ) as a part of a series of national seminars on restructuring 
organised in all EU Member States, at the request of the European Commission
. Almost 40 representatives of employers, government bodies, trade unions
and research institutes participated in the seminar. The seminar discussion
was based on a national background paper compiled by Ludovit Cziria from the
Institute for Labour and Family Research (Inštitút pre výskum práce a
rodiny, IVPR ) and Juraj Borgula from the Association of Mechanical
Engineering (Zväz strojárskeho priemyslu Slovenskej republiky, ZSP SR ).
The Industry Agreement (/Industriavtalet/) was concluded between the social
partners in the industry sector a decade ago, creating a method for wage
formation in the manufacturing industry which has also become the norm for
other sectors of the economy.
In November 2009, the Institute of Economic and Social Research (Wirtschafts-
und Sozialwissenschaftliches Institut, WSI ) within the Hans Böckler
Foundation (Hans Böckler Stiftung, HBS ) published new findings (in
German)  from a special WSI Works Council Survey on the effects of the
economic crisis. The survey involved 2,324 works councils and was conducted
between July and September 2009. Its results are representative for companies
with 20 or more employees and a works council. The survey asked works
councils whether the company was affected by the crisis and which measures
had been taken to maintain employment and avoid forced dismissals.
According to the Law on Defence in Slovenia, workers in the field of defence
have the right to trade union organisation and activity in accordance with
the regulations. This is not the case in all countries. The Freedom of
Association and Protection of the Right to Organise Convention, 1948, No. 87
 of the International Labour Organization (ILO ) states that the extent
to which the guarantees provided for in this Convention shall apply to the
armed forces and the police shall be determined by national laws or
regulations. The armed forces and the police are the only classes that may be
excluded under Convention No. 87 from the right to establish trade unions.
The Turkish construction company Mapa Cengiz, which is involved in the
construction of the ‘Lyulin’ motorway close to Bulgaria’s capital city
Sofia and the town of Pernik in western Bulgaria, has worked for about a year
and a half without observing the country’s labour legislation. The motorway
construction started at the end of 2007, with 75% of the project being
financed through the European Union Instrument for Structural Policies for
Pre-Accession (ISPA ) and 25% through the Bulgarian state.
In September 2009, the Board of Directors of the Private Insurance
Supervisory Committee (PISC ) unanimously decided to suspend the operating
licence of the Aspis Pronia Group  – in particular, of the Aspis Pronoia
General Insurance Company and the Aspis Pronoia Life Insurance Company.
The recent report from the National Institute of Economic Research
(Konjunkturinstitutet, KI ) entitled ‘/Wage formation in Sweden 2009/’
focuses on next year’s wage bargaining and the relations between wages and
economic development. KI highlights the importance of a responsible wage
formation in order to ease the effects of reduced employment levels and to
avoid deepening the economic crisis. In 2010, about 500 out of 600 collective
agreements will be renegotiated, covering 90% of the country’s total
workforce. The majority of the national agreements have to be renegotiated
before the end of March 2010. The bargaining round will be a huge challenge
for the social partners in light of the ongoing recession and large tensions
between the parties (*SE0910019I* ).
Under a bill (in French)  transposing the European directive opening up
the postal market to competition by 1 January 2011 (Directive 2002/39/EC
), the French postal operator La Poste  is to become a limited
liability company (/Société anonyme/, SA) on 1 January 2010. This is to
enable La Poste, currently a public establishment, to make the necessary
preparations for a liberalised postal services market. Such a change in its
legal status would make it possible to increase its capital by €2.7
billion, which includes €1.5 billion from the Deposit and Securities Fund
(/Caisse des Dépôts et Consignations/, CDC ). The French postal operator
has major debts, amounting to €6 billion, which is twice the amount of its
own funds. Moreover, mail distributed by La Poste has diminished
significantly – more specifically, by 6.3% during the first six months of
2009 – especially because of the drop in direct marketing by mail order
companies. It is estimated that the volume of mail will fall by another 30%
between now and 2015 due to competition from the internet.
After several months of negotiations, the government of the Republic of
Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, LRV ) and the social partners
– the national peak trade union and employer organisations – finally
signed a national agreement providing for measures to combat the recession on
28 October 2009.
In the spring of 2009, the government appointed a tripartite working group to
examine the issue of extending working life. Both trade unions and employers
groups are represented. Before the induction of the working group, the trade
union side rejected the government’s proposal to raise the retirement age
from 63 to 65 years (*FI0903019I* ).