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  • Social partners seem to welcome Queen's speech

    In a previous EIRO review of the industrial relations consequences of the new Labour Government (UK9704125F [1]) it was suggested that it was unlikely that the Government would produce an all-embracing employment bill in its first term of office, and this has proved correct. However, the social partners were still relatively pleased with announcements made on measures to tackle unemployment and low pay. [1]
  • Social partners reach draft agreement on part-time work

    The negotiating teams representing the Union of Industrial and Employers' Confederations of Europe (UNICE), the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) and the European Centre of Enterprises with Public Participation and of Enterprises of General Economic Interest (CEEP) reached a draft framework agreement on part-time work in the evening of 14 May 1997.
  • New collective agreements in the Saxon metalworking industry

    On 25 April 1997, the Saxon metalworking employers' association (Arbeitgeberverband der Sächsischen Metall- und Elektroindustrie, VSME) and the metalworkers' trade union, IG Metall, signed new collective agreements for the 87,000 employees in the Saxon metal industry. The agreements include a new agreement on wages and salaries, new framework agreements for white- and blue-collar workers, and a new agreement to secure employment (Beschäftigungssicherungstarifvertrag). The agreements mainly follow the pattern of the agreements which have already been agreed in other regions of eastern Germany, and conclude the 1997 collective bargaining round in east German metalworking.
  • Elections in the largest union affiliated to UGT

    In elections held in April 1997, a joint list of socialist and communist trade unionists narrowly won control of Portugal's South and Islands Banking Union (Sindicato dos Bancários do Sul e Ilhas, SBSI), which will continue to be affiliated to the General Workers' Union (União Geral de Trabalhadores, UGT).
  • Supreme Court makes landmark equality ruling

    In what legal experts in Ireland have highlighted as a landmark case on the issue of indirect sex discrimination, Ireland's Supreme Court has asserted the primacy of EU law over domestic law. Mary Honan, a legal expert with the Employment Equality Agency said that the decision also established the correct legal framework for establishing unlawful indirect discrimination.
  • Pensions deal leads the way for part timers

    Part-time workers have traditionally not been allowed into the same occupational pension schemes as full-time workers, but because there are far more women than men among part-timers the practice was challenged on the grounds of sex discrimination through the European Court of Justice (ECJ). In 1994, the ECJ ruled in a set of linked cases that the practice did amount to sex discrimination. The judgment was not welcomed by the then Conservative Government, so the Trades Union Congress (TUC) advised qualifying individuals that they should register their cases with industrial tribunals. After a number of test cases in the UK tribunals, it was ruled that part-timers who had been denied access to occupational pension schemes could not claim backdated pension rights any further back that two years prior to the ECJ's ruling - that is, 1992. After appeals were turned down, the cases are still waiting to be heard by the House of Lords.
  • Commission publishes Green Paper on new forms of work organisation

    The Green Paper focuses on three questions:
  • Pact for partnership 1997 at Mohn printing shop

    On 29 April 1997, the management and works council at Mohn GmbH, a subsidiary of one of Germany's biggest media corporations, Bertelsmann, signed a works agreement [1]- known as the "Pact for partnership 1997" - for the 1,700 or so employees at the Mohn printing works in Gütersloh. [1]
  • Conciliation, mediation and arbitration in Spain

    An agreement on resolving labour disputes out of court was signed in January 1996 by Spain's largest unions (UGT and CC.OO) and employers' associations (CEOE and CEPYME), covering the period until 31 December 2000. The agreement built on the experience in mediation and arbitration at a regional level that had grown on the basis of joint quasi-judicial institutions formed in the 1990s. We review the complex system which now applies in this area.
  • Are trade union mergers the way forward?

    The first of the two recently-announced mergers, which is to take effect from 1 July 1997, is between the National and Provincial Building Society Staff Association (NAPSA) and the Banking, Insurance and Finance Union (BIFU). The National and Provincial Building Society was recently taken over by the Abbey National, but NAPSA members voted to become part of BIFU rather than the Abbey National's own staff association. Despite the strong support for BIFU from NAPSA members, the company has refused to recognise the union. BIFU said that "in the merger and conversion mania which is sweeping this country there is little regard for the impact on staff. They are the casualties - that's why it is important for unions to work together". BIFU, which has 115,000 members, hope that this will be the first of many mergers which will ensure it a stronger role in the financial sector.