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Undeclared work  in Bulgaria has been under discussion for a long time
(*BG0406202T*). However, the debate was accelerated during the last year,
triggered by Bulgaria’s EU accession in January 2007. Employer
organisations are concerned about the increase in unfair competition and
risks for the competitiveness of businesses, while trade unions are concerned
about the risks of social dumping , decreasing social protection for
individuals and labour market prospects associated with informal work.
At present, no generally recognised definition of telework  exists in the
legal framework in Norway. To date, telework has not been an important topic,
illustrated by the fact that the issue was hardly touched on in relation to
the most recent revision of the working environment legislation in Norwegian
working life (*NO0304103F* , *NO0506102F *, *NO0512103N* ).
On 21 March 2007, the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory
Reform (BERR ) initiated a public consultation over proposals on Resolving
disputes in the workplace (325Kb PDF) , aimed at improving the resolution
of individual employment disputes. This article reviews the issues raised,
focusing particularly on the possible introduction of procedures to
‘streamline’ the management of multiple individual claims through the
employment tribunal and court systems.
The Bank of Ireland  pensions agreement, which was negotiated with the
assistance of Deputy Director Tom Pomphrett of the Conciliation Services
Division of the Labour Relations Commission (LRC ), has been formally
endorsed by the Labour Court . The agreement, involving one of Ireland’s
major banks, represents the further development of ‘hybrid’ pension
plans, which are a combination of defined benefit (DB) pensions and defined
contribution (DC) plans.
In mid October 2007, four of the five national trade union confederations
(RO0610019I ) issued a joint press release to express their
dissatisfaction with the draft state budget for 2008.
Changes to the unemployment insurance scheme were announced in the recent
budget bill for 2008 . Accordingly, from 1 January 2008, part-time workers
will receive unemployment benefits for a maximum of 75 days, as opposed to
the previous maximum of 300 days. Single parents will still be compensated
over an extended period of more than 75 days through the ‘job and
development guarantee’ (SE0705019I ). This exception was included as
economic conditions could become difficult for many single households, since
some part-time workers will lose a large proportion of their disposable
The new collective agreement on terms of employment in the public sector at
local government level was concluded in mid September 2007. The new
settlement envisages nationally binding collective agreements for employees
at local government level and covers the period from 1 October 2007 to 31
January 2010. Signatories of the agreement included the Trade Union for the
Public and Welfare Sectors (Julkisten ja hyvinvointialojen liitto, JHL ),
the Federation of Public and Private Sector Employees (Julkis- ja
yksityisalojen toimihenkilöliitto, Jyty ), the Negotiation Organisation
for Public Sector Professionals (Julkisalan koulutettujen
neuvottelujärjestö, JUKO ), the Confederation of Employees in Technical
and Basic Service Professions (Tekniikan ja Peruspalvelujen
Neuvottelujärjestö, KTN ) and the Finnish Union of Practical Nurses
(Suomen lähi- ja perushoitajaliitto, SuPer ). However, the Union of
Health and Social Care Professionals (Terveyden- ja sosiaalihuoltoalan
ammattijärjestö, Tehy ) did not sign the agreement (*FI0710039I* ).
Despite significant changes in the national questionnaires on work and
health, the quality of work as well as health complaints in the Netherlands
appear to be relatively stable. Pace of work seems to be on the increase
again and more people are working in excess of their contractual hours.
Notwithstanding changes in disability legislation, psychological disorders
remain a factor in dropping out of employment. Overall, absenteeism has been
decreasing recently although work-related illnesses tend to result in longer
spells of absence.