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A first collective agreement for the Swedish call-centre and telemarketing
branch was signed on 2 February 2001. In the deal, the Salaried Employees'
Union (Tjänstemannaförbundet HTF, HTF) and the Swedish Service Employers'
Association (Tjänsteföretagens Arbetsgivarförbund) have agreed upon the
general conditions for employment in the sector, with many of the agreed
rules new and untested. The agreement states that great efforts are demanded
from both parties in order to make the call-centre branch more stable
A new collective agreement for the engineering industry (verkstadsavtalet)
was signed by Swedish Engineering Industries (Sveriges Verkstadsindustrier,
VI) on the employers' side and the Metalworkers' Trade Union (Svenska
Metallindustriarbetareförbundet, Metall) on 8 February 2001. The deal is
valid for 38 months from 1 February 2001. The engineering industry deal is
the main pattern-setting settlement for bargaining over pay and employment
conditions in Sweden. In parallel, VI signed a very similar agreement with
the trade unions representing white-collar workers and university graduates
in the engineering industry, the Swedish Union of Technical and Clerical
Employees in Industry (Svenska Industritjänstemannaförbundet, SIF) and the
Association of Graduate Engineers (Civilingenjörsförbundet, CF).
In early 2001, negotiations are underway over new sectoral collective
agreements to replace the three-year deals signed in 1998 (SE9806190F ).
Bargaining has proved difficult in the important engineering sector and,
after lengthy and intense talks, on 1 February a one-week suspension was
called by the impartial mediators who are overseeing the bargaining process,
in accordance with the 1997 cooperation agreement on bargaining procedures in
industry (industrins samarbetsavtal) (SE9703110N ). The negotiations
involve the Association of Engineering Industries (Verkstadsindustrin, VI),
plus three trade unions - the Swedish Metalworkers' Union (Svenska
Metallindustriförbundet, Metall), the Association of Graduate Engineers
(Civilingenjörsförbundet, CF) and the Swedish Union of Technical and
Clerical Employees in Industry (Svenska Industritjänstemannaförbundet,
On 1 January 2001, a number of amendments to the 1991 Act concerning Equality
between Men and Women (jämställdhetslagen/1991:433/) came into force
(SE9909195N ). Most notably, the changes: add a definition of the concept
of "work of equal value" in equal pay cases; oblige employers to conduct an
annual wage survey; and extend the ban on sex discrimination to the whole
recruitment process, while adjusting the burden of proof. The key points are
In January 2001, the Portuguese parliament examined a number of proposals
from left-wing political parties for legislation aimed at restricting the
growing use of fixed-term employment contracts (which affect 13.9% of the
The Director of the Norwegian Labour Market Administration (Aetat), Ted
Hanisch, resigned in October 2000 after it was revealed that the organisation
had for a long period provided false and exaggerated figures concerning the
number of people it had helped to find jobs. An external audit showed that
25%-30% of Aetat's labour exchange activities had been registered falsely
according to its own procedural rules (NO0011112F ).
In 1985, the Dutch government and education trade unions agreed to lower the
salaries of newly-recruited teachers, in order to cut costs. In January 2001,
the Equal Treatment Commission found that this measure was indirectly
discriminatory against women, as two-thirds of newly appointed teachers have
been female. The government, faced with a major bill for rectifying the
situation, is not convinced of the violation and has sought legal advice.
In late 2000, Luxembourg trade unions claimed that the senior management of
CSC Computer Sciences Belgique had rejected the terms of a new collective
agreement negotiated by unions and local management in Luxembourg. The unions
thus referred the matter to the National Conciliation Office.
In January 2001, an agreement was signed establishing a supplementary
occupational pension fund for school workers - the first such fund to be set
up in the Italian public sector. The 1 million workers in schools (plus those
in other linked educational sectors) will be able to join the fund on a
In January 2001, a new collective agreement was signed after two years of
negotiations at Poste Italiane SpA, the public limited company created as
part of the privatisation of Italian postal services. The most innovative
aspects of the agreement, which deals with the switch from public to private
sector employment, include: a new bargaining structure; flexible working time
arrangements; pay increases linked to productivity; and the introduction of a
supplementary pension fund.