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Doctors in Hungary, as in other central and eastern European countries, face
poor pay and prospects, particularly if they are trainees. In the previous
six or seven years, at least 3,000 doctors and trainees have left Hungary for
better salaries and working conditions abroad. Data from the Hungarian
Chamber of Doctors shows that 8% of all Hungarian-trained doctors practise
abroad, and of these 10% left Hungary straight after graduation. Growing
numbers of physicians, surgeons, anaesthetists and other specialists are
heading for countries such as the UK, Germany and Sweden.
Nine shipyards, supported by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO
), took legal action against the Norwegian state on the grounds that the
decision to extend the collective agreement for shipyards and offshore yards
was in breach of Norway’s obligations under the European Economic Area
agreement (EEA agreement ). The government won the first round, but the
ruling was then taken to appeal (*NO1003019I* ) and an advisory opinion in
the matter was requested from the Court of Justice of the European Free Trade
Association States (EFTA Court ). The court was asked to consider the
extent to which some of the provisions made generally applicable were in
breach of the EU Directive on posted workers  and the EEA agreement.
Teachers wages are set annually in an agreement between the Estonian Ministry
of Education and Research (HTM ) and the Estonian Education Personnel
Union (EHL ). However, the teachers’ minimum wage has not been increased
since 2009. In December 2008, EHL and HTM reached an agreement to increase
the minimum wage by 8% for all teacher qualification levels starting from
2009 (EE0902019I ). In May 2009, however, the deteriorating economic
crisis meant that government had to cut all public expenditure and it
announced that the 2008 agreement could not be honoured. The union and the
ministry agreed that minimum wages be returned to 2008 monthly levels for
junior teachers of €608.18, for regular teachers, €644.04, for senior
teachers, €736.07, and for teacher-methodologists €888.88.
More than 35,000 workers took part in a 24-hour strike in the construction
industry on 14 February 2012. Workers stood firm in the face of pressure to
call off their action from the employers’ side, and also warned that
failure to meet their demands would cause further strikes.
U.S. Steel Košice , the biggest steel company in Slovakia, has introduced
a four-day working week to enable the company to respond to a drop in orders
in Europe without job losses. Company management decided to introduce the
shortened working week from January 2012.
On 28 October 2011, legal notice 994/11 was published in the Government
Gazette. This declared as ‘essential’ 541 specified jobs relating to the
provision of public passenger transport services, and another 71 specified
jobs in the provision of scheduled public ferry services between Malta and
Gozo. This effectively removes the right to strike from the workers who do
these jobs, obliging them to ‘deliver service even in the event of
industrial action’ or otherwise face dismissal. The specified roles include
The Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS ) has warned several
times that poorly regulated management buyouts and monopolistic practices
still occur in Slovenia – frequently in the construction industry
On 16 February 2012, the European Commission published a White Paper entitled
An agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions (303Kb PDF) . The
White Paper describes the ageing of the European population as the main
challenge for the future of the EU’s pension system.
The establishment of this new European social dialogue committee followed the
adoption in 2009 of a recommendation by the High Level Group on the
Competitiveness of the Agro-Food Industry (57.5Kb PDF) , a
multi-stakeholder forum that brings together EU institutions and business and
civil society stakeholders in the EU food supply chain.
In 2011, with a continued budget austerity in place, and also affected by
changes brought along by the new National Education Act, the education sector
of Romania has been shaken by various forms of protest actions undertaken by
the teachers' trade unions all over the country, and particularly in front of
the Bucharest headquarters of the Ministry of Education, Research, Youth and
Sports (Ministerul Educaţiei, Cercetării, Tineretului şi Sportului, MECTS