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  • Young doctors leave to work abroad

    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.
  • EFTA Court rules on employment conditions of posted workers

    Nine shipyards, supported by the Confederation of Norwegian Enterprise (NHO [1]), 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 [2]). The government won the first round, but the ruling was then taken to appeal (*NO1003019I* [3]) and an advisory opinion in the matter was requested from the Court of Justice of the European Free Trade Association States (EFTA Court [4]). 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 [5] and the EEA agreement. [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
  • Teachers strike over low pay

    Teachers wages are set annually in an agreement between the Estonian Ministry of Education and Research (HTM [1]) and the Estonian Education Personnel Union (EHL [2]). 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 [3]). 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. [1] [2] [3]
  • Industrial action in the construction sector

    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.
  • Shortened working time at largest steel company

    U.S. Steel Košice [1], 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. [1]
  • No consultation on labour law change

    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 350 ‘drivers’.
  • Unions demand end to asset stripping buyouts

    The Union of Free Trade Unions of Slovenia (ZSSS [1]) has warned several times that poorly regulated management buyouts and monopolistic practices still occur in Slovenia – frequently in the construction industry (*SI1108019I* [2]). [1] [2]
  • Commission publishes White Paper on sustainable pensions

    On 16 February 2012, the European Commission published a White Paper entitled An agenda for adequate, safe and sustainable pensions (303Kb PDF) [1]. The White Paper describes the ageing of the European population as the main challenge for the future of the EU’s pension system. [1]
  • New social dialogue committee for food and drink industry

    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) [1], a multi-stakeholder forum that brings together EU institutions and business and civil society stakeholders in the EU food supply chain. [1]
  • Teachers' protests continue despite resolution of local dispute

    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 [1]). [1]