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  • National agreement to combat economic downturn finally signed

    After several months of negotiations, the government of the Republic of Lithuania (Lietuvos Respublikos Vyriausybė, LRV [1]) and the social partners – the national peak trade union and employer organisations – finally signed a national agreement providing for measures to combat the recession on 28 October 2009. [1]
  • Employers and trade unions disagree over age of retirement

    In the spring of 2009, the government appointed a tripartite working group to examine the issue of extending working life. Both trade unions and employers groups are represented. Before the induction of the working group, the trade union side rejected the government’s proposal to raise the retirement age from 63 to 65 years (*FI0903019I* [1]). [1]
  • Romania: Survey highlights rural-urban divide in workplace health and safety

    The National Institute of Statistics conducted an ad hoc module on health and safety at the workplace as part of the Household Labour Force Survey in the second quarter of 2007. Among the main topics covered were accidents at the workplace and factors that may impair physical and mental health at work. The survey highlights significant differences according to sector, employment status, age, gender and location, revealing a distinct rural–urban divide.
  • KPN sets example by appointing women to key executive positions

    The problem in the Netherlands is the dominance of small-scale part-time jobs among women: three quarters of all women who work hold such a position and most of them are happy with this arrangement.
  • Social partners disagree over minimum wage level

    In terms of Act No. 663/2007 on the minimum wage in force since February 2008, discussion about the minimum wage for 2009 started with the negotiations among the social partners at the peak national level. The economic crisis affected the negotiations and thus they ended without any agreement being reached between the social partners. The Slovakian Confederation of Trade Unions (Konfederácia odborových zväzov Slovenskej republiky, KOZ SR [1]) requested a 9% increase in the minimum wage, which was close to the increase agreed in 2008 (*SK0811019I* [2]). [1] [2]
  • Heated debate among social partners on reform of labour market model

    The current debate about reforming the Swedish labour market model should be considered within the context of recent debates and developments, such as the Laval case [1] (*SE0905029I* [2], SE0706029I [3], SE0801019I [4], SE0804029I [5], SE0811029I [6], SE0901029I [7]) and the breakdown in negotiations between the peak national social partner organisations to reach a new central agreement earlier this year (SE0903029I [8], *SE0908029I* [9]). [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7] [8] [9]
  • Conflicting reactions to 2010 draft budget

    At a meeting of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (NCTC), the government recently presented its draft for the 2010 budget, which encompassed zero deficits in order to avoid a prolonged recession and currency pressure. Revenue sources were, once again, made dependent on indirect tax proceeds – including through increases in excise duties on tobacco and on electricity used in industry. Direct taxes – that is, on workers’ incomes and businesses – are to remain unchanged. With regard to budgetary spending, the government has earmarked five priority areas: namely, social measures, healthcare, education, the environment and transport infrastructure.
  • Social partners look at impact of climate change on employment

    On 20 and 21 October 2009, the Executive Committee of the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC [1]) adopted a ‘Resolution on climate change’. The resolution was developed in the context of a major document debated at a meeting earlier that month and in the run-up to the Copenhagen climate conference due to take place in December. The document – entitled Climate change, new industrial policies and ways out of the crisis [2] – provides a detailed account of the trade union position on climate change policies. It affirms that the trade unions at EU level support policies aimed at cutting carbon emissions and at developing greener jobs. However, it also argues that these objectives can only be achieved in the context of social partner involvement, with ‘the information/consultation/negotiation procedures and processes at both company and sector level in need[ing] to be as rich as possible’, while recognising the need to enable workers to adapt to new jobs. [1] [2]
  • National wage negotiations at a standstill

    After the new collective agreement in the technology industry that opened the 2009 bargaining round, wage negotiations have been at a standstill. In fact, many sectors are now at a stage where no agreement is in force. Thus, there seems to be little commitment to harmony in the labour market. In mid November 2009, the Finnish Airline Pilots’ Association (Suomen Liikennelentäjäliitto, SLL [1]) rejected a national conciliator’s settlement proposal to avert industrial action, and a strike of 800 pilots grounded the flights of the national airline carrier, Finnair. [1]
  • Positive outcome for non-EU workers’ voluntary return programme

    Under Royal Decree 4/2008 of 19 September (in Spanish, 40Kb PDF) [1], the Non-EU Foreign Workers’ Voluntary Return Programme allows for the early lump-sum payment of unemployment contributory benefits to non-EU foreign workers who are voluntarily returning to their home country. The benefits are granted in two payments: 40% of the total amount is paid in Spain, and the remaining 60% is granted to the individual when they return to their home country after a period of 30 days. The programme, which was approved a year ago, is voluntary and, according to the government, aims to alleviate the situation of one of the groups most negatively affected by the economic crisis. In addition, individuals receiving the benefit may be offered the possibility of returning home together with their family, through a travel-finance assistance programme. [1]