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In Germany, 71.4% of apprentices in 2014 were ‘satisfied’ or ‘very satisfied’ with their training, according to the German Confederation of Trade Unions (DGB). However, its report calls for more, and better quality, apprenticeships. In December 2014 an alliance of employers, unions and national government representatives was set up to promote vocational and further training.
The new European Commission (EC) under President Jean-Claude Juncker is committed to re-launching social dialogue and a first step was taken with the organisation of a high-level conference in Brussels on 5 March. The aim of the conference was to discuss concrete ways to strengthen social dialogue with EU cross-industry social partners and their national affiliates. On 21 and 22 April 2015 Ministers for Employment and Social Affairs in Riga again discussed informally ways towards a true and responsible social dialogue. Juan Menéndez-Valdés, Eurofound Director, presented an overview of Eurofound’s recent research work, outlining steps towards a true and responsible social dialogue in Europe.
The Government Council for Employment, established in April 2014, met for the first time on 1 September 2014 to consider how to combat unemployment and create new jobs. Participants included the Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister, government and public agency representatives, and leaders of the five national social partner associations.
An increasing number of European workers have part-time jobs or non-standard types of work, such as the zero-hours employment contracts that have become common in the UK. Yet most European workers with temporary contracts would like permanent jobs, and one third of people working part time would like a full-time job.
In July 2014, the Danish Working Environment Authority published the findings of an evaluation of rules on the organisation of local social dialogue (AMO) about the working environment introduced in 2010. More businesses are now working strategically with working environment issues, though not all the businesses surveyed had implemented the new rules fully.
This study provides information designed to aid sectoral social dialogue in the road transport and logistics sector. The study is divided into three parts: a brief overview of sector’s economic and employment background; an analysis of the relevant social partner organisations in all the EU Member States, with special emphasis on their membership, their role in collective bargaining, social dialogue and public policy; and their national and European affiliations; and an analysis of the relevant European organisations, particularly their membership composition and their capacity to negotiate. The aim of Eurofound’s series of representativeness studies is to identify the relevant national and supranational social partner organisations in the field of industrial relations in selected sectors. The impetus of these studies arises from the goal of the European Commission to recognise the representative social partner organisations to be consulted under the provisions of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU).
New rules reversing reforms of Germany’s statutory pension system took effect on 1 July 2014. Some critics estimate that these more generous pension rules will cost an extra €10 billion over the next decade, and younger workers will have to fund them with little chance of receiving equally generous benefits when they retire.
Recent public employment reform aims to stimulate generational change. The right of civil servants to work beyond retirement age has been removed, and public sector retirees cannot return to their former roles as consultants, public managers or officials. The aim is to create vacancies for 15,000 new civil servants in the next few years.
The largest trade union and the largest employers’ organisation have clashed over two proposed amendments to Latvian labour law. One is a provision that prohibits an employer from dismissing an employee who is a member of a trade union without prior consent of the union and the other deals with setting pay rates for overtime.
2014 saw the most important changes to the labour law in Latvia's history. Proposed amendments to make labour legislation more flexible and to adjust it to changing labour market conditions has caused heated debate between social partners. While 35 articles were amended, two amendments proposed by the employers were not adopted due to trade union resistance.