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On 22 October 2008, representatives of the federal and state governments met
in Dresden, in the eastern federal state of Saxony, to discuss future
education policy in Germany. The ‘Education summit’ was opened by the
German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, who called for more investment in
education. Essential goals were set out in a joint declaration (in German,
190Kb PDF) . It was agreed that spending on education was to be raised to
10% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2015. Furthermore, Chancellor Merkel
stressed that the drop-out rates for school pupils and vocational trainees
must be halved by 2015 – from 8% to 4% for school pupils and from 17% to
8.5% for vocational trainees. The needs of migrants, in particular, were
addressed by the joint declaration at the education summit. However, any
future measures must consider the significant differences that still exist
between the integration of migrants and Germans into the labour market. These
differences were analysed in a recent study by the Institute for Employment
Research (Institut für Arbeitsmarkt- und Berufsforschung, IAB ).
Numerous companies of the glass manufacturing group Bohemia Crystalex Trading
 have been in insolvency proceedings since 22 September 2008. This
includes the two glassworks companies Sklo Bohemia  in Světlá nad
Sázavou in the Vysočina Region of the Czech Republic located on the
frontier between Bohemia and Moravia, and Sklárny Bohemia  in Poděbrady
in central Bohemia. Until the insolvency proceedings were initiated, the
group did not owe any salaries to employees. It only began to experience
problems when the banks froze its accounts (for more information on the Czech
glass industry crisis, see *CZ0810039I* ). Thus, about 1,750 workers at
the company’s plants in Poděbrady and Světlá nad Sázavou did not
receive their salaries for September 2008.
The international financial crisis hit Belgium from September 2008 onwards.
Two of the country’s largest banks – Fortis  and Dexia  – began
to experience severe problems, which have been exacerbated by the financial
problems of other banks around the world. The value of their stocks, as well
as the stocks of most other Belgian companies, plunged. The government tried
to control the situation by taking part ownership in the banks and
guaranteeing their deposits. In early October, Fortis was split into two
parts: the Dutch part was nationalised, while the Belgian division was sold
to the French bank BNP Paribas .
Against the backdrop of the global financial crisis and a domestic budgetary
shortfall, considerable attention has been focused on the level of top
salaries. This applies, in particular, to executives in the main Irish banks,
which are underpinned by taxpayer guarantees, and in respect of senior civil
servants and politicians, who are aware of the public spending constraints on
the government. Meanwhile, in mid November 2008, unionised workers formally
agreed to a 6% pay rise over 21 months as part of the latest national pay
agreement – known as the ‘transitional agreement’ (*IE0810019I* )
– under the framework of the Towards 2016 (2.86Mb PDF)  national social
 http://www.taoiseach.gov.ie/attached_files/Pdf files/Towards2016PartnershipAgreement.pdf
An EU PHARE  project, launched in June 2002, sought to address one of the
biggest shortcomings of the Hungarian industrial relations system: the lack
of proper social dialogue  at sectoral level. The project aimed to
establish bipartite sectoral social dialogue committees (Ágazati Párbeszéd
Bizottságok) in 18 industries in Hungary. These committees seek to provide
appropriate forums for consultation on sectoral policies, to facilitate
collective bargaining  and to enable the Hungarian social partners to play
an active role in EU-level sectoral social dialogue (*HU0212106F* ).
The Spanish air transport sector has experienced strong growth in recent
years, leading to an increase in the number of operators and greater
competition. Over the last year, however, the continuing increase in fuel
prices and decrease in business due to the global economic crisis have
threatened the continuity of many companies in the sector.
On 18 September 2008, the Danish government sent an invitation to the social
partners to participate in the creation of a commission to ‘identify,
analyse and discuss several issues regarding wages, recruitment and
management conditions in the public sector’.
The Estonian national statistics agency Statistics Estonia (Statistikaamet,
SA ) has published in 2008, as part of its information sheet series, an
analysis entitled ‘Women and men in employment’ (Naised ja mehed
palgatööjõus (in Estonian, 283Kb PDF) ). The analysis is based on data
from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which has been conducted on a regular
basis since 1995. The target population of the survey are the working-age
residents of Estonia – those aged 15–74 years. The survey results are
representative of the whole population.
This report examines the operations of social partner organisations and
collective bargaining in the railways sector. The first part, focusing on
rail operations, was carried out in 2006, while the second part, on rail
infrastructure, was completed in 2007. Each part consists of three main
sections. The first section outlines the economic background of the railways
sector. The second section analyses the social partner organisations in all
Member States of the European Union, apart from Cyprus, Malta and (in the
case of railway operations) Sweden, with particular emphasis on membership,
role in collective bargaining and public policy, and national and European
affiliations. The final section profiles the relevant European organisations,
in particular their membership composition and capacity to negotiate. The aim
of the EIRO representativeness studies is to identify the relevant national
and supranational social partner organisations in the field of industrial
relations in selected sectors. The impetus for these studies arises from the
goal of the European Commission to recognise the representative social
partner associations to be consulted under the EC Treaty provisions. Hence,
this study seeks to provide the basic information required to establish
sectoral social dialogue.
The aim of this representativeness study is to identify the respective national and supranational actors (i.e. trade unions and employer organisations) in the field of industrial relations in the railways sector in the United Kingdom. In or...