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  • Minister supports employers’ demand for working time flexibility

    Austria’s federal Minister for Economy, Family and Youth, Reinhold Mitterlehner, has sparked a fresh debate on working time flexibility. In a recent interview, he demanded more flexible working hours and an extension of the reference period for the averaging of working time to two years.
  • Government’s halt on pension increase upsets unions

    One of the main priorities of the Spanish Government [1] has been to reduce its fiscal deficit to meet the goals agreed with the European institutions. As a result, during its first year in government the Popular Party [2] renounced some of its flagship electoral commitments including its promise to increase pensions in line with annual inflation, as established by law. [1] [2]
  • Effect of new EU regulations on labour immigration

    Over the past decade, the German Federal Government [1] has taken many steps to reform the country’s immigration laws brought in on 1 January 2005. Discussion over the aims of German immigration policy has continued, however, (*DE1205039I* [2], *DE1211019I* [3], *DE1107029I* [4]) and the new act has also had an impact on other laws and regulations. [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Steel giant and union sign international health and safety agreement

    On 14 November 2012, management at steel multinational ThyssenKrupp [1] and representatives of the European trade union IndustriAll Europe [2] signed an agreement [3] on health and safety for the company’s elevator division, ThyssenKrupp Elevator [4]. This represents IndustriAll’s first international agreement with a German-based multinational. [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Commission issues social investment package in response to crisis

    On 20 February 2013, the European Commission [1] issued a Communication called Towards Social Investment for Growth and Cohesion – including implementing the European Social Fund 2014–2020 (160Kb PDF) [2]. It called on European Union (EU [3]) Member States to prioritise social investment and to modernise their welfare states. It also gave guidance to Member States on how best to use EU financial support, notably from the European Social Fund [4], to implement the objectives it suggested. [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • ESA approves labour clauses in public procurement contracts

    The issue of labour clauses in public procurements has been subject to significant debate in Norwegian working life. The Norwegian regulations stipulate that public procurers must demand national wages and working standards for workers employed in supplier companies and/or subcontractors (*NO0802049I* [1]). [1]
  • Social partners sign new charter for car industry

    A plan to help revive the ailing car industry in France, backed with €60 million of government and industry money, was signed on 20 December 2012. The new car charter (in French, 211 Kb PDF) [1] covers car manufacturers and their suppliers from the metallurgical, plastics, rubber and textiles industries, as well as companies from the automotive service sector, the trade unions and the government. [1]
  • Economic crisis puts social dialogue in disarray

    More than 1,200 bankruptcy proceedings were begun in Belgium in October 2012 according to consultancy firm Graydon [1], a leader in commercial and marketing information and credit and debt management. This was an increase of 7.18% compared with October 2011. [1]
  • Scope of social fund in enterprises

    Social policy has been an important component in the policy of Slovakian businesses for a number of years. It is also regulated by labour legislation. Act No. 311/2001 Coll. covers the labour code, Act No. 152/1994 Coll. covers the social fund (SF), and Act No. 2/1991 Coll. deals with collective bargaining.
  • Evaluating the back-to-work scheme for young people

    The independence contract (/contrat d’autonomie/) was introduced in 2008 as part of the ‘Hope for the suburbs’ programme. The programme aimed to help young people – those aged between16 and 25, or up to 30 in special circumstances – from disadvantaged areas to find employment. The plan was to offer work contracts of at least six months, or an apprenticeship. For poorly qualified young people, a training programme was provided. Others were given help setting up their own businesses.