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  • New law on legality of strikes

    In Greek law, the right to strike is protected by the Constitution and is an extension of trade union freedom. However, the exercise of the right to strike is subject to certain conditions, the non-observance of which renders the strike illegal. Additional restrictions are in place in the case of strikes involving employees in public utilities. The so-called abusive strike is a special category of illegal strike.
  • Trade union calls on government to raise minimum wage

    In Slovenia, the minimum wage is fixed by the Law on the Determination of Minimum Wage (LDMW (47Kb PDF) [1]), adopted on 26 October 2006 (*SI0608019I* [2]). The LDMW reflects the requirements of the International Labour Organization (ILO [3]) Minimum Wage Fixing Convention No. 131 [4], adopted on 22 June 1970, which was ratified by Slovenia on 29 May 1992. This convention aims to ensure a minimum pay level which enables workers and their families to have a decent standard of living. [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Effects of childcare responsibilities on women’s income and career

    On the basis of quantitative social security data (anonymous individual data), the Austrian Labour Market Service (Arbeitsmarktservice, AMS [1]) commissioned a study (in German, 160Kb PDF) [2] which investigated the effects of having children and the childcare responsibilities of parenthood on the labour market integration of women and the development of female income levels. The so-called ‘childcare effect’ is analysed by comparing women of three different age groups – that is, those aged 25, 35 and 45 years – and by taking into consideration women’s age at childbirth – more specifically, women who gave birth to their first child before or after their 26th birthday. [1] [2]
  • Government to introduce ‘fit notes’ to reduce cost of workers’ ill-health

    The system of general practitioners (GPs) issuing workers with a sick note if they are ill has not been changed since the National Health Service (NHS [1]) was established in 1948. However, in *a report entitled* Improving health and work: Changing lives (1.76Mb PDF) [2]*, published on 25 November 2008,* the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP [3]) and the Department of Health (DH [4]) announced that sick notes are to be replaced by ‘fit notes’ as part of a package of reforms to manage sickness absence more effectively. [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Public and private sector strikes against economic policy

    The two main trade union federations in Greece, the Greek General Confederation of Labour (GSEE), which represents workers employed in the private sector, and the Supreme Administration of Greek Civil Servants’ Trade Unions (ADEDY), which represents civil servants, went on strike on 21 October. According to the trade unions, the 2009 draft budget announced by the government — which will lead to one more year of fiscal tightening for workers due to the new increase in the taxes to be paid by workers, the reductions in social benefits and services, and the dramatic reduction in public investment, which could lead to the loss of thousands of jobs — combined with uncontrollable high prices, will lead to an unbearable situation for workers. In addition, worker representatives have reached the conclusion that the privatisation policy followed by the government in connection with enterprises that used to be state-controlled until recently is creating a major problem in Greek society.
  • Unemployment insurance premiums to rise

    In Estonia, unemployment insurance covers the risks of becoming unemployed, collective redundancy [1] and an employer’s insolvency [2]. Unemployment insurance is financed through unemployment insurance premiums, which are obligatory for all employers and employees until pensionable age, including people working on contract under the Law of Obligations Act [3] and public servants. Unemployment insurance premiums are dependent on the size of employees’ wages. The Unemployment Insurance Act (Töötuskindlustuse seadus [4]) provides for certain flexibility in the rates of unemployment insurance premiums, as they can range from 0.5% to 2% for employees and from 0.25% to 1% for employers. [1] [2] [3] [4]
  • Increase in cases against employers for consecutive use of fixed-term contracts

    The use of fixed-term employment contracts when the employer’s activity is permanent or the employer needs a permanent workforce has emerged as a significant problem in the Finnish labour market.
  • Study examines impact of collective agreements on wages

    A recent study (in French, 355Kb PDF) [1] by the Luxembourg Central Service for Statistics and Economic Studies (Service central de la statistique et des études économiques, STATEC [2]) is based on the results of the 2002 survey on salary structures (in French, 275Kb PDF) [3], which is a four-yearly survey carried out in all EU Member States. In Luxembourg, some 1,328 companies with 10 or more employees from various sectors of the economy were analysed. However, due to the small workforce in companies operating in the mining and energy industries, these companies have not been taken into account in the study. This reduces the size of the sample to 1,318 companies. [1] [2] [3]
  • Further workforce cuts in car industry

    Companies in the Spanish motor manufacturing sector have presented redundancy procedures, a flexible form of workforce adjustment that they can apply in a series of economic, technical and organisational situations. The job cuts affect in particular the northeastern province of Barcelona in the autonomous community of Catalonia, where most of the car manufacturing companies are located. In this region, a total of 7,500 workers employed in car manufacturing plants and among the network of suppliers have been affected by dismissals and temporary layoffs. The cases presented below illustrate the role of redundancy procedures in workforce management strategies in two of the main companies of the sector.
  • Unions sign redundancy agreement at Stomana Industry

    Stomana Industry [1], is subsidiary of the Greek Sidenor Group [2] and is the second-largest steel mill in Bulgaria. The company had strong interests in enlarging its operations in the country and has put into place a significant investment programme of BGN 254 million (EUR 130 million) since 2001 when the company was incorporated into SIDENOR Group. At the beginning of this year it opened a new facility for special steels production which is the largest in the Balkans. *A total of 85% of Stomana* Industry *production is for export. However, recently Sidenor has halted all of its investment plans in* Bulgaria [3] *for the time being.* [1] [2] [3]