Over the last twenty years, German unions at company level have come under harsh pressure from employers who demanded major concessions to preserve the competitiveness of German manufacturing industry. In return for preservation of core employees’ interests, some company unions agreed on the hiring of temporary agency workers with fewer rights than their permanent colleagues. In the long run, these concessions were detrimental to the workforce as a whole. Such is the main message of a recently published ETUI Policy Brief.
The freshly published issue of Transfer focuses on ‘working life democracy’ and, more specifically, on the trade union (and political) struggle to expand democracy into the sphere of working life. The issue contains articles that tackle this multi-facetted issue from differing standpoints.
During a Monthly Forum held on 1 February, ETUI senior researcher Béla Galgóczi presented the main findings of a recent paper on the economic and industrial restructuring process of the Ruhr areas.
‘Our welfare states, our education systems, our civic cultures, our values, our international politics, our domestic politics, our elections: all this and more will be affected by how we address the integration of those refugees who are already here’. This is the message delivered by Ruby Gropas, social policy adviser to the President of the European Commission, on 28 January at an ETUI Monthly Forum focused on the refugee crisis.
Here are the most important developments at European and member state level from the first issue of the Collective Bargaining newsletter for 2016:
On 12 January Barack Obama announced the launch of a national plan to eradicate cancer. ‘Let’s make America the country that cures cancer once and for all,’ he declared to members of Congress who had assembled to hear his State of the Union Address.
European case law helps protect fixed-term workers against discrimination but contributes little to restricting employer recourse to this form of non-standard contract. Such is the principal message of a recent ETUI publication presented on 26 January at a Monthly Forum.
On 25 January, some thirty researchers, trade unionists and representatives of associations attended a seminar organised jointly by the ETUI, the Belgian association Santé & Solidarité, and the Free University of Brussels (ULB). The gathering, held this year for the second time, was intended to present projects in which researchers and workers contribute their joint efforts in pursuit of a common goal, namely to raise visibility of the impact of work on health.
A report from the International Labour Organisation released on 19 January 2016 forecasts that worldwide unemployment will increase to 200 million over the next couple of years. Despite a slight decrease in the unemployment rate in advanced economies (USA, northern and central EU countries), the quality of the jobs created is major cause for concern.
In a ‘carte blanche’ column published on 18 January in the Belgian daily Le Soir, Christophe Degryse (ETUI) draws attention to the risks to employment and social cohesion posed by digitalisation of the economy.
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