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25 June 2019

Collective Bargaining Newsletter April/May 2019

Find below the highlights of the latest issue of the Collective Bargaining newsletter with the most important developments at European and member state level over the period April - May 2019:

1. European sources – This year’s Living and working in Europe brings together Eurofound’s work on the living and working conditions of Europeans over the years 2015–2018.  It has been a period of economic expansion and employment growth. But averages hide significant differences between countries, population groups and developments across the continent.

2. Italy -  Following a dispute over working conditions and pay, airline, airport and air traffic control staff staged a 24 hour walkout that caused half of the flights to and from Italy to cancel. Besides the working conditions and pay dispute the strike is also partly a protest against failure to decide on the future of Alitalia which has been in administration for over two years as successive governments struggle to agree on a buyer.

3. Netherlands-  Trade union workers of the country’s largest trade union FNV organised in their own FNV-personnel union, organised a rally outside of their headquarters. The union workers threatened with strike actions if the union management would go through with a reorganisation plan the union workers find to be “not worthy of a trade union”. As a result of the action union management has agreed to withdraw the reorganisation plan.

4. UK- Courier service Herms has agreed upon a deal with trade union GMB that will give their approximately 15000 couriers the choice of being ‘self-employed plus’. Herms used to consider their couriers as self-employed which means that they were not entitled to the rights a normal workers has. A ruling from the employment tribunal last year however stated that Hermes drivers should be considered ‘workers’ and not self-employed. Union and Hermes have negotiated a middle way solution that is unique in the landscape of the gig-economy.

5. Finland - Under heavy pressure from the government in 2016 trade unions agreed upon a pact in the public sector that added 24 hours onto annual working time and cut holiday by 30 per cent for three years. With collective bargaining over a new agreement starting this autumn it looks like unions want to renew agreements only if the extended working hours are removed which means that the whole agreement that covers more than 100,000 employees must now be re-negotiated. 

Further reading:

  • Archives database of Collective Bargaining newsletter, searchable by country and date.
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