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20 April 2020

What happened in March 2020 on collective bargaining?

Please find below the highlights of the March issue of the Collective Bargaining newsletter with the most important developments at European and member state level over the past month.

  1. Global: The OECD released a new web portal in response to the COVID-19 virus outbreak, “Tackling the coronavirus – Contributing to a global effort”, that provides useful policy analysis and lists short-term policy solutions to cushion the impact of the crisis. One of the policy papers published considers the options for an immediate employment and social policy response, including measures to support employment and wages. 
  2. European Union: The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) launched a special website tracking the responses of its national affiliates to the COVID-19 crisis. In addition to collective agreements concluded in order to protect workers across the EU, the website contains the ETUC’s briefing note providing an overview of national crisis-related measures covering issues such as short-time work, collective/individual redundancies, sick pay and social protection, and the protection of non-standard workers and the self-employed. 
  3. Spain: The government announced a €200 billion package to help companies and protect workers and other vulnerable groups affected by the coronavirus crisis. The €200 billion come in addition to the €14 billion announced earlier and represent nearly 20% of Spain’s annual economic output. Workers will be entitled to unemployment benefits even if they have not paid enough in social security contributions. Those who become unemployed or lose their regular income will be able to postpone their monthly mortgage payments as well as their utility bills. 
  4. Slovenia: The government announced that they will provide €2 billion, equivalent to 4% of GDP, to help the economy and its citizens overcome the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Many companies have had to stop production because of a lack of components or as part of measures to try to slow the coronavirus outbreak. Until the end of May, the state will pay a basic income to the self-employed whose business has been affected. Hourly wages of professionals, such as doctors and nurses working to fight the epidemic, will be increased by up to 200%, while the salaries of government officials will be reduced by 30% while the outbreak continues. 
  5. Austria: The government and the social partners reached an agreement on short-time working arrangements, underpinned by a budget of €400 million. This measure, which is designed to last for three months will provide financial assistance for those placed on short-time working and for workers who are laid off temporarily. 
  6. Denmark: The government has entered into a tripartite agreement with the social partners on a package to support companies struggling with drastic measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus that would cover 75% of employees’ salaries if they promised not to cut staff. Under the three-month aid period that will last until June 9, the state is offering to pay 75% of employees’ salaries with a maximum of 23,000 DKK (€3,082) per month, while the companies pay the remaining 25%. Employees will be obliged to take five days of mandatory vacation or time off from work.


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