Bulgaria: Any acts against union association now punishable by law

On 7 August in a groundbreaking move, Parliament approved a series of amendments to the Penal Code. This is a great victory for the trade union movement as any crimes committed against workers in their right to freedom of association will now be punishable with one to five years imprisonment or a fine of up to € 4,600. Trade unions won a 30-year long battle when Parliament approved these changes which criminalizes actions directed against the right of association of workers and employees. The amendment includes any offences committed against the right of workers to join trade unions, may it be through violence, threats, or in any other illegal way, which prevents someone from exercising their right to join a trade union by forcing them to renounce their membership in a trade union organization or by preventing them from creating one.

Czechia: Unions push for higher minimum wage

The Czech-Moravian Confederation of Trade Unions, ČMKOS, is advocating for a significant rise in the country's minimum wage, up to CZK 19,500 from next year. Furthermore, the trade union organization also aims to keep and elevate levels of guaranteed wages, which factor in types of position and skill levels.

Finland: Trade unions against reform of industrial relations

The new government’ plans to reform industrial relations will face strong opposition from the unions. The plan runs completely counter to the objectives of the trade union movement. It includes attacks on collective bargaining, industrial action, protection against dismissal and much more. Some key elements of the reform proposal are: in collective bargaining, a shift away from the national sectoral level towards company-level agreements will be promoted, contrary to general EU policy as set out in the Minimum Wage Directive which promotes sectoral bargaining. In future, company agreements can be overridden by legislation. Today this is only possible through national collective agreements. In social dialogue, the threshold for compulsory consultation will be raised from 20 to 50 employees. The right to take political industrial action will be restricted.

Germany: First strike of riders

The Berlin riders from the Lieferando food delivery service went on strike for the first time on 17 August 2023. Lieferando has been refusing to conclude collective agreements with the trade union NGG for some time. That's why the couriers stopped work on "Striker's Day" to put pressure on the company. The riders’ demands include for instance a minimum hourly wage of € 15, a 13th month salary, appropriate supplements, and full payment for the last ride home. At the beginning of February, NGG called on Lieferando to negotiate a framework and wage agreement. Since then, Lieferando has consistently refused negotiations.

Luxembourg: Workers benefit from new wage indexation

The imminent implementation of the third wage indexation of the year signals promising news for employees and pensioners. As confirmed by the National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (STATEC), projections are aligning, setting the stage for the wage indexation to be applied to September or October salaries. The result will be a 2.5% increase in salaries and pensions. According to STATEC's calculations, salaries and pensions are set to experience a cumulative growth of approximately 7.7% within the current year. The momentum is expected to extend into 2024, with another wage indexation slated for implementation in the third quarter of the year.

Netherlands: New collective agreement for 60,000 social workers

Members of the trade union FNV have voted by a large majority to endorse the new collective agreement covering 60,000 social workers that provides for pay increases totalling 15% over the next two years. The agreement also includes measures to tackle excessive workloads with permanent employees having more control over their work schedule and having precedence over freelancers. Wages increased by 7% on 1 July and there will be two further increases – one of 7% on 1 January 2024 and then another 4% increase on 1 July 2024. From 1 January 2024, every permanent employee will receive at least € 14 gross per hour. This means that some workers, for example, assistant janitors and cleaners, among others, will effectively see wage increases of 23%.

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