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

1. EU - Collective bargaining for the self-employed

The European Commission launched a process to ensure that the EU competition rules do not stand in the way of collective bargaining for those who need it. The initiative seeks to ensure that working conditions can be improved through collective agreements not only for employees, but also for those self-employed workers who need protection.

2. Belgium - Government support for fired Swissport employees

The 1,500 workers who lost their jobs after the bankruptcy of Swissport will benefit from free training and outplacement measures. This measure was an initiative of the ‘curators’ (liquidators) handling the bankruptcy. The support will be carried out by the employment services of Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia.

3. Luxembourg - Trade union demands more rights for unemployed youth

The youth department of the national trade union confederation OGBL demands an expansion of support for unemployed youth. Now that youth unemployment has reached 25%, young trade unionists are asking for the restoration of a universal right to unemployment benefits, regardless of age. They also demand that only companies hiring young people on permanent contracts be supported.

4. Netherlands - Pension agreement

The government, unions and employers have reached a definitive agreement about a new pension system. In the new system, the level of pensions will not be based on coverage ratios and official interest rates, but will instead depend on stock exchange developments. The state pension age will rise less quickly than originally planned, and there will be an early retirement option, aimed at people doing hard physical work. The reforms aim to spread the burden of paying for pensions more fairly across the generations. The unions will discuss the agreements with their members.

5. Spain - Employment grows for the first time during the corona crisis

Spain’s temporary layoff scheme, known as ERTE, is shoring up the labour market during the corona crisis, new figures show. Employment grew in May, as measured by new social security registrations, which rose by an average of 97,462 new contributors and a total of €18.5 million. ERTE is preventing the kind of debacle experienced during the last two weeks of March, when around 900,000 people lost their jobs in the wake of the lockdown introduced by the government on March 14. Although 450,000 furloughed workers have gone back to their jobs, there are still nearly three million people on ERTEs across Spain.