EU: New recommendation to strengthen EU social dialogue
The European Commission presented a proposal for a recommendation comprising a series of measures to encourage the EU Member States to strengthen social dialogue at national level. The EU Commission also published a communication listing future initiatives to reinforce and promote European social dialogue, while employers continue to block several of them. The initiative empowers social dialogue to adapt to the changing world of work and new trends on the labour market, against the backdrop of the transitions to a digital and climate-neutral economy and the emergence of new forms of employment. The negotiations between organisations representing employers and workers (social partners) through social dialogue and collective bargaining help improve living and working conditions, such as pay, hours of work, annual leave, parental leave, training, and health and safety measures.
France: New nationwide strike against pension reform
Electricity output dropped and petrol product deliveries from TotalEnergies' sites stopped as workers walked off their jobs in protest at planned pension reforms. The strike, which is a backlash against the government's plans to make people work longer before retirement, also disrupted public transport and schools. Unions want to keep up pressure on the government following protests earlier this month. The CGT has called for a new round of strikes at state-owned electricity utility EDF, adding to a previous call for industrial action on those dates for the refining sector.
Germany: Collective agreement for temporary workers
In the third round of negotiations, trade unions and employers’ associations reached an agreement for the approximately 816,000 temporary workers. In negotiations with the employers’ associations iGZ and BAP, the union confederation DGB agreed on an increase in pay groups 3 to 9, which will apply in two stages from 1 April 2023 and 1 January 2024. Overall, the wages in wage groups 3 and 4 will increase in two steps by 13.07% by 31 March 2024. In wage group 9, the increase is 9.18%. The new collective agreement has a term of 12 months and will run until 31 March 2024.
Lithuania: New collective agreement for road maintenance workers
The collective agreement of AB 'Kelia bereža' was extended on 17 January by the management and the chairman of the Road Maintenance Union 'Solidarumas'. Employees will be paid 15% for substitutions exceeding a continuous period of 10 working days. When passively on duty at home, the employee will be paid not less than 20% of the average monthly salary for each week of being on duty away from the workplace. As road maintenance work in traffic is dangerous, a material benefit of € 1,000 will be granted from now on under certain conditions.
United Kingdom: Unions mobilise against anti-strike law
The trade union movement has been angered by the government’s draft legislation to impose minimum service levels on public service strikers. The government claims it is bringing the UK into line with other countries. The UK legislation, if passed, would not ensure that trade unions can negotiate minimum service levels and would allow employers to dismiss workers who failed to comply with the requirement to work. Meanwhile, strikes across the public services continue with further action by the RCN nursing union and action planned by ambulance staff represented by UNISON, GMB and Unite.