EU: rising inflation creates tensions for sectoral collective bargaining

Eurofound has published a new analysis of the adaptation of sectoral collective bargaining to inflation which was carried out for four sectors. After a long period of price stability, inflation has made a remarkable comeback in the EU. While nominal wages picked up in 2021 and 2022, real wage growth has remained below inflation, affecting mainly low-income groups. Many collective bargaining rounds have barely been able to keep up with the rapid increase in prices in 2022. Consequently, trade unions’ demands for compensation and pay increases in collectively agreed wages put pressure on some sectors. With wages not keeping up with inflation rates, tensions may resurface in social dialogue and collective bargaining over the coming years.  

Malta: new sectoral agreement for nurses and midwives

Over 4,000 workers in the public health sector will be getting better wages and conditions following a new sectoral agreement for nurses and midwives. According to the President of the Malta Union of Midwives and Nurses, this agreement will be motivating for nurses and midwives. He said that everyone is aware of the shortage of nurses worldwide, but that here in Malta the problem was recognised and they worked together to encourage people to enter the profession while also incentivising those currently in the field to remain.  

Netherlands: new agreements for primary and secondary education

Trade unions and the employers in primary and secondary education, reached a bargaining result for a new collective agreement for secondary education and a new collective agreement for primary education. As a result, the announced strike on 5 October was cancelled. The agreements on wages are the same for both collective agreements: all wages will structurally increase by 10% retroactively from 1 July 2023. A one-off payment has also been agreed for November 2023: €1,000 for the lower pay scales and €350 for the highest pay scales. 

Serbia: minimum wage to rise by 17.8% on 1 January 2024

The government plans to increase the monthly minimum wage by 17.8% from 40,000 RSD (€341) to 47,154 RSD (€402) on 1 January 2024. The hourly minimum wage will increase from 230 RSD (€1.96) to 271 RSD (€ 2.31). 

Spain: three-year agreement for public sector workers

According to a three-year agreement covering the public sector, workers are set to receive two additional pay increases of 0.5% on top of the 2.5% guaranteed for 2023. The additional amounts, backdated to the beginning of the year, depend on the level of inflation and GDP growth with figures for both likely to trigger the additional payments. The unions FSC-CC.OO and UGT-SP are positive also about the 2% increase due in 2024 which guarantees an increase for public sector workers. 

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