Great Britain: Morrisons supermarket chain held liable for a data breach carried out by a disgruntled former employee
In a decision that has UK companies up in arms, on 22 October the UK’s High Court (court of appeal) and notably in a first, ruled that an employer, in this case the Morrisons supermarket chain, was vicariously liable for the data leak that was committed in 2014 by a disgruntled former employee, which saw the personal details of some 100,000 employees being made publicly available and that the supermarket will have to pay millions of pounds in compensation to the victims of the data breach. The nation’s fourth largest chain has already stated it will be challenging
CSR: using blockchain technology to combat forced labor
Blockchain technology enables several sectors to access a single register that is decentralized, transparent, and by its construction, really tough to hack. In both the US and Europe, companies, NGOs, and public authorities are starting to conceive of ways to apply blockchain technology in the corporate CSR domain. A pilot project led by soft drinks producer Coca-Cola, the US State Department, and Blockchain experts (Blockchain Trust Accelerator, Bitfury Group et Emercoin) is seeking to deploy blockchain technology in the combat against forced labor occurring
Carrefour: global framework agreement renewed
On 03 October the French multinational retailer renewed its 2015 global framework agreement struck with Uni Global Union. In this agreement that both Carrefour CEO Alexandre Bompard, and the secretary general of the international union federation Christy Hoffman signed, the parties commit to promoting a common shared declaration formulated by the European works council on violence towards women.
Airbus SE uses European and international social dialogue as a transformation lever
Airbus group intends to put an international social dialogue forum in place, the Airbus Global Forum, in order to ‘strengthen a feeling of belonging across the Airbus entities’ and as a ‘lever for change and transformation’. At the same time Airbus has finalized the overhaul of its European Works Council agreement, which strengthens both information flow on strategic issues and dialogue with the higher management echelons.
BNP Paribas: global agreement on fundamental rights and social floor penned with Uni Global Union
On 18 September, the French banking group signed, along with global service sector union Uni Global Union, its first global deal. In addition to reaffirming its commitments on human rights in the workplace, equality, diversity, and the fight against sexual and psychological harassment, the deal establishes a social protection floor for all the group’s employees across the world.
An ETUC study on what workers think about the impact of digital transformation
“The survey clearly shows that union organizations and workers representatives at company level are fully aware of the challenges arising from digitalization and they are demanding a say in how digital transformation processes are being developed and managed,” the ETUC concluded. Significant regional disparities however do currently exist.
European social partners in the chemicals, pharmaceuticals, rubber and plastics sector launch an online survey on workplace digital transformation
Aimed at the representatives of business leaders, trade unions and employees who are working on Digitalization, HR, and Health and Safety issues, this survey project should enable the European Social partners – the ECEG and IndustriALL Europe – to collect and analyse the perspectives of those working directly with digital transformation and its impact on the workplace.
Germany: government adopts the ‘Pensions Pact’ that will run until 2025
Termed the ‘Pensions Pact’, this reform that is set to come into force on 01 January 2019 will stabilize the level of legal pension payments at 48% of net income and that of old-age insurance contributions at 20% of gross income until 2025. In addition, the governing parties agreed to lower the unemployment contribution rate by more than expected and it will fall by 0.5% from 01 January 2019.
Italy: ‘Dignity decree law’ has been definitively adopted
On 09 August Italy’s parliament definitively ratified Prime Minister Conte’s government’s decree law that aims to curb precarious employment by rowing back on some of the Jobs Act’s key measures. The new text tightens regulations covering fixed term employment contracts and interim employment contracts, augments unfair dismissal compensation payments, and sanctions companies that outsource after having received state aid.
Austria: the new ’12 hour’ law comes into force on 01 September 2018
Maximum working time in Austria’s economy will be 12 hours per day and 60 hours per week. Employee representation bodies did not really have an opportunity to voice their opinion, however employees will be able to refuse these new arrangements, albeit ‘at their peril, believes the Austrian Trade Union Federation (ÖGB).
Esprit: global framework agreement is signed that promotes human rights in the supply chain
On 06 August in a joint press statement, global union federation IndustriALL Global Union and the clothing brand’s European subsidiary announced the signing of a global agreement covering 525,000 workers at more than 1,100 suppliers in 27 countries.
EU: Council reaches compromise on draft directive for employment contracts
The Council of the European Union has struck an agreement in principle over a proposed directive on “transparent and predictable working conditions”, which aims first and foremost to lay the ground for minimum protection of workers in new forms of employment. Exchanges between ministers indicated that there is unanimous support of the objectives of the draft directive, however an agreement was made easier by the fact that, under the compromise reached, member states would be able to set the scope of its application and decide which workers would benefit
ILO: a step closer to an international convention on workplace violence and harassment
After two weeks of negotiations, which took place between 28 May and 8 June in Geneva, state representatives, employers and trade unions decided to continue discussions with a view to adopting a convention and a recommendation on the issue of harassment and violence in the workplace at the next International Labour Conference, in June next year.
Germany: towards further flexibility over working time
The metals industry, Deutsche Post, Deutsche Telekom, Deutsche Bahn: an increasing number of sectors and companies are arming themselves with flexible working time models that enable employees to choose between higher pay or more free time. Thirty-four years after the historic dispute that triggered a 35-hour working week in the metals sector, the theme of working time has come right back to the forefront in Germany’s companies and is developing fast.
European Commission proposes law to strengthen whistleblower protection
The proposal aims to offer protection to whistleblowers who report breaches of European Union law. It obliges companies to implement safe channels for reporting regulatory breaches, illegal practices and other abuses, and will also protect whistleblowers against dismissal, demotion and other forms of retaliation.
The European Commission makes proposals for a European Labor Authority
On 13 March, the Commission presented a legislative proposal detailing the tasks and resources for this new body that aims to develop worker, trainee and apprentice mobility, provide operational and technical support to national bodies in order to ensure mobility related rules are upheld, and provide a mediation service in cases of cross-border disputes, especially in situations of company restructuring. If the EU Parliament and the EU Member States support the proposal the new ELA could become operational in 2019.