Great Britain: employers’ body overwhelmingly rejects the government’s post-Brexit immigration plan
On 19 December, and with the 100-day countdown to Brexit just underway, the UK government unveiled its much-awaited Post-Europe Immigration white paper
. Key measures in the plan include the creation of a one-year work permit for low skilled workers coming from abroad (worldwide) as well as the establishment of a minimum salary offer that aims to attract highly skilled workers to come to the UK. The plan is set to come into force on a progressive basis from 2021, i.e. at the end of the transition period, and become effective by 2025. However the vast majority of businesses
Germany: nation opens its doors to skilled workers from across the world
After 30 years of ideological debate on the need to formulate legislation on economic immigration and on whether or not to consider Germany as an ‘immigration country’, the country’s grand coalition government met in cabinet on 19 December and adopted draft legislation on skilled manpower immigration that aims to facilitate the arrival of skilled manpower entering Germany from abroad in order to meet the increasingly strident calls by business for more labor.
United Kingdom: May blows the cobwebs off the labour code, without taking action on zero-hour contracts or the gig economy
On 17 December, the UK government unveiled a package of labour reforms, which it believes are the biggest for 20 years. The government’s Good Work Plan, which is a response to the Taylor report issued in July 2017, scraps the so-called “Swedish derogation” and introduces unalterable rights for all workers from their first day of work, as well as tougher penalties for employers that do not meet their obligations.
Spain: data protection legislation recognizes workers’ right to disconnect
The organic law on personal data protection and digital rights, which transposes EU GDPR legislation into Spanish law, officially recognizes workers’ rights to privacy when using their employers’ digital provisions as well as their right to disconnect.
IndustriALL Europe members adopt a Working Time Charter
During the IndustriALL Europe quadrennial conference hosted this year in Bratislava (Slovakia) from 06 – 07 December, on the topic of collective bargaining, a working time Charter was adopted that defends the idea that digitalization spurred productivity gains should lead to a redistribution of work and to decent work.
EU: Council of Ministers arrives at a compromise position in order to tackle social dumping in the road transport sector
It wasn’t all plain sailing but on 03 December the EU Council of Ministers agreed its position on a key reform of the road transport sector that in particular addresses drivers’ working conditions, special posting rules in international transport, access to the haulage market, and improved enforcement.
UE: banking sector social partners sign a joint declaration on the impact of digitalization on employment in the sector
In this joint declaration that was signed on 30 November 2018 by UNI Europa Finance together with the banking sector employers, (the European Banking Federation Banking Committee for European Social Affairs, the European Association of Co-operative Banks and the European Savings and Retail Banking Group), the social partners outlined a shared vision of the challenges being posed by digitalization and the areas requiring their particular attention.
Germany: Bundestag definitively adopts bill to bolster continued training
In order to improve continued training for workers in Germany, the law will significantly strengthen the public support mechanisms for training in companies, while the Federal Employment Agency will cover some or all of the training and salary costs, depending on the size of the company. For workers hired for short-term projects, the law will improve their access to unemployment insurance benefits. It will also decrease contributions for unemployment insurance; these will drop from 3% to 2.5% of gross salary as of 1 January 2019.
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.