Germany: the German economy is adapting its professions to meet the digital age
Following the publication of the Green and White Papers on the topic, which places employee training at the center of the process, the political parties, by now all in full election mode, are putting forward a proposal for State-funded continuous training and the establishment of national bodies to manage the transition process towards digitalization, as well as ‘lifelong learning’. Other processes have also been launched including an overhaul of apprenticeship and continuous training courses, set to start in the summer of 2018.
Italy: permanent employment contracts stalling as Jobs Act related fiscal incentives come to an end
Labor market reforms (Jobs Act), which lowered the social charges that were put in place by the Renzi government to encourage permanent employment contract hiring, came to an end at the start of 2017. Since then the rate of permanent employment hiring has slowled markedly whilst temporary employment contracts have increased instead.
EU: EU Commission seeks to shape globalization
On 10 May the European Commission published a reflection document entitled, ‘Harnessing Globalisation’ affirming that solutions do not lie in national protectionism or in isolationism, or indeed in laissez-faire. For the EU Commission, solutions lie in Europe’s capacity to speak with one voice during multilateral talks, to strengthen global governance, and to promote faire trade thus ‘shaping’ globalization so that it reflects Europe’s values.
EU: the Commission launches a new directive on parental leave as well as a debate on the rights of non-standard workers
The social partners are consulted over the directive on employment contract information and the second over access to social protection. Both consultation issues have formed part of the discussion over new forms of employment and over minimum protection levels for workers on the fringes of salaried employment
EU : Tomorrow’s Social Europe undergoing a thorough debate
The EU social package of 26 April is turned unremittingly towards the future. The European Commission is effectively proposing a European Pillar of social rights with a view to encouraging upwards convergence. The EU Commission is also proposing a reflection document on the Social Dimension of Europe by 2025.
France: company referendum to renew social dialogue?
France’s Labor Law adopted in August 2016 comprehensively changes the rules of company negotiation. The law intends for the widespread usage of majority agreements, whilst still allowing for minority agreements if validated by a referendum. Two companies have followed the minority/referendum route with contrasting results. Is the company referendum going to become an unavoidable stepping-stone in the negotiation process?
EU: companies can ban religious clothing and symbols at work under certain circumstances
The Luxembourg judges recognized that companies can adopt a neutral workplace policy as regards political, philosophy and religion belief that results in banning headscarves. However the judges also recognized that a customer request not to professionally engage with an employee wearing a headscarf does not justify banning employees from wearing what are religiously significant headscarves.
PSA Group: renewal of its global CSR agreement
On 07 March the French carmaker together with the union federations IndustriAll Global and industriAll European Trade Union signed a new global CSR agreement and with it the PSA Group has crossed a new threshold in so far as it includes stronger commitments for value chains and intends for the implementation of a risk prevention due diligence plan. Furthermore it strongly focuses on developing competences and to this end relies on the rollout of its international HR policy. Finally, the company is adopting a ‘co-construction’ approach alongside employee
Solvay: global agreement signed on social protection floor for all employees
On the evening of 22 February, Belgian chemicals company Solvay signed an agreement with its global forum for social dialogue that puts in place a social protection floor, dubbed Solvay Cares, for all its employees in the 55 countries in which it operates.
Germany: Martin Schulz, SPD candidate for chancellor, hopes to “correct” Schröder reforms
Social-democrat candidate acknowledged that his party, the SPD, had made “mistakes”, which he intends to “correct” if he emerges victorious from September’s federal elections. The rival to Angela Merkel would, in particular, like to extend the period of time during which unemployment benefits can be paid out – dealing with one of the most controversial measures of Agenda 2010. He has also proposed preventing employers from offering temporary contracts without good reason and hopes to maintain the level of retirement pay.
EU: the EU Commission finalizes its project for a European Pillar of Social Rights
With the public consultation process having been completed in December 2016, the EU Commission can now finalize its White Paper for a European Pillar of Social Rights due to be published in March 2017. On 23 January the EU Commission organized a high-level conference during which it outlined some of the broad thrusts of this initiative that seeks to reposition and elevate social priorities within the European project as well as driving social convergence upwards.
Great Britain: Theresa May worries unions and employers by saying goodbye to the European single market
Theresa May’s shock announcement that the UK would be leaving the EU single market has raised significant worries and doubts for both unions and employers in spite of the fact that the PM’s much awaited Brexit speech was geared to reassuring doubts over the social consequences by notably maintaining workers’ previously acquired rights as well as protection for European workers in the UK. Theresa May also announced strict immigration controls.
Germany: the DGB wants social justice at the heart of the electoral campaign
At the start of what is to be an electoral year in Germany, punctuated initially by regional elections in Saarland, Schleswig Holstein, and North Rhine-Westphalia, and later in September by the Federal legislative elections, the Confederation of German Trade Unions (DGB) used its annual press conference on 16 January to call on the political parties to lead a completely new and resolute policy focused on reducing social inequality, in a bid to halt the growing success of populist parties and to preserve Europe’s future. The confederation also called on the
Belgium: social partners secure a draft cross-industry agreement for the period 2017-2018
On the evening of 11/12 January Belgium’s social partners secured agreement over a draft cross-industry agreement (AIP) that sets a 1.1% wage margin for the next two years. Further negotiations are expected over digitalisation, but-out and youth employment.
BNP Paribas: European agreement on the prevention of work-related stress is signed
In a press release on 10 January, French banking group, BNP Paribas announced that a European agreement on the prevention of work-related stress had been signed with two European federations, the FECEC (European Federation of Credit Establishment Managerial Staff) and UNI Europa (European Trade Union Federation for Services and Communication), and with members of the European Works Council committee.
Brazil: Michel Temer presents labour law reform
In the week of Christmas, Brazilian president Michel Temer presented the final draft of his reform to the country’s labour law. The draft – which is portrayed as being inspired by European standards – aims to make working time more flexible, allowing adaptation of working hours and other aspects of working conditions to take place as part of company-level negotiations. The reform will also give collective agreements primacy over law.