Here are the most important developments at European and member state level from the November issue of the Collective Bargaining newsletter:

1. Finland – Trade unions are rethinking their negotiation strategy. The basic idea is for pay rises in collective agreements to be calculated on the basis of the competitiveness of the export sector, employment, productivity and the balance of the public economy.

2. Germany – An Act, which was finally approved by the Bundesrat (the Federal Council), stipulates that temporary workers may only be used for 18 months at a client company in the future (unless a collective agreement governs a longer duration of use). They should also receive the same wages as the permanent staff after nine months.

3. Italy – After more than a year of talks and several strike actions, the employer organisations Federmeccanica and Assistal concluded a draft national collective agreement with the metal workers trade unions (FIOM-CGIL, FIM-CISL and UILM-UIL). The deal covers the mechanics and metal sector and applies to some 1.6 million workers.

4. Norway – Train drivers returned to work after a four-week strike when the government agreed to joint union and employer demands for a national standard for all train drivers. A trade organisation for railway companies will be set up by law, with mandatory membership for all companies with safety certificates on the network.

5. Switzerland – In a brochure that examines the quota system for foreign seasonal workers, used by the country after the introduction in 1934, the extreme working conditions are illustrated by portraits of former seasonal workers. Precarious conditions, undeclared labour and downward pressure on pay build a tragic reality. 

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