Austria: New collective agreement in the electricity sector
The trade union GPA has negotiated a new collective agreement in the electricity sector which delivers pay increases of 8.6%-9.6% along with increases in allowances of between 8.6% and 9.3%. Another result of the negotiations is a declaration of the social partners for a prevention concept to protect employees and to evaluate the working, remuneration and employment conditions of comparable employees.
Bulgaria: Minimum wage set at 50% of average wage
Parliament adopted a final decision to set the monthly minimum wage at 50% of national average as of 1 January next year. The new minimum wage for 2024, will be determined by 1 September 2023 taking into account the average salary in the second half of 2022 and the first half of this year. The monthly minimum wage will increase by about 100 levs (€51.13 euro). In December, Bulgaria's interim government raised the gross monthly minimum wage by 9.9% to 780 levs (€398) as of 1 January.
Estonia: Collective agreement for seamen
Mini-cruises and passenger travel company Tallink and the Seamen's Independent Union finalized the details of a four-year collective agreement that will raise wages by at least 13%. The state-owned company and the union started negotiations following a warning strike last month. The union initially fought for a 17.5% increase for service personnel and 22.5% rise for technical personnel. It settled for a 13.5% increase for service personnel and a 16.1% rise for technical personnel.
Finland: New collective agreement for port operators
A collective agreement on the terms and conditions of employment for stevedores was reached. The Transport Workers’ Union (AKT) and the Port Operators’ Association each approved the agreement, enabling the port workers to return to work. The breakthrough in the negotiations signals the end of a strike that had effectively suspended the loading and unloading of cargo ships at ports across Finland since 15 February. Over the 25-month duration of the agreement, pay increases will add up to 6.3%.
Romania: Relaunch of social dialogue
A new law on social dialogue has recently been adopted which brings four significant reforms: the obligation to perform collective bargaining at both the company (if it has at least 10 employees) and at the sectoral level; the possibility to perform collective bargaining at the national level; new obligations for employers to inform and consult employee / trade union representatives; extension of the range of cases triggering collective labour disputes. In addition, unlike the previous regulation, which was strongly criticised by trade unions, the new law on social dialogue gives trade unions greater powers and establishes an easier procedure for setting up and representing employees.
UK: Biggest strike in 12 years’ time
Half a million people stopped work over pay on 1 February leaving transport networks paralysed and thousands of classrooms empty in the largest walkout in over a decade. As Europe battles a cost-of-living crisis, the Trades Union Congress (TUC) called it the “biggest day of strike action since 2011”. Unions have accused the Prime Minister of being out of touch with the challenges faced by ordinary working people struggling to make ends meet in the face of low-paid, insecure work and spiralling costs. Teachers and train drivers were among the latest groups to act, as well as Border Force staff at UK air and seaports. The NEU teaching union estimated 85% of schools in England and Wales had been hit by walkouts, adding that this indicated the “level of anger” in the profession.
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