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ISSUE 65 page 4

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Iceland to shut door on EU as support increases

FOLLOWING ITS ELECTION IN APRIL the Icelandic government took a turn to the right which has resulted in the abandonment of its negotiations to join the EU. After the severe financial crash which the country experienced in 2008 a new left-of-centre government, supported by trade unions, agreed to open talks on joining. However support for this decreased as the economy improved and resentments over fishing quotas and the pursuance of U.K. and Dutch deposits in the country’s banks festered. Both the protection of Iceland’s mackerel industry against the EU’s belief that it was over-fishing, and the need for continued capital controls for its damaged economy, delayed accession which was originally thought possible to complete within a year. The new Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson has promised a referendum on EU membership within four years although pro-EU sentiment now seems to be growing again and is up 10% since the election.

Determination pays off with Turkish union win

Swiss reject 1:12 initiative but more in the pipeline

THE TWENTY-MONTH dispute at Turkish Airlines (see our last issue) has come to a conclusion and the news is good for the 305 workers who were sacked for taking action in May 2012 to protest against legislation banning strikes in the aviation industry: they will all be re-instated.  A campaign by the Hava-Is union backed by the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) has also secured a collective agreement which runs for three years and a pledge not to hire any more part-time cabin crew and to upgrade existing part-timers to full-time jobs. ITF civil aviation section secretary Gabriel Mocho commented ‘It’s a fantastic outcome that we hope will help the Turkish government to repair its tarnished reputation’


Hava-Is members protest against Turkish Airways

A REFERENDUM IN SWITZERLAND (see our last issue) has rejected the proposal to limit top managers’ pay to twelve times that of the lowest wage in the same company. 65.3% of voters were against the plan which the government and business leaders argued would restrict foreign investment as executive salaries would be the lowest in the World. However anger at top pay and bonuses remains and the Swiss trade union federation has put forward a measure that would introduce a minimum wage of 22 Swiss francs an hour (about £14.82) or 4,000 Swiss francs per month. Sectors such as retail sales, restaurants and personal services account for most of the jobs which are paid at a rate below this. Additionally the Minder initiative (see last issue) which was passed by referendum is currently being implemented by parliament. Regulations which would allow companies to pay signing-on fees to top executives and to employ them as consultants when they leave are seen as a watering-down of Thomas Minder’s original aim of cutting back on bonuses.


The 1:12 referendum was lost

Latvian unions aim to involve young people

FALLING MEMBERSHIP AMONG YOUNG people is a concern for trade unions around Europe but the Latvian confederation (LBAS) believes it has a particular problem as only one in ten of its members are under 35. Now the Youth Council is doing something about it. As well as continuing to organise summer camps and participating in youth fora attended by members from all the Baltic states, in 2012 it organised a campaign for decent work while a delegation submitted proposals for job creation for youngsters to the speaker of parliament. This year it hosted a discussion on youth unemployment attended by government officials, colleges and employers. Finally young people from 40 organisations including 10 unions demonstrated outside the Cabinet Office to complain about long hours, low wages, unsafe working conditions and lack of payment of tax and social contributions by employers. Students from the sports academy put on a mass physical exercise to draw a parallel between a healthy lifestyle and healthy employment. On the cyber front a recruitment video including young Latvians giving their reasons to join a trade union has been added to the youth council web page and social networks.


‘Allow the union to defend you

from the boss’ says LBAS


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