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ISSUE 76 page 4

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Danish unions cut deal to help refugees find work
TRIPARTITE TALKS IN DENMARK have led to a deal between government, trade unions and business designed to speed up the integration of refugees into society by boosting training places for young people and providing a new programme of in-company training and language teaching. The president of LO, the main union federation, was pleased that the agreement was reached as part of the usual process of collective bargaining and the three-way national discussions. ‘With the first tripartite agreement on labour market integration of refugees, we have shown that the social partners are able to tackle major challenges facing our society’ commented Lizette Risgaard. The text of the agreement states that, although some refugees with good qualifications and language skills can find a good job and quickly integrate, others need occupational training and/or language courses to make the process faster. The new basic integrative training programme

Risgaard, L.

LO President Lizette Risgaard

(IGU) will be a two-year contract directly between the employer and the worker for which the company will receive a bonus. They must pay the collectively agreed wage or, where there is no agreement, the trainee rate as laid down by the Vocational Training Act. A training programme must be planned to include vocational and language skills which may consist of classroom learning up to a maximum duration of twenty weeks. This will be paid for by the local authority. Despite an anticipated skilled worker shortage the LO says that 11,000 young people are waiting for training places at the moment. ‘The trade union movement would very much like to help the government raise its level of ambition in the field of adult, continuing and supplementary training. We want to do more than just call for new analyses to be made’ says President Risgaard.

 

Slovakia added to trail of EU steel redundancies
TUs to limit job cuts as Swiss watch industry runs slow

THE STEEL INDUSTRY IN EUROPE HAS BEEN HIT by the general reduction in demand for its products and the associated dumping of below-cost price Chinese exports on the EU market. Trade unions have reacted to redundancies with demonstrations (see issue 74) and calls for higher tariffs against imported steel. In Slovakia, however, union reps. have identified another cause of continued lay-offs. At the U.S. Steel plant in Košice chairman of the OZ KOVO trade union council said that the parent American corporation was repatriating all the profit made by the Slovakian mill for dividends. ‘It’s widely known and it’s also been published on the web that the American corporation has a debt of around $1 billion’ he added. Local management had made a series of sackings of 29 people which the union believed was ‘salami slicing’ to avoid the greater liabilities which kick in when the number layed off is 30 or more. The trade unions have appealed to the Labour Inspectorate to examine whether the Collective Agreement and Labour Code were observed in the lay-offs

SlovakiaTUs

OZ KOVO representatives Ján šlauka, Jozef Balica and Mikuláš Hintoš

TO THOSE WHO ASSOCIATE SWITZERLAND WITH the financial sector, or even tax shelters, the size and strength of the watch industry might come as a surprise. Worth about 22 billion Swiss francs at its peak in 2014 business has suffered as economic growth in China has slowed down; exports to Hong Kong fell by 23% in one year. Together with the rise in the country’s currency after the government removed its cap against the euro these difficult trading conditions have led to unprecedented lay-offs at well-known companies. The largest trade union UNIA stepped in to limit the damage at Richemont, owner of the world-famous Cartier brand. Through internal re-deployment and support for voluntary leavers the union managed to reduce the sackings from a proposed 300 to 100. However Pierluigi Fedele of UNIA, admitted that job cuts included not only administrative staff, but also skilled workers who are responsible for major production work.

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