The gross minimum wage will increase by 31%, to RON 1,900 (413 euro), from 1 January 2018. The gross minimum wage currently amounts to RON 1,450 (315 euro). The net minimum salary will only increase by 4.3% or less than RON 50, as most of the social contributions that are currently being paid by employers will be transferred to employees starting 1 January 2018. However, most workers are afraid that their net salaries will even drop once the announced change according to which the whole social contributions will be transferred to employees will come into force. The announced social contributions transfer has triggered protests, with the biggest ones being staged by the employees from the public health, police, and transport departments. However, the government said it would move on with the tax change.[close]
The turbulence at Ryanair continues. The company’s Stansted pilots voted to reject a pay deal offered by the management in a 60% to 40% majority. A pay and pension boost of up to £24,000 (€27,000) each had been on offer from management - but only if pilots continued to negotiate with the airline directly. It is believed a number of other bases have also rejected the improved terms and conditions. The European Employee Representative Committee, which is not recognised by Ryanair management, also threatened industrial action and made a pay demand for pilots which is close to twice what the airline has offered. Moreover, the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA) that represents over 10,000 pilots in the UK launched a survey among Ryanair pilots in response to what it says is growing dissatisfaction with the company.[close]
Doctors around the country have been protesting. They demand better working conditions, shorter hospital waiting lists and less red tape. The doctors are seeking an immediate pay rise to 105 percent of the national average monthly wage of 4,600 zloty (€1,010) gross each month. The strikers have the public's support, according to a survey, which said 63 percent of respondents backed the doctors' initiative. The dispute started on October 2 when a group of 20 resident doctors started a hunger strike in the foyer of a Warsaw paediatric hospital. This was later repeated in other big cities. Last year, the government spent 4.4% of the country's GDP on health services. That puts it among some of the lowest-spending countries, according to the intergovernmental economic organisation OECD - just above Turkey (3.4%) and Latvia (3.2%).[close]
The parliament has, in its first reading, accepted the budget framework with the main priorities for the period 2018-2020. In the budget the government announces among others efforts to reduce inequality and an increase of the minimum wage. The legislation also deals with budget surplus amounts, fiscal reserves, the proportions of personal income tax revenue going to the state and municipal budgets, and others.
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The coordinator of the civil servant unions (Frente Comum) said that all indicators pointed towards a large turnout for the strike organised on 27 October 2017. There have been hundreds or thousands of plenary meetings and workers on the public sector are complaining out a lack of response to their demands such as higher wages, the immediate unfreezing of promotions and a 35-hour week for all workers. The public services most affected were healthcare, education and social security.
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Workers at a plant in Herstal of weapon producer FN and Browning International have walked out in recent weeks for better working conditions and pay. Workers pushed for a return of the management to the negotiation table. Their demand is a better pay offer than the 1.1% that was settled in the sectoral agreement.[close]
Negotiations between the federal government and the trade unions in the public sector have led to a memorandum with general principles. Workers that have carried out arduous and hard work for at least 5 years will have the opportunity to retire at the age of 60 years. Those that continue their career receive in return higher pension benefits. The conditional criteria that are taken into account are: inconvenient working time (night and shift work), hard physical work (lifting), psychological and emotional pressure, and high safety and health risks. The government is working on a draft act that will implement the formulated principles. Earlier on, similar negotiations in the private sector ended in a dead-end street. The government is reflecting a proposal for the public sector.[close]
The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions (CITUB) is campaigning for higher incomes and the protection of fundamental workers’ rights. CITUB’s main demands are higher wages (an additional BGN 100 – 50 euro – to the monthly salary of every worker), decent pay for overtime and improvement of the rights of the workers. The union insists on a salary of at least BGN 700 for youngsters who graduated university, and who work in their specialty. The ultimate goal is a level of salaries closer to the average European level, a minimum wage that guarantees a normal living, normal payment of overtime and night work, a fair distribution of the burden between labour and capital and between rich and poor, enhanced enforcement of social and labour law, especially in the area of safety and health at work, working time, wages and social security, and a guaranteed access of every citizen to quality education and health care.[close]
In an interesting Blog, the chief economist of the trade union confederation SGB/USS analyses the impact of outsourcing on the wage formation and on direct employment. Although, for instance, the employment data for cleaning services are increasing rapidly, this is not translated into direct labour. If workers were directly employed, instead of engaged under outsourced conditions, their payment would be substantially better. The author refers also to a study that was published in 2016.[close]
The collective agreement that the trade unions settled with the retailer Coop leads to some interesting new provisions. Notably in the area of the promotion of a good work-life balance the improvements are important: maternity leave increase to 16 weeks paid leave, parental leave for fathers increases from 1 to 3 weeks, and additional child care provisions are introduced. The minimum wage varies from a basic 3900 Swiss Francs (3355 euro) to 4100 Swiss Francs (3527 euro) for skilled workers that have followed three years of vocational training.[close]