The statistical office ISTAT published 2017 data on households’ income. The national agency said that, while disposable gross income increased 1.6% in nominal terms, this translated into an increase of just 0.5% in terms of purchase power - down from 1.2% in 2016 and 1.3% in 2015. Consumer spending increased by 2.6%, causing a drop of 0.9 of a point of the propensity to save to 7.7%. In a summary of the 2018 report, with data on 2017, it is noted that income inequality and absolute poverty have increased. The latter, according to preliminary estimates in 2017, affects 6.9% of households and 8.3% of residents (from 6.3% and 7.9% in 2016, respectively), almost 1.8 million households and 5 million individuals in absolute terms.[close]
A delegation of trade unionists and workers, dismissed from Yves Rocher’s Flormar factory, visited the ILO in Geneva and the company headquarter in Paris. The delegation demonstrated outside a Yves Rocher store in central Geneva, where they were joined by representatives of global and local unions, NGOs and Turkish opposition political parties. After the demonstration, a meeting was held at the ILO to highlight the violation of Convention 87 on the right to freedom of association. The next day, the delegation travelled to the company office in Paris, where they were joined for a demonstration. A petition got massive support.[close]
The operator of the maritime port stated that it will employ 307 workers that are currently sourced out through subcontractors, plus an additional 350 agency workers. This agency workers will also fall under the collective bargaining agreement. The adjustments in hiring will increase labour costs by about 9 million euros a year. The crane operators union was involved in the process of coming to the hiring policy and states that this result is the best approximation of a normal relationship between an employee and employer.
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The ILO presents one of the first comparative studies of working conditions on five major micro-task platforms that operate globally. Micro-task platforms are a type of web-based labour platform that provide businesses and other clients with access to a large, flexible workforce for the completion of mostly clerical tasks, that can be completed remotely using a computer with internet connection. The study is based on an ILO survey covering 3,500 workers in 75 countries around the world and other qualitative surveys and analyses the working conditions on these micro-task platforms, including pay rates, work availability and intensity, social protection coverage and work–life balance. One of the major findings of the study is that micro-task platforms are in no way regulated by any government, compensation for this type of platform work is often lower than minimum wages, workers must manage unpredictable income streams and they work without the standard labour protections of an employment relationship.[close]
The metalworkers unions started negotiations on a new collective agreement demanding a 5% pay increase, or at least 100 euro a month more in wages. On 20 September, they handed over their demands that are based on the steady growth of productivity and other very positive results in recent years. Another point of concern is the much criticized 12-hour working that was introduced by the government. The metalworkers unions want to make sure that workers cannot be forced to work twelve-hour a day, so they demand higher overtime pay than before and a 100% bonus if metalworkers have to work for more than 10 hours a day.[close]
Trade union IG BCE concluded a collective agreement for the chemical sector. According to the union, the overall package implies an improvement of working conditions and pay with 4.6%. The agreement brings the 580,000 workers in the sector a 3.6% pay increase, an on-off payment of 280 euro, a doubling of the holiday pay (to 1200 euro for full-timers and 1320 euro for full-time shift workers) and a roadmap that aims to improve the qualification and organisation of working time. The conditions for trainees are improved.
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A second meeting of the LCGB and the OGBL trade unions before the National Conciliation Office (ONC) as part of the bargaining for the renewal of the collective agreement in construction took place on 19 September 2018. The unions stated that the employers took a step back by returning to their demand for an extension of the flexibility in the building sector and the claim of an increase in the maximum weekly working time.
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The parliament voted to speed up a process to increase the minimum wage next year - a pledge heralded by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in late August. The amendment outlines a timeline for consultations between the government, employers and trade unions on what the increase will be, which will be completed by the end of the year. The new minimum wage will come into force in January 2019.
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The coalition government, employers and trade union leaders have jointly approved the priorities outlined in the government’s draft budget for 2019. The Finance Ministry proposed a state budget with a 40 billion crown deficit, that envisages a substantial improvement of public sector wages, higher pensions and more money for investments. The government aims to scrap 1300 jobs in public administration. However, the Confederation of Industry of the Czech Republic and the Czech Chamber of Commerce criticized the fact that wage increases to public servants will be higher than to those working in the private sector.[close]
Employees of the social care centres have organised a hunger strike for eight hours in a protest against poor pay. The problem of low wages in social care centres has not been resolved for years, according to the trade unions of government agencies, local authorities, companies and financial workers. Informal carers in social care centres are still working on a minimum wage. Work is physically and morally very difficult, and in recent years the responsible ministry has done virtually nothing to improve the income situation.
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