We are in this crisis together and we need to find solutions to emerge from it together.
In most European countries, short-time working arrangements, temporary or partial unemployment schemes and similar instruments have now been implemented to tackle the current COVID-19 crisis.
Many of these schemes are the outcome of negotiations and this demonstrates that strong social dialogue and strong collective bargaining produce compromises that can help bridge a temporary crisis.
IndustriAll Europe’s COVID-19 monitor contains a non-exhaustive collection of agreements that have been negotiated by our affiliates at national, sectoral and company levels. Some outcomes are highlighted below:
- In Sweden, a nation-wide agreement for white-collar workers ensures that workers receive more than 90% of their salary.
- In Belgium, the sectoral agreement in the textile sector ensures additional temporary unemployment allowance and an increase in the meal vouchers for those who continue to work.
- In Germany, the agreement in the metal and electrical industries secures employment and subsidies for short-time work allowance and agrees on paid leave for child care. In the chemical industry, the sectoral agreement ensures faster access to short-time work, an increase in the allowance, agreement on remote working and advance use of free time from “future-accounts”.
- In France, the company agreement for Thales aims at protecting workers’ health while ensuring that ‘critical/strategic’ activities can continue and that ‘non-critical’ businesses can function under some conditions.
- In Italy, the company agreement in ENEL is based on solidarity among all workers and creates a “Working Days Bank” which prevents any layoffs.
Certainly, in some countries, workers suffer considerable income losses during short-time work or temporary or partial unemployment. Protection from layoffs is not always guaranteed. However, trade unions are fighting to secure employment for all workers, to increase allowances and to improve conditions for workers through collective agreements. An overview of the differences in the implementation of short-time work across Europe can be found here.
Luc Triangle, industriAll Europe’s General Secretary:
“Trade unions across Europe are showing that collective bargaining offers solutions to the immense challenges posed by the current COVID-19 crisis. We see that in countries with strong unions and strong social partnership, tailor-made agreements are reached that ensure win-win solutions for workers and for employers who need to ensure their business survives this crisis and will continue to offer quality jobs."
"This spirit of partnership and joint responsibility will be just as critical when we are negotiating the terms of gradually and safely re-starting economic activities. We are in this crisis together and we need to find solutions to emerge from it together.”