Tuesday, October 20, 2015

The sharpest declines (by an average of 21 per cent) were seen in countries hardest hit by the crisis, such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal and Romania.

With the excuse of the global financial crisis, collective bargaining all around the world is on decline, according to data provided by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) on October 19.

According to figures from a new ILO database on industrial relations, which includes indicators on trade union density and collective bargaining coverage in 75 countries, the world financial crisis was the reason behind putting collective bargaining under pressure.

ILO stressed that collective bargaining coverage varies significantly between countries, from just about 1 or 2 per cent in Ethiopia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Peru to nearly 100 per cent in France, Belgium, Austria and Uruguay.

When analyzing the impact of the global financial crisis on collective bargaining, the brief looks at a sample of 48 countries and shows that, on average, there was a 4.6 per cent drop in collective bargaining coverage between 2008 and 2013, compared with an average decline in union density for the same group of countries of 2.3 per cent.

In countries in which coverage declined, this was mainly due to the cessation of national general agreements, a roll-back in policy support for multi-employer bargaining and policy induced decentralization. The sharpest declines (by an average of 21 per cent) were seen in countries hardest hit by the crisis, such as Cyprus, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Portugal and Romania.

But while many countries experienced a decrease in coverage, there were ten countries that advanced in the opposite direction and extended coverage. This was the case for example in Finland, where the social partners signed a national general agreement, and the Netherlands, where collective bargaining expanded and collective agreements were extended in new sectors.

Then there is a small group of countries (France, Italy, Canada, Austria and Belgium) where bargaining coverage remained stable. These are countries where collective bargaining was a key element of the crisis response, including through the negotiation of “job saving agreements”.

“Collective bargaining can play a key role in translating growth into social progress” says Philippe Marcadent, Chief of the ILO’s Conditions of Work and Employment Branch.

“Governments should be at the forefront of promoting collective bargaining and the use of social dialogue as the means to that end. This includes guaranteeing an enabling legal framework that recognizes, promotes and upholds the rights of unions and employers’ organizations to have their voices heard, as well as specific measures to promote collective bargaining.”

ILO launches campaign to stop slavery

In an effort to abolish modern day slavery the ILO also launched a campaign to pressure governments to accept an ILO protocol which end slavery. ILO stresses that slavery still exists today in many different forms. Human trafficking, bonded labour and forced domestic work are just a few examples.

ILO stresses that in today’s supposed “modern” world there are more people in slavery than at any other time in history. There are over 21 million children, women and men living in modern slavery, three out of every 1,000 people worldwide.

In addition, there are over 1.5 million people working in slavery-like conditions in Europe, North America, Japan and Australia.

Most of the people in slavery work in industries such as agriculture, fishing construction, manufacturing, mining, utilities and domestic work. Around one in five are victims of sexual exploitation.

The international organisation stressed that annual profits per victim of forced labour are far, far higher in developed economies and the European Union than they are anywhere else in the world.


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