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BEERG Newsletter - Collective Bargaining: An Update

In the UK, telecoms firm BT has agreed a pay deal with union negotiators that will see workers who earn £50,000 or less get a £1,500 pay rise next year. The agreement, which BT says will benefit 85% of its UK workforce, could lead to the end of strike action at the company. The pay rises cover all frontline staff, and 51% of managers in the UK. It also includes Openreach workers. Both the Communication Workers' Union and Prospect will ballot their members and recommend backing the deal. As the Financial Times notes:

Staff at BT are among millions of private and public sector workers who have withheld their labour in anger at real-term pay cuts amid soaring inflation and a cost of living crisis.

The RMT has repeatedly brought British railways to a near standstill this year, while postal workers have staged 10 days of strike action since July, with several more planned ahead of Christmas. Nurses across the NHS will strike in the run-up to Christmas, while 70,000 university lecturers, and teachers across schools in Scotland, staged walkouts this month, and the government could face the possibility of further waves led by junior doctors, midwives and civil servants.

In Belgium, one of the last countries to have automatic wage indexation where salaries rise in line with inflation, the government has decided that there is no margin for additional pay increases over indexation over the next two years. The margin is zero. However, companies that are doing exceptional well may offer tax-free bonuses of between €500 and €750. The conditions under which these bonuses may be offered have been referred to the social partners – the main employer and union bodies – to negotiate.

The IUS Laboris network has published a very useful interactive guide on what employers are doing to help employees with cost-of-living issues, as inflation hits levels unknown for many years. 

The link is HERE.


Published on: November 30, 2022

Authors: Tom Hayes

Topics: Employee Relations, The UK and European Union

Tom Hayes

Director of European Union and Global Labor Affairs, HR Policy Association

Detailed Bio

Contact Tom Hayes LinkedIn

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