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BEERG Newsletter - Bits and Pieces: A roundup of other HR news

Some weeks ago, we commented on how women, over the past few years, had taken the leadership of major unions in many Western countries. Now, Christiane Benner, who has been nominated by the IG Metall executive board to be the next president of the union, has written an article for Social Europe on the same theme. Well worth a read.

EurActiv reports that DG Employment in the European Commission has retained consultants to do a report on the impact of AI in the workplace. This is seen as a possible prelude to a bespoke Directive regulating the impact of AI on employment relations and human resource practices. However, there are no immediate plans for such a Directive. It will be up to the next Commission, to be appointed in late 2024, to decide on the matter. The political complexion of the new Commission, and of the incoming European Parliament, will determine whether such a law is needed or whether the AI Act, now under consideration, will suffice. The European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) is pushing for a stand-alone workplace Directive.

The price of package holidaysaccording to the ETUC, at home or abroad has increased by 12.4% across the EU between January and May and that follows an 11.5% increase last year. That is the highest increase in the cost of package holidays since records began in 1996 – before last year, the previous highest annual rise was 7.2% in 2015.

The UK TUC has said that it will fight a new “anti-strike bill tooth and nail” as the legislation passed its final parliamentary stage. The union body said the Conservatives were threatening to “take a wrecking ball” to the fundamental right to strike – adding that “unions won’t rest” until the legislation is repealed.

The Strikes (Minimum Service Levels) Bill will soon receive Royal Assent and make its way onto the statute book as the legislation passed in the House of Lords. The Bill will mean that when workers vote to strike in health, education, fire, transport, border security and nuclear decommissioning, they could be obliged to attend work – and dismissed if they don’t comply. 

Electronics Watch is a union-supported advocacy group based in the Netherlands which monitors employment and working conditions in the global supply chains of major electronics companies, such as IBM, Apple, and HP. It has a full-time staff of over 20. It has just published Principles of Worker-Driven Remedy “as a guiding framework for public buyers and other stakeholders to address harm to workers in supply chains. Developed in consultation with trade unions, labour rights organisations, and public buyers, the Principles put affected workers at the heart of the remediation process” here. 

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Authors: Tom Hayes

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