United Kingdom

Implication des Syndicats dans le semestre européen
Trade Union Involvement in the EU Semester


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National Reports

The UK is not covered by the Draft Budgetary Plans exercise and its In Depth Review is not due to be published till next year. The UK is consistently ranked by the OECD as one of the most de-regulated labour markets in the world and although there have been occasional proposals for further attacks on workers’ rights these have not been linked to the Annual Growth Survey. The references in the survey to the involvement of the social partners in developing policy in this area are ignored by the UK government. The TUC strongly supports the Youth Guarantee; unfortunately, the UK government has rejected it outright. UK collective bargaining is already highly decentralised; employers’ organisations often emphasise the need to link wage trends with productivity and these calls are sometimes echoed by government ministers, but there is no official policy from central government on this. Government policy on the salaries it has direct responsibility for as employer is a wage freeze with a small exception for low-paid employees; this has been imposed as an element of the national austerity policy, not as a response to the Annual Growth Survey. The UK has suffered its longest period of falling real wages for nearly 150 years; negotiated private sector pay settlements have largely kept up with inflation, however, and the overall trend is probably best explained by what has happened in the public sector, non-unionised private sector organisations and, in the past year or so, by compositional change in the labour market. A TUC-commissioned report looking at these issues is available at http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/AWE%20and%20settlements%20-%20... There has been a significant increase in the number of precarious workers with union concerns about “bogus self-employment” (where employers force workers to declare themselves self-employed to avoid responsibility for pensions and social insurance contributions) and zero hours contracts at new heights. The TUC organised a “Decent Jobs Week” campaign to highlight these worries and has published a report on The Decent Jobs Deficit [http://www.tuc.org.uk/sites/default/files/DecentJobsDeficitReport.pdf]