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Implementation of the European framework agreement on telework

As foreseen in the framework agreement a joint European report was prepared in 2006 in order to get a picture of the actual implementation of the agreement on telework.

It is apparent from the report that numerous and wide-ranging disseminatory and implementary actions have been conducted throughout Europe by the affiliated organisations of the signatory parties.

Dissemination activities at the national level ranged from publishing the agreement in newsletters, brochures and on social partner websites to joint or separate information seminars. But on the transnational level also, the EU signatory parties and European sectoral social partners organised several joint and/or separate information campaigns and meetings (for a complete overview, see the final implementation report, pp. 5–6).

As to the actual implementation results, it is worth noting, for instance, that an interprofessional collective agreement has been concluded in no fewer than nine countries. A further noteworthy aspect is that in eight countries the government, while not the primary addressee for implementation of this agreement, became involved in one way or another in its capacity as legislator (see Figure 3).

Indeed, from the ETUC point of view, the report on implementation revealed several ways of further strengthening the impact of the European social dialogue and its results. These include the following:

  • The various national implementation processes, as well as the joint national reports on this process, are highly diverse. This is probably due to the fact that this was the first time that the member organisations had to implement such an agreement and report on it and it is possible that this took place without sufficiently clear guidance from the European signatory parties.
  • The lack of translations of the European agreement into different languages should be reviewed as it cannot be the objective that national colleagues should have to start ‘renegotiating’ the European agreement. In any case, the translation exercise should not be used to downgrade the EU text!
  • The ‘nature/status’ of the EU agreement, given that in several countries the term ‘voluntary’ framework agreement created not only confusion, but also problems in the implementation process.
  • The route and instruments chosen by social partners, given that in some countries the ‘practices and procedures specific to management and labour and member states’ to implement the European framework agreement were not always fully followed, in some cases because such practices did not yet exist.
  • Problems related to social dialogue structures and partners, such as national/sectoral negotiation calendars not coinciding with implementation process/calendar for EU agreement, weaknesses in social dialogue (structures) in new member states, and so on.
  • The role of public authorities.
  • The need for social partners to reflect further on delivery mechanisms. The European social partners should further enhance joint and separate dissemination and awareness-raising of the European agreements as this will certainly facilitate national implementation.

Implementation results

Social partners’ agreements

National interprofessional collective agreements: IT, FR, BE, LU, GR, IS, PL, DK (public sector)

Other interprofessional agreements/recommendations:

  • Germany (Joint declaration)
  • Sweden (Guidelines)
  • Spain (EU Agreement annexed to interprofessional collective agreement of 2003)
  • Netherlands (Recommendations + Annexes)
  • Finland (Agreement with guidelines)
  • Latvia (Tripartite agreement on guidelines)

European sectoral social dialogue:

  • Electricity: Joint Declaration Eurelectric/EPSU/EMCEF (22/11/2002)
  • Local/Regional Public Authorities: Joint Declaration CEMR-EP/EPSU (January 2004)
  • Cleaning: annual report in their Social Dialogue Committee

National, regional, sectoral and company level agreements

  • Denmark: Public sector (central, regional and local); some private sector
  • Sweden: Public sector (central); some private sector
  • Italy: textiles, services, etc.
  • Germany: chemicals, Coca Cola Berlin
  • Finland: local level
  • Spain: chemical industry, daily press, Valencia and Cataluna regions, Telefónica de España, Ibermática

Legislation

  • Czech Republic: New labour code – Art. 317- (01/01/07)
  • Hungary: Revision of labour code (2004)
  • Portugal: Changes to labour code (2003)
  • Belgium/Luxembourg: Demand for legislative changes
  • Poland: Integration of agreement as reached by social partners in the labour code
  • France: Procedure “erga omnes” (Decree published JO 09/06/2006)
  • Malta: Amendment of labour code – in process

Guidelines/Codes of good practice

  • UK: Guide – August 2003
  • Ireland: New code of practice – 12/2004

Standard company and sectoral agreement models

  • Germany

Other activities

  • UK: Financing of guide by government
  • Spain: Action guide for labour inspectors + Guide by National Institute for Health & Safety at Work
  • Spain: Judgement of the Social Chamber of Supreme Court (11.04.05)
  • Hungary: Establishment of Telework Council by government

Work in progress

  • Austria – Negotiations on interprofessional recommendations
  • Denmark – Negotiations on interprofessional agreement, private sector
  • Finland – Implementation via sectoral negotiations in 2007
  • Bulgaria, Romania, Slovenia – Reflections started on how best to implement
Tous les Framework agreement on telework (2002)