European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions
Together for decent work and fair pay from farm to fork

EFFAT Media Monitoring (July 2013, no. 1)

05/07/2013

All sectors
 
Launch of European Alliance for Apprenticeships
(2 July 2013)
The Alliance will help to fight youth unemployment by improving the quality and supply of apprenticeships across the EU through a broad partnership of key employment and education stakeholders. It also seeks to change attitudes to apprenticeships. It will in particular identify the most successful apprenticeship schemes in the EU and apply appropriate solutions in each Member State. The Alliance is supported by the first-ever joint Declaration by the European Commission, the Presidency of the EU's Council of Ministers and European level trade union and employer organisations. Read more (all EU languages).
 
Survey lays bare European graduates' hopes and fears
(2 July 2013)
Graduates in Europe now expect to submit as many as 60 applications before landing their first job, and the average wait between graduation and employment is approaching six months. Read more (EN).
 
Differences in working time remain large across Europe
(26 June 2013)
The average collectively agreed weekly working time in the European Union, including Croatia, stood at 38.1 hours in 2012, the same as for the EU27 in 2011, according to Eurofound’s latest annual working time update. The working week was on average 30 minutes shorter in the pre-2004 EU15 countries and over 1 hour and 30 minutes longer in the new Member States. The new report provides a snapshot of working time developments in the European Union and Norway in 2012 as agreed between the social partners by collective agreements. The combined total of agreed annual leave and public holidays in the EU varied from 40 days in Germany to 28 days in Estonia – a difference of over 2 working weeks. Read the full report (EN).
 
Basta! An End to Austerity
(20 June 2013)
Basta! An End to Austerity is a new book that presents a positive vision of how Europe can arrest its decline and restore hope through genuine changes in economic governance and much greater democratic control. Co-authored by S&D Group president Hannes Swoboda and independent journalist and former Guardian European business editor David Gow, the book takes a detailed look at how the Left's alternatives can be achieved. Read the e-book (EN).
 
Croatia: Labour legislation under revision
(17 June 2013)
In response to the argument that it was necessary to comply with EU legislation and the protection of workers the Croatian government has planned several changes to its labour legislation. According to the opposition the draft proposals favour employers. The new legislation will facilitate the dismissal of employees during the probation period. Mandatory rest periods between working days have also been reduced. Read more (EN).
 
Switzerland enforces new quotas for EU workers
(1 June 2013)
Quotas on the number of EU citizens working in Switzerland have come into effect for one year. Switzerland, which is not an EU member, says immigration has reached unacceptable levels, with foreigners making up a quarter of the population. Read more (EN).
 
 
Agriculture
 
Despite weather extremes EU-27 cereal production in 2013 expected to be higher than last year
(4 July 2013)
This year total cereal production in the EU-27 is forecast to be well above 2012 levels and above the average of the past five years. This agricultural year has so far been marked by an unusually prolonged winter for western and central Europe and heavy rainfall in May and June. However, the impact of poor weather on crops in some areas of the EU has been offset in other areas; for example, the Iberian Peninsula is expecting an excellent season. Read more (EN).
 
Monsanto wheat not approved for consumption? No big deal, says US Department of Agriculture
(28 June 2013)
When the US Department of Agriculture discovered illegal genetically modified wheat in an Oregon field earlier this year, it began a domino effect of concern throughout the world. It starts with local farmers who purchased the wheat seeds without knowledge that they were, in fact, not approved for human consumption. With harvest set for 4 July, there’s a possibility that wheat not approved for US consumption could find its way to America’s dinner plates. And it doesn’t stop in the US, either. The US is the world’s biggest exporter of wheat. Japan and South Korea suspended some imports of American wheat, and the EU urged member states to increase testing. Read more (EN).
 
EU institutions strike a deal on the reform of Europe's farming policy
(27 June 2013)
Measures to boost green farming and offer additional support to young farmers are part of a provisional agreement between Parliament, Council and the Commission to reform the EU's agriculture policy after 2014. The deal would also boost farmers organisations' bargaining position when negotiating prices and cut red tape for spending EU funds. The political agreement on the reform of the EU's Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) comes after three months of intensive negotiations, but decisions still need to be taken on capping direct payments to bigger farms and distributing funds between farmers. Read more (all EU languages).
 
Flooding costs farmers €1 billion as damage tally continues
(26 June 2013)
This month’s floods along the Danube and other Central European rivers could add up to the costliest weather-related disaster since 1999, with the cost to agriculture alone expected to exceed €1 billion. Farm groups representatives pressed EU negotiators to reach a final deal on the Common Agricultural Policy, arguing that its direct-payments scheme helps sustain farmers in times of climate uncertainty. Read more (EN/FR).
 
 
Food
 
Swiss Unia agreement with Domino's Pizza on trade union rights
(3 July 2013)
The IUF's Swiss affiliate Unia has signed the first agreement in the Swiss hospitality industry establishing the union right to workplace access and to information. The agreement is also a milestone because it does not only apply to directly employed workers, but to franchised restaurants as well. Read more (EN).
 
Côte d'Ivoire cracks down on illegal wood bound for EU
(2 July 2013)
Côte d'Ivoire is clearing tens of thousands of cocoa farmers from protected forests, threatening exports from the world's top grower and leading to complaints about human rights abuses. The European Union is the major export market for the wood. Read more (EN/FR).
 
Consumer groups urge Brussels to act faster on endocrine disruptors
(27 June 2013)
Consumer groups are urging the European Commission to implement the 'precautionary principle' into EU rules on endocrine-disrupting chemicals, in order to secure safety as additional research underlines the potential harms of too much exposure to the chemicals. Some endocrine-disrupting chemicals occur naturally, while synthetic varieties can be found in pesticides, electronics, personal care products and cosmetics. They can also be found as additives or contaminants in food. Read more (EN/FR).
 
Heart disease deaths show dramatic decline in Europe
(26 June 2013)
The number of people dying from heart disease in Europe has dropped dramatically in recent decades, thanks largely to the success of cholesterol-lowering drugs and drives to persuade people to quit smoking, scientists said on Wednesday (25 June). Read more (EN/FR).
 
 
Tourism
 
Public procurement: S&D Euro MPs welcome positive agreement 
(26 June 2013)
With the new rules, public procurement will no longer depend on bidding for the lowest price. Working conditions and workers' rights will have to be taken into account.  The price will still count but local authorities will be able to request tenderers give details on how they will respect environment laws, social rights and collective bargaining. Read more (EN/FR).
 

EFFAT is the European Federation of Food, Agriculture and Tourism Trade Unions. As a European Trade Union Federation representing 120 national trade unions from 35 European countries, EFFAT defends the interests of more than 22 million workers towards the European Institutions, European employers’ associations and transnational companies. EFFAT is a member of the ETUC and the European regional organisation of the IUF.