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Jan 262009

MEPs, mainly the Socialist fraction, have responded angrily to the Commission’s rejection of the EP report on challenges to collective agreements in the EU. The MEPs had requested legislative action as a response to a number of recent rulings by the European Court of Justice, seen to threaten to system of collective agreements and the rights of trade unions to protect workers from other member countries when working in another country. (For a summary of those cases see link list at the site of the European Trade Union Conference.)

This issue has taken on a great significance in Sweden since one of the first cases related to an Latvian firm working in Sweden (“The Laval case or the Vaxholm case.”). The Parliament rapporteur on the issue was Swedish MEP Jan Andersson, chairman of the Employment Committee.

In a press release from PSE one of the group’s vice presidents is quoted Continue reading »

Jan 082009

This is somehow a follow-up to the previous post on smoking in Austria. Leading daily newspaper Die Presse presents a guide to restaurants and cafés where you can smoke in peace. As if that would be a problem!

Comments from readers are hilarious: to prohibit smoking is an infringement on personal liberty. “Eating, sleeping, breathing (!), smoking and drinking are thousand year old traditions.” We must be tolerant: smokers should tolerate non-smokers and vice versa.

Jan 022009

Feel like a smoke? Welcome to Austria and all its famous cafés and excellent restaurants. True, there have been some restrictions imposed lately but no-one has noticed  or cared. As of Jan 1st this year a new law has entered into force prohibiting smoking on all premises to which the general public has access which includes localities where food and drink is served. Fortunately there are so many exceptions to this obligation that no change is likely. (Vienna Airport Continue reading »