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2015 January epsucob@NEWS 01

Europe - EPSU CB Conference; UK - health unions call of action; Kosovo - health union joins public sector strike; Spain - Council of Europe rules against government; France - doctors win hours deal; Sweden - gender pay gap in local government

Conference debates public and private sector pay trends

Over 80 trade unionists from 20 countries took part in EPSU’s collective bargaining and social dialogue conference on 13-14 January. A central theme on the first day included long-term developments in public sector pay and comparisons with the private sector. The conference also included a lively debate on minimum wages, a discussion about working time developments and a session on the structural reforms that the European Commission and European Central Bank want to see implemented across (...)

Health unions suspend industrial action

Health unions in England have agreed to suspend industrial action while they consult their members over a new offer from the Ministry of Health. Ten unions had planned to take action from 29 January, including both strikes and working-to-rule. It would have been the third round of action since last October. Unions are still looking at the detail of the new offer but it includes a 1% increase for all workers with changes to the bottom of the pay scale that would mean increase of 5.6% and (...)

Health union joins public sector strike

Letter to FSSHK EPSU has sent solidarity greetings to its health affiliate FSSHK. The union joins other public sector unions in a general strike protesting against the government’s failure to implement the General Collective Agreement of 2014 and the wage law of 2010. EPSU has also sent letters to the country’s president and prime minister urging them to respond to the unions’ demands and begin negotiations over (...)

Comparing public and private sector pay

Public sector pay, and in particular the claimed public sector pay premium, have been an issue for the European institutions for some time, and this was enshrined in the Euro-Plus Pact in 2011 which called on governments to “ensure that wages settlements in the public sector support the competitiveness efforts in the private sector (bearing in mind the important signalling effect of public sector wage).” EPSU asked Torsten Müller of the European Trade Union Institute and Thorsten Schulten of (...)

Expert group Drinking Water Directive

(26 January 2015) The European Commission has presented the (statistical) results of the public consultation on drinking water in the EU in a meeting to the Drinking Water Directive Expert group on 18 December 2014. This group consists of government representative from the Member States and a limited number of stakeholders, mainly from the water industry, and including EPSU. Clivia Conrad (Ver.di) participated in this meeting on behalf of EPSU and also represented the ECI Right2water. The (...)

Council of Europe backs unions’ claims against government

The Council of Europe’s Committee of Social Rights has supported many of the claims of violations of trade union rights brought by the CCOO and UGT union confederations against the government. The Committee says that the government has infringed the European Social Charter in relation to freedom of association; the right to strike; the level of the minimum wage; overtime pay; working time; holiday entitlement and notice periods. Overall the Committee notes seven breaches Spain’s obligations (...)

Unions4Climate: Reducing emissions from the workplace and creating jobs.

(28 January 2015) A report by Sustainlabour describing four European case studies on union commitments and actions to combat climate change is now out. The report describes in depth Belgian, British, German and Spanish union proposals on emission reductions and other climate-related policies and their impact on national economic contexts and job creation. The third ITUC World Congress in 2014 called on affiliated trade unions to deploy renewed efforts to redouble their (...)

Report exposes gender pensions gap

A new report published by the Kommunal municipal workers’ union and the Swedish Municipal Pensioners Association reveals that a majority of female pensioners who have retired from the sector cannot survive on the pension alone. Seven out of 10 are dependent on the guaranteed pension and on average they get almost SEK 4000 (€430) less per month than men who have retired from the municipal sector. The data comes from information on 150000 pensioners previously active in the municipal sector. (...)

Emergency doctors negotiate agreement on working time

The AMUF trade union for emergency doctors has negotiated what is regarded as an historic agreement with the government on working time after 14 years without progress on the issue. Coming into effect in July this year, the agreement will set 39 hours a week as a threshold above which doctors cannot deal with patients. For hours between 39 and 48 they can only deal with administrative tasks or take part in meetings and those hours will be covered by additional payments. Work up to 60 hours (...)

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