Home page > 2012 April epsucob@NEWS 08

2012 April epsucob@NEWS 08

Serbia - Health workers join doctors on strike

The conflict in the health sector has lead to strike action by doctors, joined also by the main health union. The unions are calling for a postponement or abandonment of plans to change the coefficients on which salaries are based that would lead to a 10% cut in pay. Read more at > news website (EN)

Germany - Union concern over massive health company merger

Services union ver.di has expressed concern about the planned takeover of the Rhön group of hospitals by the Fresenius group. The resulting company, with 80000 employees, would be a dominant company and pose a major challenge to church and other non-profit hospitals. Ver.di will be trying to ensure that the costs of the merger and the new company’s search for profits will not result in attacks on workers’ pay and conditions. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Norway - Local government negotiations broken off for mediation

Negotiations over a new local government agreement have been broken off and now move into mediation. Among the key union demands are a general increase with a higher increase on the lowest salaries along with increased supplements for working anti-social hours. They also want to seen managers’ salaries kept in proportion to employees’ wages. Read more at > Fagforbundet (NO) And at > YS Kommune (NO)

Czech Republic - Further protests for follow massive demonstration

After the massive anti-austerity demonstration on 21 April, trade unions are planning further protests around the country in co-operation with a range of social and civil society organisations. Read more at > CMKOS (EN) And at > Czech news website (EN)

Europe - Global confederation launches workers’ rights enquiry

The ITUC global trade union confederation has taken the unprecedented step of launching an enquiry into workers’ rights. The Confederation points out that evidence from the International Labour Organisation (ILO) reveals the scale of government attacks in the form of cuts in pay, pensions, employment rights and trade union rights. Trade unions from several European countries will be invited to give evidence including Greece, Romania, Portugal and Bulgaria. Read more at > ITUC (EN) And in German at > IGB And in Spanish at > CSI And in French at > CSI

Netherlands - Unions finally conclude local government agreement

After more than a year of negotiations, campaigns and action trade unions in the local government sector have managed to get the employers sign a new collective agreement covering the 180000 workers in the sector. The unions wanted to protest purchasing power and the deal involves a 1% pay increase backdated to 1 January 2012 and a further 1% backdated to 1 April 2012. There will also be lump sum payments in August of €200 or €400 depending on salary level. The deal includes a commitment on job security as well as more flexibility in working time. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

Denmark - Union survey reveals staffing problems in childcare

A survey commissioned by the FOA public services union found that over a fifth of childcare workers said they often didn’t have enough time to comfort children who are upset. The survey also showed that 41% (up from 35% in 2010) of childcare workers thought that at least once a day there were unable to provide proper care to children who are upset or those with disruptive behaviour. The FOA was pleased that the government had pledged an extra DKr 500 million (€67 million) for staffing in the sector although it wasn’t convinced that this was enough to provide adequate levels of staffing for the whole sector. Read more at > FOA (DK)

Finland - Bus company dispute ended

The JHL public service union and Jyty private sector union have negotiated a new agreement covering the Helsingin bus company and avoided industrial action. The employers had initially refused to negotiate a deal in line with the general framework agreement but have now conceded and the planned strike on 2 May will not now go ahead. Read more at > JHL (EN)

Spain - Union federations challenge regional government cuts

Public service union federations are having to respond at regional government level to attacks on their pay and condtions. The five trade unions that organise in the regional government of La Rioja have written a joint letter to the regional president calling for a proper process of negotiation and rejecting worse conditions of employment imposed with any form of consultation. Unions are also protesting about imposed cuts in salaries and conditions faced by the 30000 workers covered by the regional agreement in the Basque country. The agreement effectively expired at the end of 2010 and there has been no progress in negotiations since then. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Sweden - Municipal workers get 3% pay increase

The Kommunal union, representing around blue-collar workers in local and regional government, has negotiated a new one-year agreement that runs to 31 March 2013. The agreement covers around 350000 workers and will mean a pay increase of around 3% (SEK 650, €73). The lowest paid workers will also get SEK 650 and so this will mean a pay increase of 3.7%-4.0% for them. Other allowances increase by 2.6% and there is also an agreement to limit fixed-term employment. Read more at > Kommunal (SE)

France - Workers at energy contractor in dispute over pay

Worker employed by the SPIE DEN engineering company, subsdiary of SPIE Nucleaire, have been on strike since 16 April at the Cattenom and Fessenheim power plants in the Alsace-Lorraine region of North-East France. The dispute has also spread with stoppages at the Bugey and Cruas power stations in the Rhone-Alpes region. The dispute is over payments for working at different sites and the FNME-CGT union federation is calling for the same pay and conditions for all SPIE employees it is also urging the EDF energy company to make sure its contractors pay the same to all their employees doing the same job. Read more at > FNME-CGT (FR)

Netherlands - Members approve youth work agreement

Union members have voted overwhelmingly in favour of a new collective agreement covering 30000 youth service workers. The agreement actually runs from 1 May 2011 for two years and so the sector has been without an updated agreement for a year and there was no pay increase in 2011. There is 2% pay increase from 1 May 2012 and an end-of-year bonus worth 1.6% of annual salary. There will also be an increase in the training budget. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

Germany - Red Cross agreement keeps pay in line with public sector

Employees of the Germany Red Cross (DRK) will see their pay increase by 3.5% this year (from 1 July 2012) and then by 2% from 1 January 2013 in a new collective agreement that runs until 31 December 2013. This year’s increase is in line with that agreed in federal and local government while next year’s rise is just ahead by 0.6%. There are also changes to the pay structure to ensure that there are no differences in pay for new starters and this will mean additional increases on top of the 3.5%. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Austria - Union campaign: Check your pay grade

The GPA-DJP services union ran a campaign in the week beginning 16 April urging members to check their pay grades. The union points out that a worker’s position on a pay scale normally depends on the occupation, level of qualifications and length of service. However, workers can often be placed on the wrong grade and this could be a particular problem for women workers and contribute to the gender pay gap. Read more at > GPA-DJP (DE)

UK - Angry reaction from union over regional pay proposal

Public services union UNISON has reacted angrily to the health minister’s support for regional pay in the National Health Service (NHS). The union argues that this would be divisive, create a bureaucratic nightmare and undermine the national "Agenda for Change" pay and conditions agreement that was negotiated in 2005, addressing issues of equality and the inconsistencies arising often from local pay elements. Read more at > UNISON

Germany - Two million public sector workers get 6.3% increase

Earlier this month services union ver.di negotiated a 6.3% pay increase for two million workers employed by the federal government and local authorities. The first stage of the increase is backdated to 1 March 2012 and is for 3.5%. There will then be two increases of 1.4% in 2013, the first on 1 January and the second on 1 August. There will also be increases for apprentices and a commitment to offer jobs to those apprentices who pass their qualifying exams. The deal was negotiated following high profile campaigning by ver.di and a series of warning strikes. Union members have until 24 April to vote whether or not to accept the agreement. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Serbia - Health union protests over pay and threatens strike action

On 19 April the Trade Union of Employees in Health and Social Protection organized a demonstration over pay. The union says that the average salary in the health sector is €360 putting 28th of all sectors in the economy. Four categories of employees within the health sector don’t even earn the minimum salary of €180. The union is a calling for a sectoral agreement in both the health and social protection sectors and wants changes to the decree that sets the coefficients used in the calculation salaries. In particular the union wants the government to withdraw plans to change the coefficients that would lead to a 10% cut in current salaries. If there is no agreement then a strike is planned for 25 April.