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Europe - Information and consultation rights for central government workers

Millions of central government workers across Europe are now covered by a landmark agreement on information and consultation. The new agreement was signed in December by EPSU, leading the trade union side, and the EUPAE central government employers’ organisation in the European Social Dialogue Committee for Central Government Administrations. The two sides have called upon the Commission to transpose the agreement into a directive as quickly as possible. The agreement fills in a legal vacuum at EU level by providing minimum requirement for the employers to inform and consult trade unions on restructuring, health and safety, working time and work life balance policy. Read more at > EPSU

Croatia - Unions threaten legal action over pay rises

Public sector unions, including state sector union SDLSN, have threatened to go to the courts if the new government does not honour an agreement to implement pay increases 4%, 8% or 10% based on years of services. The previous government did not pay any increases in 2015 in response to the pressure on public finances but they were expected in 2016 with a return to economic growth. The new government is asking unions to be patient while it sorts out funding for the current year as current financial plans do not include provisions for the increases for the whole year. Read more at > SDLSN (HR)

Czech Republic - State sector workers get collective agreement

At the end of December unions signed an historic first collective agreement with the government covering around 69000 state employees. The agreement establishes many existing working and employment conditions and is aimed specifically at improving social conditions and health and safety at work. It also provides for the possibility of discussions on indexation of civil service pay scales for the following year. The agreement runs for the calendar year 2016 and was negotiated by the state sector, health, defence and education unions. Read more at > statorg (CZ) And at > OSZ (CZ) And > Prague Post news website (EN)

Europe - Patent Office workers protest against sackings

Around 400 employees of the European Patent Office (EPO) in the Hague joined a march on 28 January to protest against the sacking of two employees and the demotion of a third, all trade union activists. The protest was called by the SUEPO trade union for EPO staff which argues that the employees have been targeted for their trade union activity and for challenging what they see as the dictatorial approach of the EPO’s boss, Benoit Battistelli. Read more at > EPSU (EN) And at > omroepwest news website (NL)

France - Public service federations in day of protest

CGT, FO and Solidaires public service unions organised a national day of action calling for pay increases across the public sector. With the index for public service pay frozen, the unions estimate that 5.6 million public sector workers have seen their purchasing power fall by 8%-10%. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > FO Fonctionnaires (FR)

Germany - Temporary contracts on bargaining agenda

Public services union ver.di will put temporary contracts on the bargaining agenda this year. This follows the publication of new research showing not only an increase in temporary contracts across the public sector but also evidence that they increasingly being used without the main justification of replacing absent staff. The proportion of temporary contracts is higher in the public services than in the economy as a whole and younger workers are particularly affected with over a fifth of workers under 35 on temporary contracts. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Spain - Unions continue fight to restore cuts in pay and conditions

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT public service federations have seen some progress in restoring cuts in pay and conditions for workers in the justice sector. Recent changes have been implemented in relation to additional time off, filling vacancies, recruiting temporary workers on to the workforce, negotiating the use of temporary workers and union involvement in the introduction of new technology. However, the unions are determined to continue their campaign for full restoration of the other pay and conditions that were unilaterally cut by the justice ministry as a result of the crisis. These include a return to the 35-hour week and a restoration of workers’ purchasing power. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Portugal - Unions submit demands for 2016 negotations

The Frente Comum of public service unions, including local government union STAL, has set out its list of key demands for negotiations in 2016. Central to the unions’ claim is restoration of the pay and conditions that have been cut or frozen since austerity measures were implemented in 2011. In terms of pay this is not just about restoring pay levels but also re-establishing other pay rights such as overtime rights. And one of the main demands is the revocation of the law requiring public sector workers to increase their working week to 40 hours without any compensating pay increase. Public sector unions have negotiated hundreds of local agreements to retain the 35-hour week but there is still a problem about getting these legally recognised. Read more at > STAL (PT)

Belgium - Prison staff take strike action

The three main unions in the prisons sector (ACOD/CGSP, ACV/CSC and VSOA/SLFP) took 24-hour strike action on 18-19 December in protest at the Ministry of Justice’s failure to provide solutions on a number of issues. The main problems relate to understaffing and recruitment, clothing allowances and pre-retirement leave. A meeting between the unions and the Ministry earlier in the week had not produced any new commitments and so the unions went ahead with the action. Read more at > CGSP (FR) And at > ACV (NL) And at > CSC (FR) And at > ACOD (NL)

Spain - Federations call for negotiations on new agreement in state sector

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT have both officially served notice on the current agreement covering workers in the state sector. This means that negotiations over a new agreement will have to before the end of January. The unions want to see a restoration of rights and benefits unilaterally cut since the crisis. They are also looking for a 5% pay increase on the basis of the pay scale of 2010, along with a commitment to keep pay moving in line with that negotiated in the private sector. They also want to see a minimum wage of €1200 a month. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Finland - Union attacks government’s unilateral limits on employment conditions

The state sector union Pardia has attacked the government for trying to imposed limits on employment conditions, particularly in the state sector. The union argues that there have been significant improvements in productivity over several years with negotiated changes to work organisation, working time and the spread of digitalisation. For Pardia these are the ways of increasing efficiency and not cuts to employment conditions. The union says that public sector workers are being targeted in particular with the proposed cap on annual leave and other changes. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Austria - 1.3% increase for public sector workers

After the third round of negotiations, public sector unions have agreed with the government on a 1.3% pay increase for 2016 that will be implemented on 1 January for the calendar year. This means a real wage increase in relation to the 0.7% current rate of inflation. Read more at > GÖD (DE) And at > younion (DE)

Spain - Federations to protest over collective bargaining

On 3 December the FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT public service federations will organise a joint protest outside the headquarters of the civil service. The unions see it as important to keep the pressure on the state administration to reinstate collective bargaining, to increase public employment and stop privatisation, to restore pay lost as a result of austerity and to re-establish possibilities for promotion and career development. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

UK - Scottish prison service lifts strike ban

The POA prison staff union in Scotland has regained the right to organise industrial action following an announcement by the Scottish Justice Secretary. The union says that the decision reflects the positive negotiating environment and trust built up between the POA and the government in Scotland and the Scottish Prison Service. Read more at > legal news website

Iceland - Strike action likely over pay deal

Three trade unions were set to take 48-hour strike action as of 15 October in protest at the government’s refusal to ensure a fair pay deal for all public sector workers. The SFR, SLFÍ and LL trade unions, part of the BSRB public services federation, have been calling for their members to get a pay deal comparable to the one already covering other groups of public sector workers. Nurses, prison staff and other public administration workers will join the strike while the police are also affected by the differential treatment. The unions have already set dates for four further 48-hour strikes in October and November with the prospect of all-out action from 16 November is no deal is reached. Read more at > BSRB (IS) And at > Iceland Monitor news website (EN)

Spain - Federation calls for urgent action on public sector employment

The FSP-UGT federation says that 400000 public service jobs have been cut in the last four years posing a real threat to service quality. In relation to population size Spain has fewer public service workers than France, Ireland or the UK and has even cut 30000 jobs from health services, a sector that has grown in most other countries despite austerity. The federation is also concerned about the high level of temporary work in public services (20%) and it wants to see moves to consolidate these workers into permanent jobs. Privatisation and outsourcing are also taking their toll and the FDP-UGT wants to see clearer guidelines on what services should not be privatised and much better regulation and monitoring of outsourcing. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Ireland - Most unions back Lansdowne Road agreement

Members of the ICTU confederation’s public service committee voted to accept the Lansdowne Road agreement - the pay and conditions agreement that covers the public sector. The agreement runs until September 2018 and will begin to restore some of the pay cuts that public service workers have faced since 2009. Most workers will get around €2,000 in three phases between January 2016 and September 2017 in a combination of adjustments to the public service pension levy and a partial reversal of the 2010 public service pay cuts. Read more at > ICTU

UK - National Gallery workers secure agreement and return to work

After more than 100 days of strike action this year, members of the PCS civil service union at the National Gallery in central London voted to return to work. The dispute was in protest at privatisation of visitor services but in the end PCS reached an agreement with the gallery and the new contractor, Securitas, that would mean protection of terms and conditions. A return to work for the senior rep Candy Udwin, suspended during the strike, was also agreed. Meanwhile PCS members at the National Museum Wales will take further strike action on 20 October in protest at plans to cut additional payments for weekend working. Read more on National Gallery at > PCS And more on National Museum Wales at > PCS

Italy - Federations coordinate action to defend research and training centre

The four trade union federations - FP CGIL, CISL FP, UIL Pa and Fialp Cisal, reported very good support for the their joint demonstration on 12 October outside the office of the Minister for the Simplification of Public Administration. The unions are campaigning against planned cuts to the Formez public administration research and training centre and the closure of its Neapolitan headquarters. The federations want to see a genuine plan to relaunch the Centre’s services, including assistance, studies and training on the modernization of public administration. The unions will be keeping up the pressure to protect jobs and working conditions at the centre. Read more at > FP-CGIL (IT)

Malta - Union calls for go-slow by immigration officers

The GWU declared a dispute with the government last month over grading of immigration officers. From 5 October the union organised a go-slow of immigration officers to put pressure on the government to resolve the dispute after “the government failed to honour its commitment to discuss their work structure”. The GWU said that there was a dire need for a grade structure to be put in place since those involved were facing difficulties. The go-slow was set to involve immigration booths opening half an hour late while immigration officers have been ordered not to wear their uniform, not to answer phone calls but to scrutinise passports all the same. Read more at Time of Malta (EN) And at > GWU (MT)

UK - Campaign against privatisation contiinues

Members of the PCS civil service union have marked their 100th day of industrial action at the National Gallery in central London. Their long-running campaign is against the privatisation of visitor services at the Gallery as well as reinstatement of a leading shop steward who was sacked during the dispute. The strikers have received support from across the trade union movement. The new Gallery director has met the union for talks and further meetings are planned. Read more at > PCS

Cyprus - Joint action across communities against wage cuts

Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot workers, members of FP SEK and TOURKSEN, took joint action earlier this month against British Government plans to slash wages of workers at the Sovereign British Base areas in Cyprus. All civilian workers in Limassol (Episkopi and Akrotiri) and in Larnaca (Dekelia) took five days of action from 7-11 September. The strike was decided after a deadlock in the negotiations between the two sides and after the employers side announced that cuts in wages will be applied by the end of September 2015, ignoring the advice of the Ministry of Labour of Cyprus not to make any cuts in wages or change any agreed labour regulations without the agreement of the two sides. During the strike Greek-Cypriot and Turkish-Cypriot workers enjoyed an excellent spirit of cooperation and solidarity stressing their common belief to principles of trade unionism but also showing that the two communities can work and live together in a unified island. The employer side, after the high pressure they received from all workers in the British bases, invited trade unions for further discussions. (Many thanks to Michalis Michail of SEK for this report)

Ukraine - Unions argue that civil servants’ pay is vital element of reforms

The FPU trade union confederation and SEEU state workers’ union have written to the President calling for the unions to have a clear role in proposed administrative reform and the pay of local and national civil servants. The union points out that state workers are vital to ensuring that the planned reforms are implemented effectively but they have faced a significant real terms cut in pay. Salaries haven’t been reviewed for eight years and high inflation has taken its toll on purchasing power. One key target for the unions is to set a minimum civil service salary at twice the national minimum wage.

UK - National Gallery staff in all out strike

At the beginning of last week (10 August) workers at the National Gallery in central London began an all-out strike against the privatisation of visitor services. The union has been calling for negotiations to avoid the privatisation and had hoped to have talks with the Gallery’s new director before he took office. The union is also campaigning for the reinstatement of a leading shop steward, illegally sacked, the union believes for her trade union activity. Read more at > PCS

Romania - Prison union protests over pay and staffing

On 13 August the SNLP prison workers’ union organised a protest in front of the national prison service over the failure of the government to pay eight months of wage arrears and respond to other demands including: improving staffing levels by hiring 1,000 more people; compensation for overtime with time off from work or extra salary pay; and imposing sanctions on officials who do not abide by the law on staffing. The government doesn’t respect the collective agreement or the process of social dialogue. Out of a list of 75 issues raised by the unions only five have been partially dealt with over the last 6 months. Depending on the government’s reaction, the union will continue the protest actions for an undetermined period of time. All prison workers will be wearing black ribbons around their arms to symbolise the loss of professional dignity. Read more at > SNLP (RO

Switzerland - Union attacks Federal budget cuts

The Federal negotiating committee, of which the VPOD public services union is a member, has strongly criticised the proposed Federal budget which will impact on the pay of Federal government workers. The committee has rejected the budget and called for negotiations. One of the main changes is the increased role for performance-related pay in salaries, with union concern that the changes will increased the pay gap in the public sector between the high and low paid and the old and young. The unions are also concerned that pensions changes will hit the lower paid, making it more difficult for them to take early retirement, even when early retirement the result of restructuring rather than personal choice. Read more at > VPOD (DE)

Netherlands - Union refuses to sign deal with government

The FNV has refused to sign an agreement with the government covering a broad range of public sector workers. The union has challenged the government to clarify what the deal would mean for pensions in particular. While the government claims it is offering a 5.05% pay increase, the FNV argues that part of this money comes from reduced pensions and so is in fact worth only 2.85% with a €500 lump sum. The union will continue to campaign for a better deal and for collective agreements covering civil servants and other public sector workers. It also wants a commitment for more permanent rather than temporary jobs across the public services. Read more at > FNV (NL)

UK - National Gallery staff plan all-out strike

The long-running dispute over privatisation at the National Gallery in central London is set to continue as the PCS union threatens an all-out strike of its members. The union has been campaigning against proposals by the Gallery to contract out staff who provide visitor services. The union says that it has alternative proposals and is calling on the management to agree to talks at the the ACAS arbitration and conciliation service in order to achieve a negotiated settlement. Read more at > PCS

UK - Union challenges outsourcing company over redundancy pay

Probation unions GMB, Napo and UNISON are calling on multi-national company Sodexo to honour the redundancy terms which workers are due as a result of the company’s plans to cut 436 staff (nearly 40% of staff). Sodexo was awarded six contracts to run probation services in 10 counties across England in February 2015. The company is now seeking to impose a severance package that is worth less than half what members are owed. Read more at > GMB

Spain - Unions criticise government’s failure to negotiate

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT trade union federations have expressed their anger and disappointment at the failure of the government to undertake real negotiations over employment in the state administration at a recent technical committee on employment. Coming only a few days before the government finalises its budget for 2016, the meeting was organised without a proper agenda or full discussion of the issues of concern for the unions. Nor were there any concrete proposals from the government to address the problems created job cuts and recruitment freezes as well as outsourcing in particular departments. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

UK - Union continues fight against outsourcing at National Gallery

Members of the PCS public services union are mobilising for a rally outside the National Gallery in central London as the latest step in their campaign to prevent outsourcing of visitor services. The PCS members have taken over 50 days of action during their long-running campaign and have had to defend one of their shop stewards against dismissal for trade union activities. Read more at > PCS

Ireland - Unions vote over new public sector deal

Trade unions across the public sector are balloting their members over a new public sector agreement - the Lansdowne Road agreement - that will include the first steps in restoring some of the pay cuts faced by public sector workers over eight years. Members of the IMPACT trade union have voted three-to-one to back the deal which will include increases of around €2000 for most workers. Not all union executives have yet decided whether to recommend a "yes" vote, while the AHCPS leadership is recommending a "no" vote. The results of ballots from all public sector unions won’t be known until the autumn. Read more at > IMPACT And at > SIPTU And at > CPSU And at > INMO And at > PSEU And at > AHCPS

Finland - Municipal and state sector agreements follow cross-sector deal

Following on from the negotiations on the one-year extension to the cross-sector collective agreement, unions in the state and municipal sectors have agreed similar arrangements. Local government salaries will be go up by €16 from February 2016 where basic pay is no more than €3,404.26. Higher salaries will rise by 0.47%. The collective agreement for central government follows along the same lines. Basic salaries will see a rise from the beginning of February 2106 by €13, but in real terms this will mean an increase in salaries of €16 euro a month. There will be a 0.43% increase for those with a salary of more than €3,023 euro a month they can expect to see a 0.43 per cent rise. Read more at > JHL (EN) And at > Pardia (EN)

Netherlands - MPs back union calls for negotiations

The FNV union is pleased that a vote in Parliament provides it with support for renewed negotiations covering civil servants. Union negotiator Marco Ouwehand says the unions are ready to negotiate to provide a collective agreement for the 120000 civil servants after 1700 days without an agreement but they want to see a serious offer on the table from Minister Stef Blok. Read more at > FNV (NL)

Spain - Federation demands real negotiations over working time

The FSP-UGT has criticised the government for failing to undertake serious negotiations in the state administration sector. A series of meetings were due this month to tackle a range of issues in the lead up to general negotiations covering state administration. The FSP-UGT says that government has simply been issuing statements about working conditions rather than indicating its intention to negotiate over the issues. The union has set out a number of key issues on working time that is argues need to be resolved to reverse changes imposed unilaterally by the government. These relate to the 35-hour week, annual leave arrangements, rules on holidays and sick leave and new proposals to allow working time flexibility for those with long-term illnesses. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

UK - National Gallery workers continue strike action

Members of the PCS civil service union are continuing their industrial action against privatisation of staff at the National Gallery in central London. Around 400 of the 600 workers at the gallery are under threat of outsourcing and are in the middle of a 10-day action which takes their total number of days on strike to 45. The issue of privatisation is being debated in parliament and the union is approaching the new director of the Gallery to try to resolve the dispute. An employment tribunal has ordered the reinstatement of a PCS rep who was sacked but management at the Gallery have refused. The initial tribunal ruling requires that she receive full pay and benefits until a full tribunal hearing later in the year. Read more at > PCS

Netherlands - State sector workers continue protests over collective agreement

State sector unions are running a campaign to put pressure on the government to negotiate a new collective agreement. The unions are angry that the civil service minister has only offered a 0.5% increase after four years of pay being frozen. The unions are calling for a 3% pay increase and improvements to employment conditions, particularly a reduction in flexible contracts. The unions are involving workers in a range of different protests at different times across the country. For example, customs staff will be doing full checks of all goods and baggage going through the port of Rotterdam on 29 June and at Schiphol on 6 July which will means longer queues and delays and on 18 June several hundred tax workers and prison officers joined a demontration in Amsterdam. Read more at > FNV (NL) And at > FNV (NL)

Spain - Federation makes progress with state bargaining

The FES-CCOO public service federation reports that its mobilisation of state sector workers on 28 May has had some results following a meeting between the unions and the Director General and the General Department of Industrial Relations. The meeting discussed the specific content of what would be a re-opening of negotiations between unions and the administration and would cover a number of issues including the state of public employment, the dangers of privatization, the urgent need to recruit to empty posts, the equality plan for the state sector, development of civil service legislation to modernise administration and guarantee employment rights and re-establish those lost in recent years. A meeting is scheduled for 16 July. The FSP-UGT federation has also put forward key demands for this meeting, including compensating for the loss of purchasing power of salaries over the past six years. Read more at > FES-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Spain - Progess towards bargaining in state sector

Following a mobilisation outside the offices of the Director General of Public Administration, unions have secured an agreement to a meeting before June 15 to discuss a range of issues and prepare to convene negotiations in the General State Administration. The priority for the unions is to stop the destructive cuts in public employment which is leading to a collapse in services to citizens. They also want to recoup the loss of bonuses and the cuts and freezes in salaries over recent years. Read more at > FES-CCOO (ES)

Italy - Unions call on government to unblock bargaining

The public sector trade union federations - Fp-Cgil Cisl-Fp Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa - have called on the government to lift its freeze on collective bargaining in the public sector in advance of a high court ruling expected on 23 June. There has been no collective bargaining for six years and so public sector workers have seen their pay frozen and eroded by inflation over that period which has had major implications for demand in the economy. The unions argue that what was initially presented as an emergency measures threatens to become something more permanent and they will be organising major assemblies in the north, centre and south of the country in anticipation of further action to support their call for an immediate start to collective bargaining. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (IT)

Netherlands - Rotterdam march launches actions by civil servants

Around 1400 civil servants joined a march over the Erasmus bridge in Rotterdam calling on the public service minister Stef Blok to reopen negotiations on a new collective agreement. The protest marks the beginning of what could be several months of action with demonstrations already planned in Amsterdam, Arnhem, The Hague, Leeuwarden and Maastricht. It is four years since the last agreement expired and unions are calling for pay rises to compensate for lost purchasing power as well as action to reduce precarious work. Read more at > FNV (NL) And at > CNV (NL)

Italy - Federations mobilise to protect inspection services

The public services federations - Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa - are very concerned about government plans to reform and merge various labour inspection services. The unions plan to mobilise workers in the Ministry of Labour and the INPS and INAIL social security and health and safety institutes. The federations argue that effective inspection services are needed more than ever to ensure proper protection at work and to tackle undeclared work. The unions plan to mobilise MPs and regional governors and along with a national protest in Rome there will be actions on 8, 15, 22 and 29 May respectively in Veneto, Marche, Liguria, Umbria, Tuscany, Campania, Puglia and Lazio. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (IT)

Netherlands - No progress on government sector agreement

Trade unions in the state sector have effectively pulled out of negotiations over a new collective agreement following a meeting with civil service minister Stef Blok. The unions are looking for a pay increase that would begin to compensate for the pay freeze that has lasted since the previous collective agreement expired over 1600 days ago. The minister could only talk about a possible 1% increase over the next two years but didn’t want to make any commitment before knowing about pension contributions. Unions are planning to give the minister an ultimatum calling for proper negotiations or the unions will begin a campaign of action. Read more at > FNV (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

Netherlands - Civil service pay negotiations get underway

Negotiations over a new collective agreement for civil servants have begun with unions presenting central government minister Stef Blok with a petition signed by over 30000 civil servants demonstrating the strength of feeling for a new collective agreement. The main aims of the unions are to secure a 3% pay increase, a deal on job security and an allowance in recognition of the long period (over four years) without a revised collective agreement. Read more at > FNV (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

UK - National Gallery workers fight outsourcing

Employees of the National Gallery in Trafalgar Square in Central London have been taking industrial action in response to threats by management to outsource 400 out of 600 jobs. Further action is being planned for 24-28 March. The employers have been taking a tough stance, threatening the PCS union and its members with legal and disciplinary action. Read more at > PCS

Austria - Pay rise for civil servants but deadlock over pay system

Civil servants saw a 1.77% rise in basic pay on 1 March. This was the result of an agreement in the previous January that the 2015 pay increase would be the equivalent of the inflation rate between October 2013 and September 2014 plus 0.1%. However, after seven rounds of negotiations public sector unions are still trying to secure a guarantee from the government that civil servants won’t lose out from the implementation of a new pay system. Read more at > GÖD (DE)

Portugal - Strong support for public sector strike

The STAL local government union reports a high level of support across local government for the one-day strike (13 March). The strike was the latest in a series of protests against attacks on workers’ rights, pay freezes and in support of the unions’ struggle to retain the 35-hour working week. Figures from STAL show the extent to which workers across a range of services have backed the strike including waste workers, transport, parks and gardens and administration. Strike action was also supported by other EPSU affiliates Read more at > STAL (PT) And at > SINTAP (PT) And at > STE (PT) And at > APIT (PT)

Netherlands - Government to insource all cleaners

Around 2500 cleaners will be insourced by the government over the next eight years. As cleaning contracts come up to an end, the cleaners working on those contracts will become direct government employees and one of the main things they will benefit from is the allowance paid to civil servants to cover travel costs. Read more at > FNV (NL)

Portugal - Unions continue pay, jobs and hours fight

The STAL local government union is planning a series of actions in early 2015 in protest at further austerity measures and to defend the 35-hour week. The union reports that pay cuts of 2.8%-8% are foreseen for those on more than €1500 a month with those below facing a pay freeze that has lasted since 2009. Another 12000 jobs will also be cut from public administration. Public sector unions have managed to negotiated over 530 local agreements to retain the 35-hour week but the struggle is now to get these legally recognised. So far only 30 have been formally published. The union protest will begin on 6 January, with a week of action beginning 26 January and a further protest in February. Meanwhile the SINTAP union organised a strike on 4 December at the ISS social security institution in protest at the threat to nearly 700 jobs. Read more at > STAL (PT) And at > SINTAP (PT)

Hungary - Public sector unions demonstrate for pay increase

Public service unions took to the streets on 6 December with a clear message demanding a 5% pay increase or HUF 10000 (€32). It has been six years since the last salary increase, leaving public sector workers 30% worse off in real terms. The government’s proposed budget for 2015 clearly shows that it is not considering a change in policy. The unions are calling for proper social dialogue and for a staged increase in wages over the next three years just to recoup the decline in purchasing power since 2008. Read more at > KDSZSZ (HU) And at > EPSU

Finland - Union sets out basis for negotating framework agreement

In response to speculation about pay cuts and worsening employment conditions, state sector union Pardia has made it clear that cross-sector bargaining would be unacceptable on this basis. With an election due next spring, Pardia wants to see what the government programme will say about working life, the public sector, the position of state employees and any changes affecting the position of employees. For Pardia there is recognition that non-pay issues are increasingly important and that negotiations could focus on improvements in working lives. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Turkey - Demonstration highlights rights of sub-contracted worker

A major demonstration organised by the Yol-iS trade union has increased pressure on the directorate of highways to extend collective agreement coverage to sub-contracted workers. This is a major issue for trade unions and Yol-iS has won a number of court rulings saying that sub-contracted workers should be covered by the main collective agreement. Read more at > EPSU And at > Yol-iS (TK)

Netherlands - Unions suspend talks with minister over civil service agreement

Anger is building among civil servants after four years without a re-negotiated collective agreement. The last agreement ran until 1 January 2011 and talks with the government resumed in May this year but the four trade unions involved decided to pull out. They are particularly angry that the civil service minister is blocking a change to pension payments that would have meant a 0.8% increase to salaries from 1 January 2015. Earlier in the month unions had organised protests around over the long-delayed collective agreement. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL) And at > NU news website (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

Germany - Pay rise for staff working for overseas forces

Following three negotiating rounds and a series of warning strikes, services union ver.di has secured a 2.4% pay increase for the 17000 workers employed by overseas military stationed in Germany. The agreement runs for 12 months and is backdated to 1 September. The union sees this as a reasonable outcome in view of the cuts being implemented by the respective military authorities. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

UK - Civil servants strike over pay

The PCS civil service union reports widespread report for the day of strike action on 15 October. This is part of the union’s long-running campaign to secure pay increases across central government after two years of pay freezes and pay increases capped at 1%. The union is arguing for a 5% increase or £1200 (€1500) across the board. Read more at > PCS

Spain - Public sector federations want real negotiations over state budget

The public sector federations in the CCOO confederation have called for negotiations over the state budget which they see as a further major attack on public services, which have already seen job cuts - around 20% since 2011 - the loss of purchasing power - 17%-23% since 2011 - the blocking of collective bargaining and increasing social inequality. The CCOO federations in health, education and services to citizens will launch an information campaign and mobilization to defend pay and working conditions and public services which will take place between October 20 and November 19, consisting of rallies, demonstrations and other actions. Read more at > CCOO Sanidad (ES)

Spain - Federations angry at further year of pay freeze

Public service federations FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT have criticised the government for announcing a further public sector pay freeze for 2015, making it five years since the last pay increase. The unions have attacked the government for failing to undertake and real bargaining over pay. The government has made a small concession on paying back part of the Christmas bonus that it denied workers in 2012 but this is only implementing a series of court rulings that went against the government in 2013 and 2014. The government has also announced a relaxation of the rule that only one in 10 workers who leave should be replaced. However, while this change is to be welcomed in areas like health, education and services dealing with tax fraud, most other parts of the pubic administration won’t be affected. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Italy - Federations unite in national protest

Federations from right across the public services will be united in national demonstration in Rome on 8 November over the continuing freeze of collective bargaining and the refusal of the government of any social dialogue about reform of public administration. The federations represent workers in education, health, safety and rescue services, universities, research bodies, public administration, social services and local government. In the lead up to the demonstration all the federations will be active in workplaces building for the march and making the arguments for the funding, training and pay and conditions that are essential for a workforce to deliver efficient and high quality services. Read more at > Cgil-Fp (IT) And at > Cisl-Fp (IT) And at > Uil-Pa (IT)

Spain - No social dialogue over changes to civil service conditions

The FSC-CCOO is highly critical of the government for putting forward amendments to the basic law covering civil servants without taking part in any social dialogue with the trade unions. The union is particularly concerned about the changes that could lead to quality public sector jobs being replaced with precarious agency work, with much more flexibility in terms of function and mobility. It is also worried about the potential change from civilian to military status of jobs in local civil protection services and the police. The Federation is also critical that the 2015 budget has been drafted without any discussion with unions over public sector pay and despite the finance ministry announcing a social dialogue meeting for September. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Netherlands - Mobilising for a new collective agreement

FNV Abvakabo and CNV Publieke Zaak are organising local committees to discuss the next steps in a campaign to negotiate a collective agreement covering civil servants. The previous collective agreement expired more than 1000 days ago (31 December 2010) and the unions are now looking to build up active support for a new agreement at local level to try to change the idea that a collective agreements is simply something delivered by the trade union. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

Italy - Federations warn government on reforms and pay freeze

The four main public service federations - Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp, Uil-Fpl e Uil-Pa - have sent a clear warning to the government that it cannot hope to proceed with its unprecedented reforms of the public administration at the same time as maintaining a block on bargaining in the public sector for another two years. It is already more than four years since pay negotiations took place and in the meantime there have been substantial cuts in public sector employment. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (IT)

Ireland - Minister foresees pay negotations in 2015

The public expenditure minister has indicated that 2015 could see negotiations between the government and public sector unions that would look at clawing back some of the pay cuts that have been imposed since 2009. The cuts began with the introduction of a "pensions levy" in 2009 and cuts in basic and other pay elements followed in 2010 and 2011. Read more at > IMPACT

UK - Unions coordinate strikes over pay, jobs and pensions

On 10 July thousands of public service workers across the UK took strke action over pay, jobs and pensions. The largest action was in local government in England, Wales and Northern Ireland with unions calling for an improvement on the 1% pay offer from employers. The FBU firefighters’ union was continuing its dispute over changes to their pension scheme while civil servants in the PCS union were also taking action over pay and jobs. EPSU affiliates involved in the action included UNISON, Unite, GMB, PCS, FBU, NIPSA and SIPTU. They were joined on the day by teachers organised in the NUT trade union were also on strike over pensions. Read more at > EPSU And at > UNISON And at > GMB And at > Unite And at > PCS And at > FBU And at > NIPSA And at > SIPTU

Spain - Cautious optimism over bargaining in public administration

EPSU affiliates FSP-UGT and FSC-CCOO, along with the CSIF union, met Antonio Beteta, secretary of state for public administration, on 14 July to discuss restarting social dialogue in the sector. The minister said that there were now some prospects to negotiate following some improvement in the economic situation. The unions want to ensure that a number of key issues are on the bargaining agenda such as the restoration of the cuts in pay and conditions that have been imposed in recent years. The unions are cautiously optimistic about these developments, recognising that the government may have shifted its position as a result of trade union protests but also in view of next year’s general election. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Europe - Evidence of impact of austerity on industrial relations in central government

A new report from the EIRO industrial relations observatory takes stock of developments in industrial relations in central government administration. It analyses the varied arrangements at national level and concludes that overall the quality of social dialogue has deteriorated. It also provides further evidence of the attacks on pay and conditions across Europe, with pay freezes and pay cuts along with reductions in other benefits, particularly pensions. It argues that: “While the social partners are actively responding to the crisis at the European level, their actions have yet to halt these troubling trends at the national level.” Read more at > EIRO (EN)

Portugal - Union attacks government plans for more pay cuts

The SINTAP union has met with officials of the Ministry of Finance to protest against government proposals of another five years of pay cuts for public administration workers. The union not only said that it would not negotiate on this basis but also warned the government that it would face another challenge in the constitutional courts and that, on the basis of previous cases, any new pay cuts would also be rejected as unconstitutional. Read more at > SINTAP (PT)

Switzerland - Gender pay gap in public sector

The vpod/ssp public service union reports that the gender pay gap in the public sector is 13.6% on average but rises to 18.6% when comparing lower paid occupations. In the health sector the size of the pay gap is reversed with women higher up the pay scale getting 13.7% less than men while the pay gap at the bottom of the pay scale is 5.4%. The union concedes that public sector employers have shown more willingness to discuss pay inequality than private sector employers, however, they have generally failed to undertake a proper examination of the extent of the pay gap. Read more at > vpod (DE) And at > ssp (FR)

Spain - Unions mobilise to re-establish collective bargaining

The main public administration unions - FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT along with CSIF - are launching a campaign to re-establish collective bargaining. Over the last four years the government has repeatedly rejected calls to convene the national bargaining committee in public administration. The campaign will begin on 11 July with a series of protests at national and regional level and will be stepped up in the autumn if there is no response from the government. The unions are committed to maintaining the campaign until the government agrees to negotiations. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Italy - Joint union statement on alternative reforms

The main public sector federations - Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp, Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa - have issued a joint response on the government’s plans for reforms of public administration. The unions challenge the government to have a proper strategic view of public services and adopt a different approach to workers in the sector. The unions want to see initiatives to improve skills development, properly reward increased productivity and action to increase recruitment, particularly of young people while allowing those working in arduous occupations to retire. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (IT)

Europe - Annual survey on working time

In 2013, the average collective agreed weekly working time in the European Union was 38.1 hours, the same as in 2012, according to the latest annual survey by the EIRO industrial relations observatory. The survey examined three sectors in detail and the civil service sector again recorded the shortest average agreed normal working week at 38 hours – although this represents an increase of 0.2 hours compared with 2012. There was a small decrease in working hours in the sector in Sweden while the government in Portugal imposed a five-hour increase from 35 to 40 hours although this is being resisted by the trade unions, particularly in the local government sector. Read more at > EIRO (EN)

UK - Unions plan action over pay

Public sector unions across the UK are protesting, balloting for strike action and planning campaigns over pay. A nationwide day of protest over pay in the National Health Service took place on 5 June while unions are balloting for strike action in local government. Action is also being planned in central government where a consultative ballot is taking place and a day of action planned for 10 July. Read more at > PCS civil service And at > UNISON health And at > GMB health And at > UNISON local government And at > Unite local government And at > RCN health

Europe - Survey reveals continuing pay freezes in public sector

The EIRO industrial relations observatory has published its annual review of pay developments across Europe. At a cross-sector level EIRO indicates that trends in nominal pay are slightly down although with inflation also on a downward path this has meant some very slight improvements in real wages. In contrast, the survey’s focus on the civil service found 15 countries were there was a continuing pay freeze, one more than recorded last year. Read more at > EIRO (EN)

Finland - Unions criticise government’s block on additional pay for more and better work

Unions organising in the state sector - JHL, JUKO and Pardia - have criticised new guidelines from the government that call for a halt to any work reorganisation that would lead to more demanding tasks and, thus, higher salaries. The unions say that the decision goes against collective agreements that say that salaries must rise when work becomes more demanding and personal competence grows. They also argue that the policy contradicts government aims to reward skills and performance. Read more at > JHL (EN) And at > Pardia (EN)

Spain - Union condemns additional work for tax employees

The FSP-UGT federation has attacked the Finance Ministry for using tax agency staff to work additionally for the regional economic administrative courts. The union points out that public sector workers have seen their purchasing power fall by around 30% as a result of pay cuts and freezes. Jobs have also been cut and further pressure on staff created by non-replacement of retired workers. And now, rather than offering new jobs and help reduce the 25% unemployment rate, the Ministry of Finance is getting existing tax workers to fill the gap by taking on additional work. The FSP-UGT sees this as an important area of work to ensure taxes are collected and so it needs the proper level of staffing to do it. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Spain - Federation debates collective bargaining

The FSC-CCOO federation organised a national conference on collective bargaining on 13-14 May to debate strategies and discuss the impact of labour reforms over the past two years. The federation’s assessment is that the reforms have only served to increase unemployment, maintain the duality of the labour market, further decrease the use of permanent contracts while encouraging the most precarious forms of temporary and part-time contract. Collective bargaining has been substantially affected in terms of coverage and employers’ scope to make unilateral changes to pay and conditions. The FSC-CCOO is working to rebuild its effectiveness and participation at the workplace to strengthen support in negotiations. However, it notes a particular problem in public administration where the government is refusing to take part in any social dialogue. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Spain - Federation calls on government to negotiate

The FSP-UGT public services federation has called on the government to get back to the negotiating table. The union wants to see the reinstatement of the Christmas payment that the government blocked in 2012. However, the government has only said that the payment will be gradually reinstated and that it depended on economic developments and that it may not be until 2016. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Germany - Warning strikes help deliver positive result on pay

Following a series of warning strikes in the lead up to the third round of negotiations public services union ver.di was able to secure a positive result for the 2.1 million workers employed by the federal and local authorities. The agreement includes a 3% increase for 2014 but with a minimum amount of €90 and so benefiting lower paid workers in particular. All workers will also now have a minimum of 30 days’ annual leave. There will be a further pay increase of 2.4% from 1 March 2015. Ver.di says that this is one of the best deals secured in the current bargaining round in Germany. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Spain - Union calls for negotiations over reforms

In response to the latest report from the Commission for Reform of the Public Administration, the CCOO confederation has criticised the government for failure to consult or negotiate over any of the issues being dealt with by the Commission. The Commission was set up at the end of 2012 to examine how to streamline administrative procedures and create more "efficient" public service. The union argues that many of the proposals included in the report have serious implications for the rights and working conditions of public sector workers but none have been discussed with the trade unions. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Germany - New round of warning strikes

After the second round of negotiations over the collective agreement covering 2.1 million federal and local government workers, ver.di reports progress on some issues but on the points the unions and employers remain far apart. The next round of negotiations will begin on 31 March but in the meantime ver.di is organising warning strikes around the country to strengthen its position at the bargaining table. Different groups of workers in different regions have been taking action during the week. Read more at > ver.di (DE) And at > ver.di (DE)

Croatia - EPSU challenges government over collective bargaining

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EPSU lettter to PM

EPSU has written to the Prime Minister and Labour Minister in support of the SDLSN state and local government union and in protest at the government’s attack on collective bargaining. The government is planning to withhold the payment of service bonuses to civil servants. This not only fails to comply with the collective agreement (specifically article 45) that the government signed in August 2012 and the agreed procedure for amendments to the collective agreement but it also contravenes Article 10 of Annex II to the Collective Agreement for Civil Servants and Employees with the Trade Unions of Civil Services, in which the government gave a commitment to avoid any reductions in the budget wages in 2014. Read more at > SDLSN (HR)

Spain - Unions mobilise over prison privatisation and working conditions

On 26 March unions organising in the prisons sector - CCOO, UGT, CSIF, CIG and ELA - organise demonstrations at four prisons across Spain. They are protesting about plans for privatisation of surveillance and external security service, the freeze on pay and employment and deteriorating working conditions for prison staff. The unions highlight the question of safety in prisons and the important role of prison staff in rehabilitation of offenders - a role that would be seriously undermined by an increasing role for profit-making companies in the sector. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Netherlands - Unions discuss strategy in central and local government

On 31 March the three public sector unions, FNV Abvakabo, CNV Publieke Zaak and CMHF, will be involved in day of discussions about collective bargaining strategy in the central and local government sectors. Bargaining in both sectors has been blocked with a pay freeze in central government for the past three years and recently local government employers failed to respond to a trade union ultimatum calling on them to come up with a pay offer and re-start long frozen negotiations. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

Germany - Over 110000 take part in warning strikes

Over 110000 public sector workers have taken part in warning strikes in the public sector in different regions in order to put pressure on the federal and local government employers to come up with a pay offer for the 2.1 million workers. Ver.di has put forward a claim for a flat-rate increase of €100 a month plus 3.5%. The next round of negotiations takes place on 20-21 March. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Italy - Federations call for dialogue with ministers

The Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp and Uil-Pa trade union federations have written jointly to all the new ministers to urge them to negotiate with the unions over pay, jobs, restructuring and the provision of services. The unions acknowledge that the changes anticipated vary considerably from ministry to ministry but argue that it is crucial to re-establish a proper process of social dialogue to ensure any changes are properly negotiated with appropriate account taken of the need to invest in the workforce. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (IT) And at Cisl-FP (IT) And at Uil-Pa (IT)

Hungary - Protest over pay, hours and employment conditions

The KKDSZ cultural workers’ trade union was one of 28 public sector unions that organised a day-long demonstration outside parliament on 21 February. The unions are angry that there has been no public sector pay increase for six years, that workers have lost their 13th month payment and that changes to employment rights mean that civil servants can be easily dismissed at short notice. After substantial cuts in jobs many workers are also having to work long hours without overtime pay to maintain services. The unions are calling for a 20% pay increase. Read more at > KKDSZ (EN)

France - Unions mobilise for 18 March

Four trade union organisations - CGT, FO, SUD and Solidaires - are mobilising for a national demonstration against austerity bringing together both public and private sector workers. The CGT and FO have also issued a joint call for action in the public sector highlighting some of their key demands for public sector workers. These include a increase in the public sector pay index which has been frozen for five years and an increase in pay to restore purchasing power, along with recognition of the role of the public services and the resources and staffing needed to deliver those services. Read > joint statement from four unions (FR) And > joint statement from CGT and FO (FR)

Spain - Union calls for negotiations after court rulings

The FSC-CCOO federation has called on the government urgently to convene negotiations covering national administration to resolve the question of bonus payments from December 2012. The bonuses were cut by the government as one of a number of cuts in the pay and conditions of public sector workers. However, court judgements since then have challenged the legality of these cuts and now unions argue that the government should negotiate rather than leave it to be settled by a range of different legal actions and rulings. The latest case ruling involved a prison official and was supported by the FSP-UGT federation. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

France - Public sector unions call for negotiations

Nine public sector trade union organisations - CGT, CFDT, FO, UNSA, FSU, Solidaires, CFTC, CFE-CGC, FAFP - have come together to call on the prime minister to open negotiations over salaries, careers and promotion in the public sector. The unions argue that recent government statements have not created a very good climate for talks and want confirmation from the prime minister that the government is not proposing to put a block on career advancement or bonus payments. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Germany - Pay, holidays and jobs for trainees

After consulting with members, ver.di has drawn up the key elements of its demands in preparation for negotiations covering 2.1 million workers in federal and local government. The union wants €100 a month extra for all workers, including trainees, plus 3.5%, amounting to an increase of 6.7%. The union says this will go some way to rewarding the productivity of a broad range of public sector workers and to closing the gap with pay in other sectors. The claim will also include a demand for 30 day’s paid holiday for all workers and for trainees to be taken on at the end of their training period. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Austria - Unions agree to improved pay offer

Following their major demonstration in Vienna last month, public sector unions have accepted a higher pay offer from the employers. The unions were initially offered a 1% pay increase plus 0.5% lump sum. The final deal includes pay rises ranging from 1.55% for the higher paid to 2.53% for the lower paid and 2.02% on allowances. This covers the period 1.3.14 to 28.2.15. Pay will be then be increased by inflation plus 0.1% from 1.3.2015 to cover the period up to 31.12.2015. Municipal employees get a slightly different arrangement with a 2.3% increase in 2014 for all salaries up to €2700, a minimum increase of €62.10 and 2.3% on allowances. Read more at > GdG-KMfSB (DE) And at > GÖD (DE)

Spain - Federation calls for negotiations over jobs

The FSP-UGT public services federation has called for negotiations in the public administration sector to discuss the crisis being created following the loss of at least 121000 last year and around 400000. The union is also concerned about labour reforms which have undermined decent employment conditions with a knock-on effect on the quality of service provision. The FSP-UGT attacks the cuts as indiscriminate and criticises the government for failing to make any serious effort to modernise public services. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Croatia - Union challenges government over pensions changes

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EPSU letter

EPSU has sent a letter to the Croatian president expressing its support for the SLSN state and local government trade union which is concerned about draft legislation on pensions and retirement age in the public sector. The legislation will mean that the government can terminate contracts when civil servants reach 65 or 35 years of qualifying service. The union is worried that the government will use the new rules to force women to retire as part of a strategy to cut 12000 jobs from the civil service. In its letter EPSU highlights the importance of gender equality and particularly the impact that the measures might have on increasing what it is already a large gender pensions gap.

Finland - State sector agreement concluded

A new agreement has been signed covering central government workers. It is divided into two periods, from 1 April 2014 to 31 January 2016 and from 1 February to 31 January 2017. In the first period there will be a flat-rate increase of €20 a month from 1 August 2014 and then a 0.3% increase from 1 August 2015. Bonuses and additional pay given in euros will also be increased by 0.73% from 1 August 2014. For the second period, if the cross-sector social partners cannot agree on salary increases by 15 June 2015, then the agreement may be terminated with a four-month period of notice. The agreement also specifies the creation of a number of working groups to examine issues such as action to promote the lengthening of careers and working time arrangements. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Switzerland - Federal employees get 0.7% increase

Public services union vpod reports that federal employees will get a pay increase of 0.7% after some tough bargaining. Although the economic outlook is relatively good and public finances quite healthy the government was reluctant to offer more than a 0.5% rise. The joint trade union committee, of which vpod is a member, reluctantly agreed the 0.7% increase as an improvement on 0.5% but argued that this was a modest increase and failed to provide a decent increase for the many workers who would not benefit from any performance-related increase or movement up the pay scale. Read more at > vpod (DE)

Germany - New pay structure finally agreed

After several years of negotiations some 140000 federal employees are will soon be covered by a new pay system. Ver.di believes many workers will benefit from the modernised pay structure and improved system of job classification. Skilled technicians, IT workers, clerical and administrative staff and forest workers are among those that will benefit from the new arrangements. In local government ver.di’s bargaining committee is continuing discussions with the employers’ organisation over a new pay structure. The current collective agreement for federal and local government staff expires at the end of February 2014 and pay negotiations will begin in the new year. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Finland - Survey reveals pressure on staff from restructuring

A new survey carried out for the Pardia state sector union shows the extent to which its members have faced restructuring and job cuts. In the past two years, reorganisation had been carried out at the workplaces of 84% of the respondents with the most common type of change being the merger of different units (49%). Employee numbers were reduced at 65% of workplaces, remained the same at 21% and increased at 14%. The nature of work itself is also reported as changing with 74% of respondents saying that their job duties had increased or their scope broadened, while 77% reported that requirements for learning new things had increased. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Italy - Industrial action planned over budget

The three main trade union confederations - CGIL, CSIL and UIL - along with their public service federations - FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-PA and UIL-FPL - are planning industrial action in protest at the government’s latest spending plans. The unions argue that there is increasing pressure to modernise public administration but rather than invest in training and career development the government is cutting jobs and freezing pay. Nothing is being done to tackle precarious employment conditions nor to provide job opportunities for young, well-qualified workers. The unions note that recent statistics show a long-term trend of increased public spending and demand for services while the number public sector workers has been cut by 370000. Read more at > FP-CGIL (IT) And at > CISL-FP (IT) And at > UIL-PA (IT) And at > UIL-FPL (IT)

Portugal - Public sector unions to strike on 8 November

EPSU affiliates STAL, SINTAP, STE will be organising a day’s strike on 8 November in protest at the latest Budget and further attacks on pay, pensions and other employment conditions. Nine out of 10 public sector workers will see their pay cut by between 2.5% and 12% depending on the level of salary. The unions are angry that public sector workers and pensioners are bearing the brunt of the cuts set by the budget. Read more at > STAL (PT) And at > SINTAP (PT) And at > STE (PT) And at > Frente Comum (PT) And on the budget at > Reuters (EN)

France - Public sector agreement on psycho-social risks

The French government, eight trade unions and the representatives of public employers signed a framework agreement on 22 October on the prevention of psychosocial risks. The agreement requires each public employer to draw up a "psychosocial risk assessment and prevention plan" by 2015. Other undertakings include better resourcing of health, safety and working conditions committees (HSC), more time off for duties, and of preventive health services. An initial assessment report on implementation of the agreement is to be submitted before the end of 2015. Read more at > ETUI

Ireland - Hopes for increased recruitment as agreement delivers savings

The IMPACT public service union gas welcomed the government’s acknowledgment that payroll savings delivered by the Haddington Road agreement will be worth around €500 million in 2014 – in the region of 20% of next year’s budgetary adjustment. The union also welcomed the signs of an easing of pressure on staffing. The government announced that a “reform dividend,” in the form of limited public service recruitment, was now planned. The union said it would aim to consult with the relevant departments to highlight areas where new recruitment was needed, including urgently demands in the health and social care professions, primary and mental health services, special needs provision and a number of other areas. Read more at > IMPACT

Italy - Unions unite to resist cuts in social security

The four main unions that organise in the INPS social security institution - Fp-Cgil Cisl-Fp Uil-pa Fialp-Cisal - are mobilising for local and regional action on 2nd and 4th October. The unions are warning against any cuts in pay and funding, particular at a time of high unemployment when welfare needs to be maintained. The unions argue that there needs to be a properly negotiated plan to reduce waste and boost productivity and look at ways of increasing innovation and improving services. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

Greece - Day of action and two-day strike against austerity

The member organisations of the ADEDY civil service confederation will be taking part in a week of action and a two-day strike against the latest austerity measures being imposed on the public sector. The health sector is under particular pressure following a 25% budget cut in the last two years while some 25000 civil servants are being put into a relocation pool on reduced pay while waiting to find out if they will be relocated or finally dismissed. A further 4000 are set to lose their jobs by the end of the year. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > ekatherimini news website (EN) And at > Greek Reporter news website (EN)

Finland - Central agreement negotiated

The three trade union confederations SAK, STTK and Akava reached a central agreement on wages and salaries with the employers’ organisations at the end of August. The agreement includes two increases in pay with a flat rate rise of €20 beginning four months after the agreement is valid and a 0.4% increase a year later. The agreement runs for two years with an option to extend it for a third year. This will be decided in June 2015, after the parliamentary elections in April 2015 and the formation of a new government. To support the settlement the Government has promised to cut income tax by 1.5%, which should compensate for inflation. Read more at > Pardia (EN) And at > JHL (EN)

Portugal - Unions reject attack on pensions

Public sector unions have expressed their anger about proposed changes to the pensions system. The STAL local government union says that increases in contributions were bad enough but now the government also wants to cut pensions that are already being paid out to retired workers. The union along with other members of the Frente Comum of public sector unions will be staging a national protest against the proposals on 25 September. The SINTAP public sector trade union is also opposed to the cuts and made its position clear in talks with the minister of public administration. Read more at > STAL (PT) And at > SINTAP (PT)

Spain - Federation calls for pay negotiations

The FSP-UGT public services federation has criticised the government for making media statements about a further public sector pay freeze. The union argues that the government should go through the proper democratic process and open negotiations rather than use the media to announce its pay policy. The unions oppose any further freeze on pay when public sector workers have already seen their real pay fall by 23% over the past four years, have lost their Christmas payment and seen 375000 jobs cut from the public sector. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Europe - Survey reveals extent of reforms across public administration

A new report from the European Foundation for the Improvement of Living and Working Conditions reveals that central public administrations in most European countries are experiencing processes of profound reform and transformation. Some longer term reforms have been intended to achieve a clear citizen or customer orientation in the provision of services, greater efficiency in their delivery and increased quality. These have often involved privatisation, liberalisation and outsourcing. Apart from these structural reforms, the crisis has led to strategies primarily based on cost-cutting and cost efficiency measures that have triggered some deterioration in working conditions. There has also been an attempt in some Member States to align working practices with those of the private sector. Read more at > Eurofound

Portugal - Court blocks civil servant dismissal law

The Constitutional Court has blocked government legislation that would have made it easier to dismiss civil servants. The law is part of a range of austerity measures that the government has planned to introduce as part of the bail out arrangements required by the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Opposition parties also plan to challenge recent legislation that imposes a 40-hour week across the public sector - five hours longer than the current norm. Read more at > euractiv

Turkey - Confederation criticises public sector agreement

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KESK Press Release

The KESK public sector confederation is highly critical of recent negotiations on pay between the government and the Memur Sen public sector trade union. KESK explains that it and another trade union organisation (Kamu Sen) were effectively excluded from the negotiations. Although the largest public sector organisation Memur Sen is seen as very close to the government and its membership is not much larger than KESK and Kamu Sen combined. KESK also criticises Memur Sen for exaggerating the percentage increase that was negotiated with pay set to rise for some workers by 4.54% rather than the 6% claimed by Memur Sen. While inflation is expected to be around 6% next year it is currently running at 8.8%. KESK organised a series of demonstrations between 16 and 20 August against the agreement.

Europe - Report raises issue of consultation in public administration

The European Commission has carried out a "fitness check" on the collective redundancies Directive, the transfers of undertakings Directive and the Directive establishing a general framework relating to information and consultation of workers. This concludes that they are generally relevant, effective, coherent and mutually reinforcing and that the benefits they generate are likely to outweigh the costs. It notes also that public administration is not specifically covered by the information and consultation directive and suggests that there is need for further research on this question and "what role information and consultation actually plays and could or should play in the light of the current restructurings in the public sector in several countries. This issue could be discussed within the sectoral social dialogue committee which brings together central government administrations." Read more at > DG Employment

Greece - General strike call follows action in local government

The ADEDY civil service and GSEE private sector trade union confederations have called a 24-hour general strike on 16 July in protest at cuts in public sector jobs demanded by the Troika - the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. The planned strike follows two days of industrial action by municipal workers also protesting about the implication for their jobs of the labour reserve and mobility scheme being implemented in the public sector. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > ekatherimini news website (EN) And at > timesunion news website (EN)

Italy - Unions sign agreement on cutting waste

The FP-CGIL, CISL-FP, UIL-Fp and UIL-Pa public service federations have signed an agreement with the Ministry of Economy and Finance over how to deal with reorganisation of work and services with a view to cutting waste. The aim is to target unproductive expenditure and unjustifiable costs and to take a more rational approach to savings rather than an across-the-board policy on cuts. The agreement provides for full consultation with trade unions over any reorganisations and restructuring in relation to the impact on staff and quality of services. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

Belgium - Unions strike against austerity

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CGSP Admi Press Release

The CGSP/ACOD and SLFP/VSOA public service federations have called a general strike for 24 June in protest against austerity measures that are affecting pay, pensions and jobs. The unions are highlighting the impact of cuts on the quality and quantity of public services and underlining the link between maintaining those services and protecting the pay and conditions of the workers who deliver them. Read more at > ACOD (NL) And at > VSOA (NL) And at > SLFP (FR)

France - Federations criticise government for continuing pay freeze

Six public service federations (CGT, FO, FSU, SOLIDAIRES, CFTC and CFE-CGC) have agreed a joint statement attacking the government for imposing a further year’s pay freeze on public sector workers. The government has stated that it will not discuss uprating the index point (the basis on which public sector salaries are calculated) until the middle of next year. The unions argue that this will mean an unprecedented four-year freeze in pay. The federations are also critical of plans for further changes to pensions and to continuing job cuts. The organisations will meet again in September to review the situation with the prospect of co-ordinated action in October. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Italy - Federations call for unblocking of public sector bargaining

The general secretaries of the four main public service federations - Fp-Cgil, Cisl-Fp, Uil-Fpl and Uil-Pa - are calling on members of the parliamentary employment committee to recommend a re-opening of collective bargaining in the public sector. The committee is considering draft legislation from the government that includes a proposal to extend the freeze on bargaining that was introduced in 2011. The unions argue that it is unfair to impose further economic hardship on workers who have already seen their pay eroded by inflation over the last three years. Read more at > Fp-Cgil (IT)

Finland - Union campaigns against zero-hours

Public services union JHL, and particularly its youth section, is campaigning and lobbying to get zero hours contracts abolished. The union is concerned that these contracts are no longer exceptional and are increasingly being used not only in the private sector but also the state and municipal sectors. Read more at > JHL (EN)

UK - Museum workers next in line for industrial action

Workers at museums across the country took strike action on 30 May as part of the three-month campaign of industrial action organised by the PCS civil service union. The union is protesting against the government’s refusal to negotiate on pay and jobs and it began its campaign with a national civil service strike on 20 March. A further day of national action could be called in June if the government makes no moves to negotiate. Read more at > PCS

Finland - Finnish state employer to join sectoral social dialogue

State sector union Pardia reports that the Minister of Finance has agreed to join the Central Government Administrations European Sectoral Social Dialogue committee. Pardia and public sector union JHL have welcomed the decision highlighting the issues that are being dealt with at European level that are also central to debates in Finland such as: the image of the central government as an attractive employer, reorganisations, anticipation of change and gender equality in pay. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Ireland - New public sector agreement out to ballot

After the rejection of the revised national public sector agreement (known as Croke Park II), unions are now taking different positions on a re-negotiated deal known as the Haddington Road agreement. The largest public sector union Impact had agreed to the original deal and will support the revised agreement saying this will protect certain conditions relating to flexible, part-time and overtime working for lower paid members and benefit higher paid members in recouping pay cuts. However, the CPSU civil service is maintaining its rejection saying that there have not been any significant changes and that it cannot see the justification for the €1 billion cut in the public sector pay bill. SIPTU is recommending that its members accept the agreement. The INMO nurses and midwives’ union is also recommending acceptance on the basis in particular of changes that will mean better protection of additional pay for working on Sundays and bank holidays as well as flexible working arrangements. Read more at > Impact And at > CPSU And at > SIPTU And at > INMO

Europe - EU staff strike over budget cuts

Around 3500 staff of the European institutions took strike action on 8 May in protest at budget cuts that will see significant changes to their pay and conditions. One estimate is that some workers will see an effective 60% cut in pay in real terms over the next 5 years. They will also face longer working hours without an increase in pay and their retirement age rise to 67. Read more at > Euractiv news website

Portugal - Protest planned over further austerity

Unions in the CGTP confederation are organising a national demonstration on 25 May in protest at the latest austerity measures being imposed by the government under pressure from the the troika of the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Included in the measures are 30000 public sector job cuts, an increase in weekly hour for public sector workers from 35 to 40 without any increase in pay and an increase in retirement age to 66. Read more at > STAL (PT) And at > EPSU (EN)

Spain - Unions call for negotiations over pay and jobs

The public sector federations FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT along with the CSI-F federation have called on the government to open negotiations with the unions. The immediate issue to be resolved in repayment of the Christmas bonus. The unions say that the courts have supported the unions’ claim that cutting the payment was unconstitutional and they want to ensure the government deal with the question. They are also concerned about the impact of job cuts across the public sector and lack of consultation over proposals to reform local government. Read more at > FSC CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Croatia - Unions campaign against public sector pay cut

Public sector unions are consulting their members over organising a major day of action to protest at pay cuts and attacks on collective bargaining. The unions began their anti-government campaigning at this year’s May Day rally and are planning an action that would effectively blocked key services to demonstrate the importance and value of public services to citizens and the economy. Read more at news website > Dalje (EN) And further at > Dalje (EN)

UK - Campaign over jobs and pay continues

Around 12000 workers employed by various public monitoring and regulatory bodies are set to join the three-month rolling industrial action called by the PCS civil service union. The campaign began with a national strike on 20 March to coincide with the government’s presentation of the Budget. Since then the action has involved different departments and agencies and now involves a range of public bodies such as the Equalities and Human Rights Commission and the utilities regulators. Read more about the current action at > PCS And more about the campaign at > PCS

Denmark - Conflict marks challenging bargaining round in state sector

This year’s negotiations over a new two-year agreement in the state sector were marked by two unusual developments - a lock-out of teachers by the employers and government intervention. The agreement itself continues to apply the mechanism linking pay developments with those in the private sector. This means that there is effectively a pay freeze in the public sector in 2013, with a 1.1% increase for 2014. Read the OAO report at > EPSU (EN)

UK - Latest stage of three-month industrial action

In the latest stage of its three-month campaign of industrial action the PCS civil service union has called on workers in different sections of the Home Office (interior ministry) to go on strike. The union action is over cuts to pay, pensions and jobs and began last month with a one-day national strike. Various forms of campaigning and industrial action will be organised over the coming weeks involving different groups of civil servants. Read more at > PCS

Ireland - Union members reject Croke Park II

Following membership ballots, public service unions have voted to reject the recently negotiated national public sector agreement - Croke Park II. The deal involved further changes to pay and conditions in response to the government’s claim that it needed to cut €1 billion from the public sector pay bill. Leaders of the biggest unions, IMPACT and SIPTU, recommended the deal as the best possible under difficult circumstances but other unions, including the CPSU civil service union and the nurses and midwives (INMO) recommended rejection. In the end, there was a majority in favour of the deal in IMPACT but not in the other unions. Read more at > IMPACT And at > SIPTU And at > CPSU And at > INMO And at > PSEU And at > AHCPS

Italy - Unions in joint call to restart collective bargaining

The public service federations of CGIL, CISL and UIL have issued a joint statement calling on the government to unblock negotiations in the public sector. The unions were reacting to a report on pay and jobs from the ARAN agency that negotiates with public sector unions on behalf of the government. The report shows a 1.6% fall in public sector pay. Taking into account inflation during the 2010-2012 period this amounts to a 7.2% cut in real terms. The report also reveals that 265000 jobs have been cuts from hospitals, child care and other public services. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) And at > FP CISL (IT) And at > UIL PA (IT)

Italy - Unions reject extension of pay freeze

The main federations in the public services from CGIL, CISL and UIL have all expressed their concern about the threat to extend the freeze on negotiations in the public sector. FP CISL highlights the impact on pay after three years of pay freezes with average pay in the sector at €26600 and even lower in local government (€22000) and health (€23000). Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) And at > FP-CISL (IT)

UK - Strike on budget day to launch rolling action

Members of PCS, the largest civil service union, will take strike action on 20 March, coinciding with the presentation of the Budget in parliament. This action will begin three months of campaigning and industrial action in defence of pay, pensions and working conditions and to put pressure on the government which is refusing to negotiate. The union will be consulting with members over the types of action and tactics of the campaign. Read more at > PCS

Portugal - National protest over pay and cuts in services

The STAL local government union and other public sector unions in the Frente Comum mobilised thousands of workers in a national demonstration on 15 March. The demonstration was not just about the pay and conditions of public sector workers but also about protecting services. Read more at > Frente Comum (PT) And at > STAL (PT)

Ireland - New national agreement put to vote

Public sector workers are voting on whether or not to accept a revised national agreement on pay and conditions. The "Croke Park" agreement was originally negotiated in 2010 and included a substantial package of savings agreed by the unions in order to protect basic pay. The government began negotiations over a new agreement after threatening to impose a further €1 billion in cuts to the public sector pay bill. IMPACT reports that unions managed win concessions on a number of measures including compulsory redundancies, working time and overtime pay. It has recommended acceptance of the agreement as the best that could be achieved in the circumstances. Four unions have formed a coalition to campaign for a rejection of the agreement. These include the CPSU civil service union, the Unite general union, INMO (nurses and midwives) and IMO (doctors). The CPSU executive committee rejected the deal on the basis that it is an unacceptable attack on basic pay and terms and conditions built up over decades. The AHCPS higher civil servants’ union has also recommended a "no" vote. Read more at IMPACT And at > CPSU And at > SIPTU And at > PSEU And at > AHCPS And at > INMO

France - Minister refuses to budge on pay and waiting day

Public service trade unions have taken action in recent weeks in the lead up to a meeting with the public services minister on 7 February over a range of issues related to pay and conditions. Although the Minister, Marylise Lebranchu, made positive moves on some issues the unions were disappointed that she refused to budge on two key points. The government is insisting on another pay freeze this year while also maintaining the waiting day that applies in cases of sickness absence. Read joint union statement at > CGT Services Publics (FR) And list of key demands at > CGT Services Public (FR)

Spain - Unions mobilise over jobs and services in justice ministry

The FSC-CCOO, FSP-UGT and the other unions in the Ministry of Justice have called for demonstrations on 20 February against the Ministry’s plans for cuts in jobs and other measures that will limit access to justice for many citizens. The unions have attacked plans to privatise parts of the service with a threat to 3500 jobs and for the failure of the Ministry to negotiate with the unions. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Greece - General strike call for 20 February

The ADEDY and GSEE public and private sector trade union confederations have called a general strike for 20 February in protest at the continuing pressure for cuts coming from the Troika of European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund. Civil servants are the target of next round of cuts with the Troika wanting to see 25000 dismissed or transferred to other areas. Trade unions have also reacted angrily to the government’s actions to prevent transport workers from taking strike action and the GENOP energy union took 24-hour strike action on 31 January in protest at the attack on the right to strike. Further action against the cuts was planned by refuse collection workers on 14-15 February. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > ekathimerini news website (EN) And on the GENOP strike at > GENOP (GR) And on the waste workers at > Greek report news website (EN)

Ireland - Government promises end to cuts

The government has said that current proposals for cuts in the public sector pay bill will be the last call on public sector workers. Negotiations are underway for an extension of the "Croke Park" national agreement that dates from 2010. The government has threatened to impose €1 billion in cuts if a deal isn’t reached. Unions are still waiting for some of the details of the proposals but have already rejected a five-hour increase in weekly working hours. They say that they want to see details of the financial impact of any increase in working time. In the meantime over 110000 people joined demonstrations around the country in protest at the excessive burden placed on Irish people as a result of the collapse of Irish banks. Read more on Croke Park at > Impact And on the debt demonstration at > Impact

Belgium - Civil service unions to demonstrate on 7 February

The three main trade union organisations in the public sector have called a national demonstration of federal civil servants for Thursday 7 February. The will be protesting against plans by civil service minister Hendrik Bogaert to make major changes to the system of career progression. The unions argue that Bogaert is talking about abolishing the system of training and examinations that are the basis of the current system without being clear about what he wants in its place. The unions are distributing 50000 postcards so that members can send their protests direct to the minister. Read more at > CSC (FR) And at > CGSP (FR) And at > SLFP (FR) And at > VSOA (NL) And at > ACOD (NL) And at > ACV (NL)

Italy - Getting the facts straight on public sector pay

The FP-CGIL, UIL FPL and UIL PA public sector federations have come together to produce data on public sector employment and pay. The aim is to try to counter much of the anti-public sector propaganda that has emerged in recent years. The data is included in a powerpoint presentation that looks at pay trends, overall public sector pay spending as a percentage of GDP and in relation to population. The figures show Italy as comparable with EU averages and other countries and that negotiated pay increases since 2000 have lagged behind inflation by 7.6%. Read more at FP-CGIL (IT)

UK - Civil service union ballots for strike action

PCS, the largest civil service union, is balloting its members for strike action in protest at the government’s refusal to negotiate over pay. Following a two-year pay freeze, the government is imposing a 1% limit on pay increases for a further two years. PCS is also warning that a review of terms and conditions could also mean further cuts. The unions is calling for a pay increase of 5% or £1200 (€1425) for 2013. Read more at > PCS

Slovenia - Public sector strike against pay cuts

Workers across the public sector in Slovenia took strike action on 23 January in protest at government plans to cut jobs and reduce pay by 5%. This follows a pay cut of 3% in 2012. An estimated 100000 workers supported the strike while up to 15000 people joined a national demonstration in Ljubljana. Read more at > Reuters (EN) And at > Sky News (EN)

Ireland - Public sector pay in line with other countries

Public service trade union Impact argues that public sector pay in Ireland is line with that in other countries. The union quotes figures from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as well as its own data from a detailed comparison with public sector jobs in Germany. It also points out that comparisons are often made without taking account of the 7% "pensions levy" imposed by the government in 2009. Read more at > Impact (EN)

France - Day of action over pay and jobs on 31 January

Three public service trade unions - CGT, FSU and Solidaires - have called a day of action, involving strikes, on 31st January. The protest is to put pressure on the government to stop job cuts in the public sector and to agree an across-the-board pay increase for all public sector workers. The unions point out that nearly a million civil servants and public sector employees are on pay rates close to the national minimum wage. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Europe - New framework agreement in central government administrations

The sectoral social dialogue committee for central government administrations has signed its first framework agreement. The agreement for quality service in central government includes a number of key commitments to, among others, efficient public services, equity and integrity, quality of life at work, trade union rights, communication and transparency in relation to users and in the relationship between employers and employees. The text of the agreement is available in French, German, Czech, Romanian, Greek, Spanish and Italian. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Spain - Central government workers face changes to pay and hours

Workers in national administration are facing further changes to their pay and hours with the government planning changes to sick pay, holiday arrangements and working time flexibility. Sick pay will be reduced when on short-term sickness with larger reductions for each subsequent case of sickness absence in each year. Some government offices may be closed completely for two weeks over the summer leaving employees no choice when to take their holiday and their will also be restrictions on working time flexibility so reversing measures that had increased employees’ work-life balance. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Netherlands - Government rejects job security agreement

The government has refused to sign a job security agreement covering central government workers. The unions will take the matter to arbitration and in the meantime will try to secure agreements at ministry level in order to provide protection for their members. The government is also taking a hard line on pay, saying it wants another two years of pay freeze on top of the two-year freeze in 2011 and 2012. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

Finland - Study looks at impact of outsourcing

A new study commissioned by FIPSU, the group of nine public sector unions, finds that in many cases any cost savings arising from outsourcing have been at the expense of employees. The report also found that workers affected by outsourcing end up being covered by inferior collective agreements. The reasons for outsourcing are often political and ideological and many public sector employers were reluctant to reveal what kind of cost savings or quality changes the outsourcing had brought. Read more at > FIPSU (EN)

Finland - Statistics show high level of temporary work and pay gap with permanent workers

The latest data from Statistics Finland show that there continues to be widespread use of fixed-term contracts in the public sector with 23% of workers on temporary contracts. The statistics also show that two-thirds of fixed-term workers would prefer to have a permanent contract. Temporary workers in both public and private sectors are paid less than permanent staff although the pay gap in the public sector is lower at 9% in central government and 8% in local government. Read more at > Trade union news (EN)

Spain - Unions attack new redundancy rules in public sector

Union federations have attacked the introduction of new rules on collective redundancy that will affect 700,000 workers in public administration and around 140,000 workers in companies where the state owns 50% or more of the capital. The unions argue that it will make it much easier to implement large-scale redundancies and that public authorities will be more likely to make arbitrary decisions on cuts that will undermine the provision of public services. They also challenge the government for introducing such a measure when unemployment is at 25% and 117,000 public sector jobs were cut in the last quarter. The unions argue this is another major reasons for workers to support the general strike called for 14 November. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Ukraine - Science academy workers protest over cuts

The EPSU affiliate representing workers at the National Academy of Sciences organised demonstrations in Kiev and regional centres on 10 October to protest at planned cuts to the budget and the failure of the government to implement an agreement on wages concluded earlier this year. The union argues that workers at the Academy have already seen their pay fall in relation to the rest of the economy and the cuts will make this situation work. The government is considering alternatives that might lead to as many as 7718 job cuts. The union says that further protests will follow if there is no response from the government.

Belgium - Unions protest over restructuring of finance ministry

The CSC, CGSP and SLPF public sector trade union federations coordinated a demonstration in Brussels on 9 October in protest at management plans to cuts jobs as part of a plan to reorganise the finance ministry Unions are concerned that staff will be required to change jobs and will lose out in terms of bonuses and other allowances. Read more at > CSC Services Publics (FR)

Italy - Unions will continue to mobilise against cuts

The public sector federations of CGIL and UIL were pleased at the level of support for the public sector-wide strike and the 30000 who joined the national demonstration in Rome. The unions are protesting against the government’s spending review which will see thousands of jobs cut and the termination of contracts for temporary workers. The unions argue that there has been no negotiation over the cuts and promise to maintain their mobilisations against the government plans. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

France - Union fears new government keeping old policies

The CGT public service federation notes that a recent report on the previous government’s key RGPP policy - general review of public policy - acknowledges some of the problems, such as lack of social dialogue, but argues that the policy still needs to be implemented. In the meantime, the union fears that the new government’s plans for job cuts and pay freezes in the public sector will mean there is no real break with the policies of the previous government. Read more at > CGT Services Publics (FR)

Croatia - Four-year agreement for public sector

After several rounds of bargaining, public sector unions have agreed a new four-year collective agreement that maintains pay levels and protects jobs. However, the government was looking to make savings and so the unions have agreed to a temporary cut to Christmas bonuses in 2012 and 2013 and a reduction in holiday grants next year. Read more at > Dalje news website (EN)

Spain - Unions criticise new redundancy rules

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT trade union federations have expressed their concern about new collective redundancy rules to be applied to the public administration sector. The unions see this as not only another attack on the public sector workforce but argue that the rules leave little scope for consultation or negotiation. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

UK - Strike planned over jobs and privatisation

Members of the PCS civil service union are planning a day of strike action on 26 July as part of their continuing campaign against job cuts and privatisation. The workers involved will be from the Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. Read more at > PCS

Denmark - Wages lag behind inflation

The OAO public sector trade union organisation has published data on pay developments across the public and private sectors. It notes that average pay in the state sector fell by 0.6% in the year to February 2012 - the first year of the two-year agreement negotiated in 2011. The report also notes that wage developments across the economy have not kept pace with inflation. The OAO is a coordinating body that brings together 16 trade unions in the state and local government sectors. It has produced English publications on collective agreements in the state sector and on social clauses in procurement. Read more at > OAO (DK) And OAO publications in English at > OAO

Spain - State sector unions’ day of action - 28 June

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT public service federations are coordinating a day of action on 28 June in protest at government policies. The unions will be highlighting the attacks on the state sector and linking the threats to services to increasingly precarious employment and the cuts to workers’ pay and conditions and collective bargaining rights. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Norway - Unions pleased with pay deal following strike action

Public sector unions called off their strike action earlier this month after securing a better pay offer from employers in the municipal and state sectors. Along with a general annual increase of NOK 1200 (€1600), there also higher payments for weekend work and guarantees of equal treatment for temporary workers. The unions say that the increase will keep public sector pay in line with the private sector. Read more at > Fagforbundet (NO) And at > YS Stat (NO)

UK - Union maintains campaign against pension changes

PCS, the main civil service union, is continuing its campaign of protests and strike action over proposed changes to the pension scheme covering central government. Over the next two months PCS members are being urged to support a ban on voluntary overtime and campaigning will be stepped up in the autumn when the union will coordinate action with other public sector unions. Read more at > PCS (EN) And at > PCS

Ireland - National agreement delivers on savings

The Impact and SIPTU trade unions report that the national agreement on jobs, pay and services - the Croke Park agreement - has delivered savings of €1.5 billion over two years. Public sector employment has been reduced by 17300 in the period and more are to go in the next three years but Impact warns that the government needs to be more flexible with its recruitment restrictions. Read more at > Impact (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN)

France - Union surveys contract workers

The CFDT Interco trade union federation that organises in local government and parts of central government is carrying out a major survey of public sector workers on employment contracts. There are around 800,000 public sector workers in France who have a permanent or temporary contract in contrast to civil servants who are covered by statutes. The union is aiming for 8000 responses from this group of workers that will help it formulate key demands on recruitment, pay and employment conditions. Read more at > CFDT (FR)

Norway - Public sector unions gradually build up strike action

Several trade unions in the public sector are involved in strike action that began on Thursday 24 May after attempts at mediation in pay negotiations failed. The unions involved are coordinating their action and gradually increasing the number of workers coming out on strike. At the centre of the dispute are the unions’ efforts to ensure that pay increases in the public sector are in line with those in the private sector. Read more at > news website (EN) And at > Fagforbundet (NO) And at > NTL (NO) And at > YS (NO) And at > Delta (NO) And at > NSF (NO) And at > EL&IT (NO) And at > LO Stat (NO) And at > FO (NO) And at > AVYO (NO)

UK - Further strike action against pension proposals

PCS, the main civil service union, and the Unite trade union with members in the central government and the health service took strike action on 10 May as part of their continuing campaign against government plans for public sector pensions. The two unions have joined forces with the NUT teachers’ union in protest at the proposed pension changes and in particular the prospect of being forced to work to 68 to get a full pension. Read more at > PCS (EN) And at > Unite (EN)

Norway - State sector negotiations in mediation

Negotiations in the state sector have moved into mediation as there was some distance between the trade union demands and the response from the employers. The mediation process runs until 23 May and the trade union side has already given notice of its plans for strike action should the mediation process fail. Read more at > LO Stat (NO)

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)

Slovenia - Biggest public sector strike for 20 years

On Wednesday 18 April workers across the public sector took part in the biggest strike for since the country’s independence. They were protesting against the government’s planned austerity measures that include a proposed 7.5%-10% cut in public sector pay from July. Read more at > STA news website (EN) And at > Ansamed news website (EN) And various stories at > labourstart

France - Public service federations boycott meeting

Seven trade union federations (CFTC, CGT, FA/FPT, FO, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA) have decided not to take part in the April meeting of the general council of the public sector and issued a joint statement criticising the declining quality of social dialogue. The unions argue that the government is not interested in proper negotiations and issues documents and proposals without taking account of the views of trade unions. There is also a question of the resources and time available to the trade unions to respond to new proposals and regulations. Read more at > CGT (FR)

UK - Civil service union plans further action over pensions

Following a ballot of its members in March, PCS, the main civil service union has called a national strike on 10 May coordinated with other unions in the public sector with further national action coordinated with other unions at the end of June. The union is also planning regional protests and rallies on 10 May and action short of a strike including an overtime ban from 11 May until the end of June. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Finland - Latest figures show decline in pay differentials

Statistics Finland has just released data showing the 10-year trend (2001-2010) in pay differentials in the private, local government and central government sectors. The figures compare the pay of the highest paid 10% of employees with the lowest paid 10%. The trends across the three sectors are down in the last couple of years after an upward trend until 2008. The pay differential is lowest in local government where the highest earners get just over twice (2.065) the level of the bottom 10%. Read more at > Statistics Finland (EN)

Germany - Second wave of warning strikes

Ver.di organised a second wave of warning strikes in the lead up to the third round of negotiations covering two million workers in federal and local government. Over 30000 workers were mobilised across the country in childcare, local transport, power stations, administration, refuse collection, hospitals and other services. The pay demand is for a 6.5% increase with a minimum increase of €200 a month. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

UK - Health workers vote on pensions changes

Members of Unison are being balloted over what the government says is its final offer on pension reform for the National Health Service. The proposals maintain a defined benefit scheme with a move towards career average in 2015; health workers earning less than £26558 (€31870) a year will not see an increase in their pension payments this year; all benefits built up in existing schemes will be protected and will maintain the final salary link at retirement; and members within 10 years of retirement will receive protection. Members of the Unite union have already rejected the deal and other unions including the RCN nurses’ union and GMB general workers are considering their position. The PCS union has rejected the proposed changes to the civil service pension scheme and will be planning further action and campaigning. Read more at > Unison (EN) And at > Unite (EN) And at > PCS (EN)

Germany - Warning strikes across the public sector

Around 130,000 workers from different parts of the federal government and across local government will be involved in strikes this week following the first round of negotiations on pay. Ver.di and other unions had put forward a 6.5% pay claim (with minimum increase of €200) but the employers not only failed to make an offer but asked the unions to withdraw their claim. The warning strikes are aimed to show the employers the strength of feeling of workers as the next negotiations were taking place on 12 and 13 March. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Netherlands - Unions air their views to minister over lack of progress in state sector

Public sector trade unions had a chance to meet the new interior minister, Liesbeth Spies, and express their grievances over the failure to make any progress on the negotiations covering civil servants. The unions continue to press for a protection of purchasing power, training for workers threatened with redundancy and better career prospects for young workers. The lack of response from the employers has lead the unions to take action and the work-to-rule by FNV Abvakabo members at Schiphol Airport will part of that campaign. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And on the Schiphol action at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

Belgium - Notice of industrial action in unemployment benefit service

The CSC public services union has given formal notice of its intention to take industrial action over employment and working conditions at the CAPAC/HVW unemployment benefit service. The union is unhappy about the dismissal of contract workers and compulsory relocation of those with statutory rights. It is also critical of the failure of changed opening hours for office and of the pressure and even threats faced by workers. The union wants to see a proper process of social dialogue to try to resolve these issues. Read more at > CSC (FR)

Belgium - Prison workers highlight problems of overcrowding

Trade unions at the Forest prison in Brussels called an emergency meeting with employers under social dialogue procedures on 1 March to raise the urgent problem of overcrowding, made more acute by the need to find space to isolate several cases of tuberculosis. The prison’s capacity is 405 but it has 715 inmates. The unions organised internal actions, including a go-slow, during the week beginning 5 March to underline the problems created by overcrowding and the lack of investment in the prison and understaffing. The unions want a meeting with the Minister of Justice to tackle the issue across all Belgian prisons. Read more at > CGPS (FR)

Germany - Union wants 6.5% increase for federal and local government workers

In the upcoming negotiations covering workers in federal and local government, ver.di is calling for a 6.5% pay increase with a minimum guaranteed rise of €200 that would benefit lower paid employees. The union also wants to see apprentices offered permanent jobs and an increase of €100 to the apprentice allowance. Ver.di argues that public sector workers saw the value of their pay fall by 0.6% in real terms last year and they need a decent increase so that they don’t get left behind by the private sector. The union also maintains that the pay rise will be an important boost to the economy. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Belgium - Pensions pressures lead to industrial action

The CSC public services union called for strike action in provincial offices of the national pensions service from 21 February. The union is responding to excessive pressure on staff arising from a number of factors including the rise in the numbers claiming pensions, the increase in enquiries resulting from the national debate over pensions reform, difficulties arising from poor communications from the service and a transfer of responsibilities to the provincial offices without any appropriate allocation of additional resources. Read more at > CSC (FR) And at >ACV Openbare Diensten (NL)

Ireland - Unions to negotiate on changes to allowances for new workers

The Impact public services union is calling for overtime rates to be maintained and low-paid workers to be protected in advance of negotiations over cuts to allowances. Workers newly recruited to the public sector or those promoted to new jobs are set to lose some allowances. The government has said that certain allowances – such as those for arduous work or unsocial hours – will be maintained but others will be cut. The unions have underlined the need to keep to the consultation requirements of the Croke Park national agreement and argue that while overtime hours have been cut there should be not cut to overtime rates. Read more at > Impact (EN)

Israel - National strike over rights of subcontracted workers

On 8 February the Histradut trade union confederation organised a nationwide strike over the government’s use of subcontracted workers in different sectors. Unions have been calling for better pay and conditions and full employment rights for around 400000 subcontractors’ employees. While the government has indicated it will improve pay and conditions it has not agreed on full employment rights. Read more at > CNN news website (EN)

Hungary - Union organises protest over cuts to culture sector

The KKDSZ trade union, representing workers in museums, libraries and other cultural institutions is organising a demonstration on 22nd January, traditionally the Day of Hungarian Culture, to coincide with the presentation of awards by the Minister of Culture. The aim of the protest is to highlight the impact of cuts on the culture sector which have included laying off 20% of the workforce since January. The county museums and libraries have become state-owned without any negotiations with trade unions and subsidies have been reduced from their already low level.

Spain - Pay freeze in 2012 means 13% loss of purchasing power

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT public service federations have criticised the centre-right government for imposing a further pay freeze in the public sector in 2012. The previous socialist government had imposed an average 5% cut in 2010 followed by a pay freeze in 2011. Unions estimate that the combined effect of these measures is that public sector workers will have seen the purchasing power of their salaries fall by 13% in real terms over three years. They have also criticised the freeze on recruitment, particularly at a time of such high unemployment and above all among younger people. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

France - Unions challenge minister on low pay in public sector

Seven public service federations (CFDT, CFTC, CGC, CGT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA) have written a joint letter to the Public Service Minister on the question of minimum pay and the purchasing power of public sector workers. The unions are unhappy about the unilateral decision by the ministry to increase the minimum salary in the public sector to bring it in line with the national minimum wage that was recently increased by 2.1%, while maintaining an overall freeze on public sector pay. The unions are calling for an increase to the index point on which all public sector salaries are based, along with a further increase to take account of several years of below-inflation pay rises. They also want to see a general review of the public sector pay system. The FO-Fonctionnaire federation has also criticised the ministry’s policy and called for a 5% increase on the public sector pay index point as well as allocating an additional 44 points to all public sector salaries. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > FO-Fonctionnaires (FR)

Germany - Federal and local negotiations to begin on 1st March

Public services union ver.di is preparing for negotiations over one of the main public sector agreements that will begin on 1st March. These will cover Federal and Local Government; regional government workers are covered by a separate agreement. The collective bargaining committee for Federal and Local Government will meet on 9 February to decide on the main elements of this year’s pay claim. The agreement includes publicly-owned utilities and one of the aims of the negotiations will be to prevent a gap opening up between the public and private sector where pay increases recently have been in the order of 3% or more. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Denmark - Pay increase for state workers adjusted in line with private sector

State employees will see their pay increase by 1.3% on 1 April rather than the 1.7% forecast as part of the two-year agreement negotiated last year. This is part of the public sector pay mechanism that makes adjustments to keep pay in the state sector in line with developments in the private sector. Pay increases in the private sector turned out lower than anticipated. Read more at > OAO (DK)

Netherlands - Violence in prisons linked to cutbacks increased workloads

Intimidation, aggression and violence are still a major problem in prisons according to a new report by the labour inspectorate. The FNV Abvakabo trade union notes that there haven’t been any major improvements since 2008 when a plan to improve working conditions was formulated. A survey then identified problems in in 63% of institutions while the latest findings of the labour inspectorate indicate this figure has risen to 79%. The union argues that initiatives to tackle violence have been limited by spending cutbacks and it says that information received thanks to its hotline for staff reveals clearly that increased workloads and inadequate staffing are major factors in the continuing problem of violence in the system. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

UK - Mixed reactions to pension proposals

Following the public sector wide strike on 30 November, the government has come up with revised proposals for the various public sector schemes which unions are now trying to evaluate. In the health sector the government is now saying that those within 10 years of retirement will not be affected and there will be no contributions increase next year for those earning less than £26000 (€31300) a year. This goes some way to meeting union demands. In local government the unions – Unison, Unite and GMB – had seen the basis for negotiations to resume in January but have suspended agreement to this following a statement from the minister responsible for local government. The main civil service union, PCS, has rejected the latest government offer which it says will mean higher contributions, less protection against inflation and a retirement age rising to 68. Read more on health pensions at > UNISON (EN) And on local government at > UNISON (EN) And at > PCS (EN)

France - Figures expose fall in public sector pay in relation to minimum wage

Inflation in the year to October 2011 at 2% has lead to an automatic increase in the minimum wage to €1393.82 a month. This has major implications for the public sector where pay has failed to keep pace with inflation for many years. Even the government acknowledges that nearly a fifth of all public sector workers (890,000 out of five million) will see their pay increase as a result of the rise in the minimum wage. The CGT points out that this exposes the extent to which public sector pay has fallen behind developments in the minimum wage. The starting point for workers classified as category B is now just 3% above the minimum wage compared to 23% in 1986. Read more at > CGT Services Publics (FR)

Finland - State sector agreement confirmed

Wages and salaries of all employees in the state sector will be increased from the beginning of March 2012 by 1.9% but with a minimum increase worth €39.50 per month. In addition in March a lump sum of €150 will be paid. A further pay rise of 1.4% will be paid in April 2013. In addition, 1 March 2012 and 1 March 2013 wages and salaries will be increased on average by 0.5% on the basis of the outcome of local negotiations. Unions welcome the fact that lower paid workers will benefit from having the minimum amount set in euros. According to Eurostat the latest figure for inflation in Finland is 3.2%. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Finland - Survey reveals widespread job cuts and increase pressure of work

Nearly three in four state sector workers report an increase in workloads while there have been work reorganisations in nine out of 10 workplaces. These are among the main findings of Pardia’s latest membership survey, based on responses from over 2,500 employees. The survey shows continuing concerns about job security and an increase in pressure of work, stress from unfinished work and mental fatigue. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Spain - Union organizes protests over pay and conditions in Public Employment Service

The FSP-UGT public services federation organized protest action starting on 26 October over the deterioration of pay and conditions in the Public Employment Services. The union says that inadequate staffing has lead to some employees taking work home to try to maintain the level of service. The federation says that there also problems in relation to pay levels and other working conditions, problems which were made more challenging following the merger with the Fogasa wage guarantee fund. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Austria - No response to unions’ 4.65% pay claim

Public sector unions GÖD and GDG-KMSFB have submitted a 4.65% pay claim for 2012. The amount is based on compensation for inflation (2.95%) plus a half of the overall rate of economic growth (3.45%). The unions say they are determined to secure an increase in purchasing power for all public sector workers. Read more at > GDG-KMSFB (DE)

Europe - European Commission unions threaten strike action

Trade unions represented European Commission staff organized a rally on 9 November and have threatened strike action in response to European Commission plans to cut 5% of all staff, increase the working week and raise the retirement age. The EU staff unions are also angry that Member States are putting pressure on the Commission to cut staff pay rather than apply the agreed pay formula that links increases to the pay increases in eight Member States. Read more at > European Voice news website (EN)

Portugal - Union focuses on urgent staff shortages in social security

The SINTAP public service trade union met with the Secretary of State for Social Security last month to discuss the major staff shortages affecting the department. A wide range of posts are unfilled and a report of the latest situation is due to be finished by the end of November and will be discussed with the union at the beginning of December. Despite the difficult circumstances the union believes there is scope for negotiation, highlighting in particular to address problems with the pay and career structure. Read more at > SINTAP (PT)

Ukraine - Scientists’ union organizes demonstration

Around 1000 members of EPSU affiliate the Trade Union of the National Ukrainian Academy of Sciences took part in a protest outside the government and parliament on 19 October. They were calling for an increase in the Academy’s budget for 2012 not just to ensure better pay for workers but also to ensure that the Academy continued to maintain the level and quality of its research work.

Finland - Catering workers threatened with pay cut

The JHL public services union is concerned that government plans to transfer the Ministry of Defence catering service to a new company will lead to large pay cuts for many of the workers. The transfer would mean workers being covered by a different collective agreement and this could involve pay cuts of around €200 a month and possibly as much as €400 for some workers. JHL highlights the impact this will have on the gender pay gap as most of the catering workers are women. Read more at > JHL (EN)

France - Driving test examiners and road safety workers take strike action

The FO civil service federation is supporting strike action by driving test examiners and other workers dealing with driving licences and road safety. The Ministry undertook to revalue salaries in the section in 2007 but four years later with increasing pressures of work and lengthy negotiations, the civil servants are still waiting for the salary review to be implemented. Read more at > FO Fonctionnaires (FR)

France - Union mobilises justice workers over working conditions and service quality

The CFDT-Interco public services federation has called for all workers in the judiciary to demonstrate outside court houses on 11 October. The protests will highlight the succession of reforms in the service that have been carried out without taking account of the needs of the workers and the increasing workloads for staff who are suffering more and more from stress. The union is also concerned about the falling real value of salaries, the failure to recognize staff skills and the threat to a service that should be accessible to all. Read more at > CFDT (FR)

Netherlands - No progress with civil service negotiations

Talks between unions and the government on the main civil service agreement have broken down. At one point it appeared that the employers would consider a lower pay rise along with an agreement on job security but in the end they were insisting on a pay freeze with no commitment on jobs. FNV Abvakabo is planning action from next month to put pressure on the employers while CNV Publieke Zaak is still considering its next move. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

Ireland - Union rejects calls for further cuts

The IMPACT public service union has stressed that the current agreement on public sector cost savings (Croke Park) is delivering and is on course to meet the 2011 targets in terms of savings and job reductions, with payroll savings alone of €290 million, 30% ahead of target. The union was reacting to statements by former European Central Bank director Jürgen Stark who also claimed that public sector pay in Ireland was too high. Read more at > IMPACT (EN)

France - Union criticizes introduction of bonus payments in public service

The CGT-UGFF civil service federation is heavily critical of a new system of incentive payments introduced into the public sector. The union is not convinced that such payments, mirroring the profit-linked “prime d’intéressement” in the private sector, can really reflect performance in the public sector which depends on very different criteria. The CGT-UGFF also believes that no extra money will be available for the payments which will effectively be funded by job cuts. Read more at > CGT UGFF (FR)

France - Latest figures on loss of purchasing power

The UGFF-CGT state sector federation has updated its figures on the loss of purchasing power faced by public sector workers since 2000. While inflation has risen by more than 21% over this period, the index point used to calculate public sector salaries has increased by only 9%. To show the impact of this, the UGFF-CGT gives examples of different salaries and what they would have been, had they kept up with inflation. The loss of purchasing power is anything from €181 to €538 per month, depending on the level of salary. Read more at > UGFF-CGT (FR)

Europe - Collective bargaining and social dialogue in public administration

The EIRO industrial relations observatory has published a survey looking at representation in the public administration sector across Europe. This includes information on the trade unions that organize in the sector and the structures of collective bargaining and social dialogue. There is a comparative overview as well as individual country reports. Read more at > EIRO (EN)

UK - Civil servants support call for strike action

Member of the PCS, the largest civil service union, have supported a call for strike action in protest at government changes to pensions and cuts in jobs. There was a 61% majority in favour of strike action in the ballot with just under 84% backing other forms of industrial action. The union is now preparing for a first day of action on 30 June. This would coincide with strike action already called by two teaching unions and the university and college lecturers’ union. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Ireland - Unions continue to negotiate public sector savings

The IMPACT public services union has welcomed the latest report on the savings and restructuring being carried out under the Croke Park national agreement. Staff redeployment, workplace reforms and increased productivity have all contributed to the reduction of costs and the maintenance of services. The unions’ commitment to the agreement means there will be no compulsory redundancies or further cuts in pay. Read more at > IMPACT (EN)

Netherlands - Airport action begins campaign by civil servants

A demonstration at Schiphol airport on 21 June was the start of a campaign by trade unions calling for a new collective agreement in the state sector. Negotiations over a new agreement have stalled since February with government and unions failing to agree over pay and redundancies. The action will focus on civil servants’ purchasing power, a jobs guarantee and employment initiatives for young people. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And at > CNV Publieke Zaak (NL)

Finland - New government makes commitment on job security and productivity

The JHL public sector union has welcomed some of the elements of the new government’s programme. It is pleased about the commitment to offer a new job security agreement in the municipal sector when the current agreement expires in 2013. The union also welcomes the decision to end the productivity scheme in the state sector. This problems with this scheme were discussed in detail at EPSU’s recent meeting on productivity in the public services in Vilnius. Read more at > JHL (EN) And on the productivity meeting at > EPSU (EN)

UK - Civil service union ballots on industrial action

The PCS public services union is balloting its 250,000 civil service members over industrial action in protest at changes to pensions, redundancy arrangements, pay freezes and job cuts. The union has also signed an agreement with the Unite trade union to work together in their anti-cuts campaigning. Read more at > PCS And at > PCS

Spain - Federations criticize employment plans

Both the FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT public service federations have attacked the latest plans for recruitment and promotion to the general state administration. The unions argue that the numbers taken on are inadequate and taken with low levels of recruitment last year will pose a threat to services. The government has a policy of filling only one in 10 posts that become vacant and the unions argue that this is nonsense in a country where unemployment is approaching five million. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

Poland - Union pursues legal challenge over cuts in public administration

The Solidarnosc union is backing a legal challenge to government legislation that allows for a 10% in employment in public administration. A key part of the union case is that while the cuts might deliver savings in the short term, their long-term results would have a negative impact on public services. Solidarnosc organised a demonstration outside the hearing. Read more at > Solidarnosc (PL)

UK - Civil servants vote on industrial action as cuts spread

PCS, the main civil service union, reports that around a third of its members in different government departments are currently voting on industrial action in response to a range of threats to jobs and working conditions as pressure mounts from public sector spending cuts. The union may also ballot for national industrial action over cuts and proposed changes to public sector pensions. This could be co-ordinated with other public sector unions. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Finland - Pay deals agreed in municipal and state sectors

Unions in the state and municipal sectors have managed to secure improved offers from the employers. In the municipal sector there will be a 1.2% rise on 1 May 2011 plus 0.8% for local negotiations. In addition, a €100 bonus for many employee groups - will be paid in May. Overall, the cost impact of the agreement is 2.4%, in line with the projected rate of inflation. The agreement expires at the end of 2011. In the state sector wages and salaries will be raised by 1.3% backdated to 1 February 2011. On 1 May 2011 there will be a locally negotiated increase of 0.5% and 0.2% as an equality component. The agreement runs to 29 February 2012. Read more at > JHL (EN) And at > Pardia (EN)

Finland - Union organizes equal pay day

The Pardia public services union organized a campaigning equal pay day on 3 March. The aim of the campaign was to highlight the success of getting the 0.2% equal pay allowance in the latest state sector agreement. The union is also using the day to keep the focus on equal pay in the run up to the forthcoming general election to try to ensure that the next government includes equal pay in its legislative programme. Read more at > Pardia (EN) And further at > Pardia (EN)

Denmark - Two-year agreement in state sector

EPSU affiliate OAO reports that a two-year agreement has been negotiated in the state sector with 3.15% for pay over the period. However, state sector pay developments are linked to private sector increases and relatively high increases (12.8%) in the previous three-year agreement means that state sector increases were 1.48% ahead of the private sector. This means there is an effective pay freeze in 2011 to allow catching up by the private sector. The 1.7% increase in 2012 corresponds to forecast inflation. The unions are pleased that they have resisted the Ministry of Finance’s attempts to implement further decentralization of wages and to increase working time. The full report from the OAO is on the EPSU website. Read more at > EPSU (EN)

Finland - Latest on municipal and state sector negotiations

Public service union JHL has rejected a pay offer for municipal workers that would mean an increase of less than 1.0% for 2011. The employers’ offer consists of 0.8% from 1 May and then a locally negotiated increase of 0.7% from 1 September. The union is aiming to negotiate an increase that at least protects workers against price increases and inflation is currently 2.4%. In the state sector the Pardia trade union is also looking for an across-the-board increase to protect purchasing power. In addition it is aiming to get increases at agency level and an element to make further progress on equal pay. Read more at > JHL (EN) And at > Pardia (EN)

France - Latest figures show 10-year pay trend below inflation

The FGFFO civil service trade union has produced a briefing on public sector pay that shows that the basic annual increase has exceeded inflation in only one of the last 11 years. The loss in purchasing power over the period is around 8%. Inflation in 2011 is expected to reach 2% while pay has been frozen until 2013. The UGFF-CGT federation has carried out a similar exercise including calculations for a sample of salary grades indicating what the loss of purchasing power means for gross pay. If pay had kept pace with inflation since 2000 then administrative workers would be between €153 and €230 better off. Read the briefing TRACT SALAIRES on the home page at > FGFFO (FR) And more at > UGFF-CGT (FR)

Finland - Union supports call to abandon government productivity scheme

The Pardia public service union is supporting the proposal from the National Audit Office (NAO) to end the state productivity scheme. Both the NAO and Pardia argue that the programme has become little more than a programme of cuts in staffing. Pardia in particular highlights the failure to do more to boost productivity through new forms of work organization and innovative practices initiated by public sector employees. Latest evidence suggests that productivity has declined while stress and burnout have increased. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

UK - 48-hour strike by call-centre staff

Around 2,400 members of the PCS civil service union took two days’ of strike action in protest at call targets set by management. The employees work for the Job Centre Plus part of the Department of Work and Pensions and they argue that the targets put them under excessive pressure while failing to take account of the level of service provided to enquirers who may have serious worries about their welfare benefits. Read more at > PCS

Belgium - Call-centre workers have had enough

The three union federations representing call-centre workers employed by the federal government have submitted a number of key demands to management over staffing levels and working conditions. The unions argue that failure to recruit adequate numbers is putting an intolerable burden on employees who are being forced to work excessive hours as well as regular weekend shifts. The unions warn of strike action if nothing is done and are calling for better training, working conditions and career development for call-centre workers. Read more at > CGSP (FR)

Italy - Some positive results from campaign to protect precarious workers

Two regional agreements in the health sector and one covering employees dealing with migrant workers mean that many fixed-term workers will have their contracts extended rather than face dismissal this month. The FP-CGIL has been campaigning against government legislation that posed a threat to tens of thousands of temporary workers across the public services. These new agreements will provide some protection but the union will continue its campaign to ensure more fixed-term workers get their contracts renewed. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

Belgium - Negotiations set to start over asylum service workers transfer to civil service

The CCSP/CCOD and CGSP/ACOD public service federations have managed some progress in their campaign to get employees of the FEDASIL asylum service transferred to the federal civil service. The employees have been on fixed-term contracts and lower rates of pay than and the unions have been pushing for an end to precarious employment conditions. An agreement will be put to the unions on 17 January beginning a lengthy process of negotiation over the practical details. Read more at > CSC (FR)

Netherlands - No progress from meeting with Minister

Public service union Abvakabo reports that a meeting with the home affairs minister was disappointing in terms of the prospects for the negotiations over a new agreement covering the civil service. The minister confirmed that the government would be looking for job cuts and a pay freeze. The union reaffirmed its call for a 2% pay increase and a stop on job cuts. It argued in particular that redundancies would be s short-sighted measure in view of the increasing trend to retirement arising from the ageing public sector workforce. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL)

Czech Republic - Austerity measures lead to 2,500 job cuts in ministries with more expected

Nearly 2,500 workers across 10 ministries were made redundant in 2010. This is below the expected number of 4,000 but more job cuts are expected in 2011. Ministries were told to reduce their pay bill by 10% and some are doing this through a combination of job and pay cuts rather than just reducing employment. Read more at > Czech news website (EN)

UK - Union attacks unfairness of performance-related pay

The main civil service union, PCS, has called for the abolition of performance-related pay in the civil service. In reaction to news that £40 million (€47.2m) was distributed as performance-related bonuses in the Ministry of Defence alone, the union argues that this should be distributed more fairly among all workers. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Europe - EPSU success in state sector social dialogue

A European sectoral social dialogue has been formally set up in the state sector after years of lobbying and negotiating by EPSU and its affiliates in national and European administration. EPSU will work alongside the CESI federation in the TUNED trade union group that was created in the lead up to formal recognition. The employers’ group EUPAE covers countries with around 60% of all state sector workers across Europe but both unions and employers hope that the level of participation will increase once the committee is up and running. Read more at > EPSU (EN) And at > DG Employment (EN)

Austria - Pay increases in outsourced services

The GÖD public services union reports several negotiated pay rises in agreements that are now negotiated separately from the main public sector agreement. All five agreements will see pay increases from 1 January 2011. In the universities it will be €34.50 a month, meaning a 2.5% increase for the lowest paid. There is a 0.7% increase in the Academy of Sciences but a minimum rise of €35. Workers in the Employment Service will get 1.25% while employees at Research Austria will get 2.1%. The pay rise in the Federal Computing service will be 1% with a €45 minimum and 1% on additional payments, meaning 2.87% for the lowest paid. Read more at > GÖD (DE)

Italy - Immigration workers strike against ending fixed-term contracts

The three main union federations in the public service have organised strike action by staff working for the police and immigration services. They are protesting against a decision to terminate thousands of fixed-term contracts at the end of the year. The unions argue that this will undermine the crucial services that these workers provide some of whom have been employed for up to seven years. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) And at > FP CISL (IT)

Ukraine - President orders cuts of at least 30% in civil service

Austerity measures are not just biting across the European Union. On 9 December, President Viktor Yanukovych ordered the Cabinet of Ministers to cut the number of civil servants working in central bodies of the executive by at least 30% and the number of civil servants working for the Secretariat of the Cabinet of Ministers by at least 50% as part of a process of central government reorganization.

Netherlands - Unions get meeting with Minister before Christmas

FNV Abvakabo and other public sector unions are due to meet the Minister on 23 February in order to try to make some progress on negotiations for a new collective agreement covering civil servants. So far the employers have offered neither a pay increase nor any negotiations on the job losses arising from public spending cuts. Meanwhile after tough negotiations in the last bargaining rounds in the municipalities and provinces, unions are already preparing themselves for negotiations next year. The first step involves a questionnaire to members to get their views on bargaining priorities. Read more at > FNV Abvakabo (NL) And on the > municipalities (NL) And on the > provinces (NL)

France - Prison officers take action

Unions in the prison sector organised strike action on 15 November and plan further action from 24 November over jobs and working conditions. The unions are calling for negotiations over plans to shut facilities as well as over staffing levels and employment conditions. In general they are demanding a proper process of social dialogue in the sector. Read more at > CFDT (FR) And at > Figaro news website (FR)

Spain - Prison unions demonstrate over working conditions

The five trade unions in the prison sector, including the FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT, called a national demonstration for 25 November to protest over pay, working conditions and overcrowding. The unions are angry that the prison employers have failed to abide by collective agreements and accuse them of presiding over a chaotic management system. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Europe - European Union officials to get full pay rise

The European Court of Justice has ruled that national governments cannot block the implementation of an agreed formula for pay increases for European Union officials. The formula is linked to pay increases in a number of member states and the latest increase is for 3.7%. National governments had called for an increase of only 1.85% in recognition of the cuts being imposed on many public sector workers across Europe. Read more at > euractive news website (EN)

UK - Dispute over redundancy pay scheme continues

The PCS civil service union has criticised the government for refusing to support a proposal for changes to the redundancy compensation scheme that would provide better protection for lower paid workers. The government is pressing ahead with changes that would introduce new limits of 12 months’ pay for compulsory redundancy and 15 months’ pay for voluntary redundancy in the short term, with the prospect of a 21-month maximum for voluntary redundancy in the longer term. Read more at > PCS (EN)

UK - Union continues to resist government plans to cut redundancy pay

The PCS civil service union is challenging the government over its plans to make substantial cuts in the redundancy compensation scheme. The union it is still prepared to negotiate with the government over the scale of the reductions. The union took the previous government to the High Court over the scheme. The Court confirmed that the scheme could not altered without the agreement of all six unions in the civil service. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Czech Republic - National protest against wage cut proposals

Public sector workers including health employees, firefighters and police are set to join a demonstration on 21 September against government plans to cut civil service pay in 2011. The proposals are part of the budget cuts put forward by the new government and the health union warns of the risk that the cuts could be deeper than the 10% being talked about. Unions are also concerned about planned government reforms of the Labour Code which they believe are aimed at weakening employee rights to make the labour market more “flexible”. Read more at > Czech news website (EN) Read more at > Statorg (CZ)

Poland - Unions to demonstrate against pay freeze

Public sector unions are building for a major demonstration on 22 September in protest at the government’s plans to freeze pay in 2011 as part of cuts strategy. Unions in the state sector are calling for an increase of 5.3% next year. Read more at > Polish news website (EN)

Romania - Unions co-ordinate legal action against government

The Sed-Lex civil service federation is urging individual members to pursue legal action against the government and challenge the imposition of the 25% cut in pay that was implemented from 1 July this year. The union is also considering taking a case to the European Court of Human Rights. Another public sector union, Publisind, is also co-ordinating action among its members. Read more at > Sed Lex (RO)

Turkey - Two union federations leave civil service negotiations

A pay agreement for 2011 has been negotiated in the civil service but with only one union federation, Memur-Sen, supporting the increase. Both Kamu-Sen and KESK left the negotiations at different points in protest at the way they were being run by the government. KESK also wanted the negotiations postponed until after the referendum and the possibility that unions would have a clear right to strike if constitutional changes are agreed. The negotiations will deliver two 4% pay increases in each half of 2011 plus TL80 (€41) for all workers. Read more at > Hurriyet news website (EN) And further at > Hurriyet

UK - Union attacks scale of fixed-term staff in civil service

The PCS civil service union has criticized the ministerial employers for using over 4,000 fixed-term workers across 20 departments. The union campaigns for fixed-term staff to be given permanent contracts and argues that these workers are often employed on different pay and conditions from those of permanent workers. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Spain - Federation challenges opening up of public sector to employment agencies

The FSP-UGT public services federation has published a report examining the question of employment agencies and whether a change in the law will allow unlimited use of agency workers across public administration from 1 January 2011. The Federation is not convinced that the law will remove all restrictions on employment agencies and says that it will maintain its opposition to their use on the grounds that they imply an increase in precarious employment conditions and lead to outsourcing and privatisation as well as creating a two-tier workforce. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

UK - Government plans cuts to civil service redundancy scheme

The PCS civil service union may return to the courts to defend the current redundancy compensation scheme. The union won two court rulings against the previous government that had tried to change the scheme without proper negotiation. Despite those rulings, the new coalition government is pushing through legislation to cut the scheme. PCS is also challenging the government’s claims about the scheme, arguing that it has exaggerated the levels of compensation by focusing on the maximum payments for those with the longest service. Read more at > PCS

Portugal - Day of action on 8 July

Unions in the CGTP confederation are backing a day of action on 8 July as part of the continuing campaign against government austerity measures. The STAL union argues that after the support shown by 300,000 workers on 29 May, it was important to maintain the pressure on the government and its proposals to freeze salaries and attack services and other conditions of employment. Read more at > STAL (PT)

France - Seven union organizations co-ordinate action over pensions

Unions plan to continue their protests and resistance against government plans to raise the pension age. The CGT, CFDT, FO, CFCT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA argue that the proposals fail to take account of workers, particularly women, with irregular contribution records and those employed in difficult and dangerous occupations. Following the day of action on 29 June, the unions are committed to maintain their opposition throughout the legislative process and will organize the next day of action on 7 September the opening of the debate in parliament. Read more at > CGT (FR) Read more at > FO (FR)

Italy - Over a million workers demonstrate over government austerity measures

The CGIL confederation organized a national strike on 25 June with its members in the private sector called out for a four-hour stoppage while the FP-CGIL public sector federation organized a 24-hour strike in the public sector. The confederation estimates that over a million people joined demonstrations around the country in protest against the government’s planned spending cuts that include a three-year pay freeze for public sector workers and cuts in productivity payments. Read more at > CGIL (EN)

Greece - Confederations unite in fifth general strike against austerity measures

The ADEDY public sector and GSEE private sector union confederation organized their fifth general strike on 29 June in protest against government cuts to the social security system and changes to employment legislation. Read more at > ADEDY (EL) And at > Bloomberg news website (EN)

Spain - Federations pose legal challenge to government pay cuts

The three public service federations in the CCOO confederation – Citizens Services, Education and Health – have come together to challenge the legality of the government imposed pay cuts. They argue, for example, that the government cannot rely on the need to take emergency measures as the crisis had been known about for some time and so could not be claimed to an “extraordinary and urgent necessity”. The federations also argue that the government has undermined fundamental rights and in particular the right to collective bargaining. The FSP-UGT federation is also looking at legal challenges to the changes and has submitted an appeal against the pay cut as well as calling for a judicial review of the way the government has handled the changes. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Europe - Pay trends analysed across in Europe and in civil service

The latest annual pay survey from the EIRO industrial relations observatory shows a drop in average negotiated pay increases in 2009. The overall average fell from 5.1% in 2008 to 4.2% in 2009 while in the Eurozone the increases were lower, down from 3.9% in 2008 to 3.2% in 2009. The civil service increase in 2009 was lower again at 2.9%, down from 4.2% in 2008, with seven countries already registering a pay freeze in 2009. Read more at > EIRO (EN)

Finland - Unions defend collective agreement at Vehicle Inspectorate

The Pardia public services union reports that strike action by unions at the Vehicle Inspectorate has prevent the employer from imposing a new collective agreement on workers. The aim of the employer had been to unilaterally imposed the Finnish Central Organisation for Motor Trades agreement which would have meant a deterioration of employment conditions for Vehicle Inspectorate workers. The industrial action has meant the unions have been able to maintain the company-specific collective agreement. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Italy - Federation looks to lower level bargaining on pay

The FPS-CISL public services federation has attacked the government’s plans for a three-year pay freeze for public sector workers. However, the union also believes that lower level bargaining offers an opportunity to negotiate productivity improvements and pay increases for workers. It wants the government to reiterate its support for decentralized bargaining, to confirm that funds for local bargaining will be maintained and that there will be union involvement in negotiating restructuring at local level. Read more at > FPS-CISL (IT)

Ireland - Union to consult with branches over further action

The CPSU civil service has suspended in industrial action while it consults with branches during July, with the possibility of balloting over action again in September. A majority within the union voted to reject the “Croke Park” agreement – the national agreement that has since been supported by the public service committee in the ICTU confederation. The CPSU executive committee had recommended rejection on the basis that the deal didn’t do enough to protect low paid workers. Read more at > CPSU (EN)

France - Unions walk out of government talks on pay

The eight union organizations in the public sector (CGT, CFDT, FO, CFTC, UNSA, FSU, Solidaires and CGC) twice walked out of meeting with the government at the end of June. On 25 June they ended the meeting when the government failed to make any response to their demands that action was needed to address the 9% loss of purchasing power since 2000. On 30 June they walked out demanding that the government open proper negotiations after being told that the 2010 pay increase would be 0.5% as set unilaterally by the government in 2008, followed by a pay freeze for 2011-2013. Read more at > CGT Services Publics (FR) And at > CGT Services Publics (FR)

Spain - General strike called for 29 September

Following the public sector strike on 8 June, the main confederations have called for a general strike on 29 September in protest at the government plans for public spending cuts and labour law reforms. This is the date of the ETUC’s European-wide mobilization with its key demands of “No cuts, more growth.” The Spanish unions have other action planned in the meantime with mobilizations in the regions on 30 June and then in Madrid on 9 September. Read more at > FSC CCOO (ES) And at > FSP UGT (ES)

Italy - Federation follows demonstration with strike action

The FP CGIL public services federation has reacted to government plans to cut public spending by organizing a national demonstration on 12 June and this will be followed by a national public strike in most regions on 25 June (with action in some regions on 2 July). The cuts will have a direct impact on public sector workers’ pay. Previously agreed pay increases will be reduced and workers are also likely to lose the productivity-related elements of their salaries. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) And at > FP CGIL (IT)

Portugal - Demonstrations culminate with delivery of protest letter to prime minister

Four days of trade union demonstrations around the country lead up to the delivery of a protest letter to the prime minister on 17 June by public sector trade unions in the FESAP federation. The unions have attacked the government’s plans to freeze public sector pay and its other proposals for public spending. The unions are particularly angry about the failure of the government to maintain any process of social dialogue. Read more at > SINTAP (PT)

Greece - Confederations continue to protest

A national rally organized on 16 June was the most recent action co-ordinated by the ADEDY public sector and GSEE private sector trade union confederations. The protest was not only over the cuts in public sector pay that will see workers lose up to 35% of pay in real terms over the next four years, but also in opposition to the wide range of other measures the government is pushing through including changes to labour law that will undermine collective agreements. Read more at > ADEDY (GR)

Ireland - Majority of public services unions vote to accept deal with government

The public services unions in the ICTU confederation have voted to accept the so-called Croke Park deal. The agreement commits the government not to cut public service pay again, and to begin the process of reversing recent pay cuts as savings flow from the substantial reforms set out in the deal. It also contains a government commitment to avoid compulsory redundancies, plus important safeguards on pensions and outsourcing. Public service pay has been cut by an average of 14% over the last 16 months through the so-called ‘pension levy’ and reductions in pay scales introduced in the last budget. Read more at > Impact (EN)

UK - Civil service union wins second court ruling on redundancy scheme

Following its earlier victory over the government, the PCS civil service union has won a second High Court ruling over the redundancy compensation scheme. After the first ruling the government was supposed to agree changes to the scheme with the union. However, the two sides didn’t agree and in this second ruling the court has said that most of the government-imposed changes (apart from those dealing with age discrimination) to the scheme are null and void. The new coalition government will now have to negotiate with the union if it wants to make any changes to the scheme. Read more at > PCS (EN)

France - National demonstration planned over pension reforms

Five union organizations (CFDT, CGT, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA) are mobilizing for a demonstration on 24 June in protest at government plans to increase the retirement age and employees’ pension contributions. The unions argue that the changes will mean that as a result of the various breaks in their careers many women will have to work until the age of 65 to get a full pension. They point out that generally the reforms don’t acknowledge the scale of the gender pensions gap nor the need to take account of difficult and dangerous occupations. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Sweden - State sector negotiations could prove challenging

Unions putting forward claims to state sector employers think that there is a big gap to close in the forthcoming negotiations. The OFR negotiating cartel wants to see pay increase in line with the private sector as well as action on work-life balance. The SEKO services union is concerned about employment security particularly for women and young workers. It also wants a general wage increase of 2.6% but says that there is nothing on offer from the employers. Read more at > ST (SE) And at > SEKO (SE)

Finland - Unions criticize state productivity scheme

Public services union JHL and other unions in the state sector have called for the state productivity scheme to be abandoned. The scheme was set up in 2003 and initially had trade union support in that its aim was to increase productivity in response to the need to adjust to the ageing of the workforce. However, now the unions argue that the scheme is focusing on cutting jobs and even quote management consultant reports that claim that job cuts can undermine public sector productivity. Read more at > JHL (EN)

Romania - Public sector workers strike against pay cuts

A public-sector wide strike on 31 May was followed by further action on 1 June as unions protested against a government-imposed 25% cut in pay. Workers in local government, prisons, hospitals, transport and other services were involved. Further action may follow in the health sector later in the month. Read more at > CBC news website (EN) And solidarity message at > EPSU (EN)

Spain - Unions build for general strike on 8 June

Following demonstrations at the end of May, unions are mobilising for a general strike on 8 June in protest at government plans for massive cuts in public spending including a 5% cut in public sector workers’ pay. The FSC-CCOO federation argues that the cuts will have a regressive impact as workers on lower pay rates will suffer larger reductions than the higher paid. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES) And at > FEP-USO (ES)

Italy - Federation mobilizes for 12 June protests

The FP CGIL public services federation is planning a national demonstration on 12 June in protest at government proposals for cuts. The union says that public sector pay will be frozen until 2013, recruitment will also be frozen while half of those on fixed-term contracts will lose their jobs. The FP CSIL federation is not planning protests at the moment. It is running a campaign to get workers and citizens to expose waste and unproductive spending in the public sector with arguments that this money could be better spent by investing in human resources. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) And at > FP CSIL (IT)

Portugal - Massive demonstration against government austerity plans

An estimated 300,000 workers joined the protests on 29 May against government plans to cut public spending. Public service unions have attacked the government for its austerity measures. Apart from freezing pay the government also plans to cut a range of other payments including overtime and performance payments. There will be cuts in pay for some managers and officials as well as a freeze on recruitment and a block on career progression. Workers’ net salary will also be affected by a range of tax increases including VAT. Read more at > STAL (PT) And at > SINTAP (PT)

France - Unions estimate a million workers supported demonstrations

The six unions that organized a day of action on 27 May estimate that around a million people got involved in some 176 demonstrations around the country. The CGT, CFDT, CFTC, FSU, Solidaires and UNSA called the protests in opposition to the government’s policies on the public sector, pay and pensions. After a meeting on 31 May the same group of unions agreed on another national mobilisation on 24 June. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > CFDT (FR)

Norway - State sector workers maintain purchasing power

After difficult negotiations and a mediation process, unions in the state sector secured a 3.3% pay increase that protects their pay against rising prices (inflation in the year to April was 3.3%). However, the key element in the agreement and welcomed by the trade unions was the NOK 300m (€38m) made available to tackle the gender pay gap. Read more at > LO Stat (NO)

Ireland - Union rejects public service agreement

Members of the CPSU civil service have voted 67% to 33% to reject the “Croke Park” agreement. There was a high 74% turnout for the vote. The agreement was drawn up to try to resolve the conflict between government and unions over pay and job cuts in the public services. The deal involves maintaining the 5%-7% pay cuts this year with proposals for making efficiency savings that would allow for pay increases over the next three years. It also includes a range of other measures related to redeployment and outsourcing. Read more at > CPSU (EN)

Belgium - Action in prisons over staffing levels

Members of the CGSP/ACOD and SLPF/VSOA trade unions took industrial action in prisons across the country between Thursday 27 and Saturday 29 May. The unions are calling for an increasing in staffing and will consider further action if there is no response from the prison service. Read more at > Le Soir news website (FR) And at > Knack news website (NL)

Spain - Unions react angrily to public sector pay cuts

Public service federations FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT have attacked the government for its sudden announcement of deep public spending cuts. The government wants to cut pay by 5% this year and freeze it next year. Most pensions will be frozen and a range of other measures will add up to €5 billion of cuts this year and €10 billion in 2011. Unions are angry at the way the government has broken agreements with the unions and wants to force public sector workers to suffer cuts in pay and pensions because of the pressure of the international financial markets. Read more at > FSC CCOO (ES) Read more at > FSP UGT (ES)

Romania - Government proposes 25% cuts in public sector pay

The government has announced that it wants to make deep cuts in public spending in 2011 to avoid having to call on the International Monetary Fund for further loans. Public sector pay could be cut by 25% and pensions by 15%. Unions and opposition parties are planning protests and the Sex Lex civil service federation is consulting members over strike action. Read more at > Sed Lex (RO) And at > SETimes (EN) Read more at > Irish Times (EN)

Greece - Confederations plan next joint general strike for 20 May

The ADEDY public sector and GSEE private sector confederations have agreed to joint action on 20 May in the latest protest at the cuts being pushed through by the Greek government in accordance with demands from the European Commission and International Monetary Fund. The unions are focusing in particular on cuts to pensions and social security highlighting the fact that a major problem has been previous government failure to tackle the high levels of undeclared work that had reduced the level of contributions into the system. Read more at > ADEDY (EL) And at > ERT news (EN)

Ireland - Union decides to recommend acceptance of public service agreement

Following a key court ruling and further clarification from the Labour Relations Commission (LRC), the executive of the IMPACT public service union has decided that it will recommend that it members accept the public service agreement proposed by the government. The court ruled that important parts of an existing agreement covering performance management, outsourcing guarantees, premium pay rates and other issues would continue to be valid. The LRC also confirmed that unions would be fully consulted over the implementation of redeployment and restructuring under the public service agreement. The SIPTU general union had already indicated support for the agreement and is currently consulting members while the CPSU civil service union had recommended that its members vote to reject the agreement. Read more at > IMPACT (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN)

France - Days of action on pay, jobs and pensions

Five trade union organisations have issued a joint call for a day of action on 27 May. The CGT, CFDT, UNSA, Solidaires and FSU will be mobilising in protest at government plans to freeze public spending for three years. The unions want to see increases in public sector pay and an end to job cuts. They are also concerned about proposals to change the pensions system and the fact that the government has allowed little time for consultation on the issue. Meanwhile the FO confederation has called for a national, cross-sectoral strike on 15 June specifically in protest at the pension reforms that could see workers having to contribute for more than 40 years to get a full pension. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > FO (FR)

UK - Union wins court victory over redundancy scheme

The PCS civil service union has won a major legal victory against the government. The High Court ruled that changes to the civil service redundancy scheme were invalid because they had not been agreed with the union. The union said that the changes would have meant substantial cuts for civil servants taking redundancy or early retirement. It has called on the new government to negotiate over the scheme. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Greece - Campaign against cuts continues

After a national public sector strike on 22 April, the civil service confederation ADEDY is calling on its members to support a general strike on 5 May, co-ordinated with the GSEE private sector confederation. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > ERT news website (EN)

France - Unions reject further changes to pensions

Public service unions have made clear that they are unhappy about government proposals to change the pension age and calculation. The CGT local government federation wants to retain the right to retire at 60 and for a pension worth 75% of salary after a full career. It also called on the government to organise negotiations involving all the public service federations. FO’s civil service federation has attacked the conclusions of a report from the Pensions Advisory Council. The federation challenges some of the assumptions it has used in the Council’s forecasts, claiming that it has tried to paint a negative picture to help justify further pension reforms. The CFDT also wants to retain 60 as the pension age and has criticised the government for trying to push through reforms too quickly and so not allowing enough time for proper consultation and negotiation. UNSA presented the government with a range of proposals to improve the financing of pensions but these were all rejected by the government. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > FO Fonctionnaires (FR) And at > CFDT (FR) And at > UNSA )FR)

Norway - State sector unions set out main demands

Trade unions representing around 100,000 employees in the state sector have set out their main demands for this year’s collective bargaining round. Equal pay is a key element with a call for 0.25% of the wage bill to be set aside to deal with the 8% gender pay gap. YS Stat is arguing for workers to be put on a higher pay grade when they return from parental leave to ensure that time away from work doesn’t impact on their progression up the pay scale. Unions are also concerned to keep up with pay in the private sector, where average pay is around NOK 11200 (€1420) higher than in the public sector. Read more at > YS Stat (NO) And at > Fagforbundet (NO)

Portugal - Union uses national demonstrations to protest against public sector pay freeze

After the public sector strike in March, the STAL public services union will be using two key national events to maintain the profile of its campaign against the government’s imposed pay freeze. On 25 April there will be a march to commemorate the anniversary of the 1974 revolution and this will be followed by the annual May Day events on 1 May. Read more at > STAL (PT)

Italy - Ministry of Justice workers get broad support

A demonstration in Rome by workers at the Ministry of Justice organised by the FP-CGIL federation was supported by a range of legal and political organisations that are concerned about cuts to legal services. The union federation argues that the combination of precarious employment conditions and major job cuts are making it increasingly difficult to deliver effective services. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

Sweden - Employers take tough line in some individual negotiations

The ST state sector union reports that in some parts of the civil service employers have taken a tough line on individual pay and are refusing to agree increases. There are no general pay increases in the state sector. The union says that some employers appear to be rejecting individual increases even when there is evidence of adequate performance that would normally warrant a pay rise. There is an auditing process to assess the fairness of pay awards and ST is continuing discussions with employers to resolve the disagreements. Read more at > ST (SV)

UK - Union challenges government in courts over redundancy scheme

The PCS civil service union has been taking industrial action over government changes to the civil service redundancy compensation scheme. However, it is also pursuing a case in the courts, arguing that the government had no right to make unilateral changes to the scheme as any amendments had to be negotiated and agreed with the trade unions. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Ireland - Unions divided over public service agreement

Public sector unions are divided over their response to the draft public service agreement that was drawn up to end industrial action over pay, pensions and jobs. The core of the agreement was the idea that public sector pay cuts would gradually be reversed if efficiency savings were made. The CPSU and Impact public sector unions argue that the agreement does not deliver real guarantees in terms of pay and pensions for their members and so they are recommending that their members vote against the deal in forthcoming ballots. The SIPTU general union has called for some clarification of the agreement but argues for acceptance. It will also be balloting its public service membership. Read more at > Impact (EN) And at > CPSU (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN)

Greece - Public sector confederation plans further strike action

The ADEDY civil service confederation has called a national strike on 22 April as part of its continuing campaign against government imposed cuts to the pay and conditions of public sector unions. The union argues strongly that its members should not pay for the crisis and also criticises the European Union for the way it has intervened in the Greek situation. Read more at > ADEDY (EL)

Italy - Prison and justice workers mobilised over working conditions

The FP CGIL public service federation is calling prison workers, along with those working in the juvenile justice system and legal archives, to demonstrate on 24 April. The union argues that the government has a contradictory justice policy that will not work because it fails to address the inadequate levels of staffing in the three services. FP CGIL also points out that a recent decree will make matters worse by requiring cuts of 10%. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

Ireland - Unions examine government proposal on pay and jobs

After several weeks of industrial action, public service unions have been presented with a proposal by the government to settle the dispute over pay cuts. A key element of the agreement is that there will be no further public sector pay cuts and the cuts that have been implemented will start to be reversed if specific public sector efficiency savings are achieved. The priority will be to restore pay levels for workers on less than €35,000 a year. The deal would see the freeze on recruitment continue but redeployment of staff in response to specific shortages. Unions will consider the agreement and put it to a vote of members in April. Read more at > IMPACT (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN)

Greece - Public service confederation maintains protests

The ADEDY public sector confederation continues to protest against government pay cuts and more immediately over the cut of the normal bonus paid at Easter. The latest demonstrations, organised with private sector unions, took place on 23 March. Read more at > ADEDY (GR)

France - Negotiations and further mobilisations

Pay, purchasing power, pensions and civil service status will all be on the agenda of forthcoming negotiations between public sector unions and the government. However, the CGT local and regional government federation thought that union criticism of key government policies on public services fell on deaf ears and that further mobilisations like that of 23 March would be needed to keep pressure on the government. The FO civil service federation also criticised the government for refusing to protect public sector pay against inflation and putting more emphasis on individual and performance-related pay increases. The CFDT civil service federation also attacked the government for failing to respond to key union demands. Read more at > CGT (FR) And at > FO (FR) And at > CFDT (FR)

Spain - Union federations criticise low replacement rate

The FSC-CCOO and FSP-UGT federations have attacked the government for recruitment plans and its decision to replace only one in 10 public sector workers when they leave their jobs. The FSC-CCOO federation was already critical of the 15% replacement rate included in the 2010 budget and warns that a 10% replacement rate will threaten to undermine the quality of public services. The cuts are particularly of concern in the current period when defending employment is a key part of the response to the crisis. It is also pointed out that the 25% replacement rate imposed in the 1990s had a negative impact on service delivery and was the impetus for widespread privatisation and outsourcing. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Romania - Unions organise series of protests over pay and cuts

Government policies to deal with the economic crisis and the requirements of loan packages involving the International Monetary Fund and European Commission are continuing to meet with widespread resistance from Romanian trade unions. A series of protests have been organised in March and further action is planned in April and May. Read more at > seeurope news website (EN)

Bulgaria - Government calls for cuts in jobs or pay

Pressure to reduce public spending has led the government to call for 10% cuts across ministries and publicly funded organisations. This could mean pay freezes or job cuts, although some ministries appear to be excluded from the imposition of a pay freeze. There are also demands to reduce high salaries in some departments and agencies. Read more at > Sofia Echo (EN)

Germany - Nearly one in 10 workers on fixed-term contracts

The latest economic policy briefing from services union ver.di reveals that 2.7 million workers, nearly 10% of all employees in Germany are on fixed-term contracts. This is a significant increase from the early 1990s. The briefing notes in particular that two thirds of new jobs in the public and social services are fixed-term. Ver.di wants employers to justify the use of such contracts and to stop using them as part of normal employment practice. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Finland - Increased violence and harassment in public services

A major survey of working conditions by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health provides a detailed picture covering both public and private sectors. Looking back over 10 years the survey finds that there have not been significant improvements in working conditions overall and that in some cases – violence and harassment, for example – workers have seen a deterioration. This is particularly so in the health and social services sector but also, in terms of violence at work, in public administration. Read more at > Finnish TU news website (EN)

Greece - Confederation plans further strike action

The ADEDY civil service confederation has warned of further strike action in March or April in protest at cuts to public sector pay and pensions. ADEDY joined with the GSEE private sector confederation in a general strike on 11 March. Following a two-day strike on 16-17 March, energy workers have threatened another 48-hour strike unless the government withdraws a 7% pay cut and 10% cut in pensions. Read more at > Reuters (EN) And at > ADEDY (EL)

Ireland - Unions step up action

Public sector unions have decided to step up their industrial action in response to the government’s failure to negotiate over further pay cuts. The unions want the government to agree a transformation programme that would allow pay cuts to be reversed as savings are made. As part of the industrial action low paid workers in seven Dublin hospitals will be taking strike action both over the current national dispute but also over the threat to outsource services. Read more at > IMPACT (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN)

Portugal - High level of support for strike

Both the STAL and SINTAP trade unions report a very high level of support for the national public sector strike on 4 March. They estimate turnout at between 75% and 85% with all parts of the public sector affected. The strike was in protest at the government’s call for a public sector pay freeze and with a demand for a proper process of negotiation. Read more at > SINTAP (PT) Read more at > STAL (PT)

Italy - Confederation claims a million workers on the streets

The CGIL trade union confederation organised a four-hour general strike and a series of demonstrations across the country in protest at the government’s policies on dealing with the crisis, taxation, employment rights and migrants’ rights. Read more at > CGIL (EN) Read more at > CGIL (IT)

Finland - University agreement secured after strike threat

After some hard bargaining and the threat of strike action across the university sector, unions have managed to negotiate a deal that they believe delivers good employment protection with the employer withdrawing their demands for much greater working time flexibility and cuts in sick pay. The agreement runs from 1 March 2010 to 29 February 2012 and includes a pay increase of 0.98% from 1 November 2010. This is a 0.4% general increase and a 0.58% instalment for the development of the salary system. In addition, a 5.5% lump sum of the monthly salary will be paid to compensate for the postponement of pay increases from this spring to the beginning of November. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Sweden - Confederation co-ordinates range of action around collective bargaining

Trade union affiliates of the LO blue-collar workers’ confederation have been involved in a range of demonstrations and events highlighting the importance and value of collective agreements. The main collective bargaining round is underway and LO wants to ensure that workers are aware of the benefits of collective agreements both to those covered by them but also to the working of society and the economy in general. Read more at > LO (SE)

France - Pensions is focus of national strike

The FO confederation, including its public service federations, will be taking strike action on 23 March in protest at government plans to make further changes to the pensions system. Read more at > FO (FR)

UK - PCS continues action over compensation scheme

After two days of national strike action, the PCS civil service union is organising a day of campaigning on 19 March followed by another full day of strike action on 24 March, when the government announces its Budget. This will also coincide with the introduction of an overtime ban. The union is protesting against changes to the civil service redundancy compensation scheme. Read more at > PCS (EN)

France - Public sector workers taking action in lead up to 23 March

The CGT reports that many groups of workers at local and sectoral level are taking action over pay and government proposals to restructure public services. Nursery workers, sports employees, housing workers and police are among the specific groups of workers who are organising demonstrations and other action in the lead up to or following the main day of action on 23 March. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Finland - Universities face strike threat

The Pardia, JUKO and JHL union organisations have threatened a one-day strike on 18 March unless university employers offer a better collective agreement. Negotiations have been going on for more than six months and the unions are particularly concerned about employer demands to reduce sick leave and introduce more flexibility in working time. Read more at > Pardia (EN) University reform took effect from 1 January this year with universities given greater independence from the state. However, it already seems to be having a negative impact on jobs and unions organised a walk-out at Oulu University in February to put pressure on the employers in negotiations over restructuring that could lead to 180 job cuts. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Finland - State sector unions avoid pay freeze

Negotiations in the state sector were initially difficult as the government wanted to freeze pay over the next two years. However, the unions managed to negotiate increases in pay and protection of the employment status of civil servants in light of the major reforms taking place across the state sector. The agreement runs from 1.3.2010 to 29.2.2012. An across-the-board-increase of 0.55% will be paid as of 1 March and an agency-specific instalment of 0.43%, which is to be agreed and implemented locally, will be paid on 1 September. The agreed increases for the year 2010 are around 0.98% per cent in total. Increases for 2011 will be negotiated next year. Read more at > Pardia (EN)

Germany - Collective bargaining committee backs deal worth 3.5%

Workers in federal and local government will be asked to vote on a new collective agreement that was accepted by ver.di’s collective bargaining committee. Ver.di says that overall the deal is worth 3.5%. There is a 1.2% pay increase backdated to 1 January 2010 and then there will be two increases in 2011 – 0.6% on 1 January and 0.5% on 1 August. There will also be a €240 lump sum paid on 1 January 2011. The union’s assessment is that this is a reasonable agreement bearing in mind the difficult economic and financial situation. The agreement also includes provisions for apprentices to be taken on for 12 months after their training and measures related to part-time work for older workers. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Portugal - Unions call national strike for 4 March

Public sector unions have called a national strike for 4 March in protest at the government’s plans to freeze public sector pay until 2013. The SINTAP union points out that workers have already lost 6%-7% of purchasing power in recent years as a result of pay increases falling behind inflation. The STAL union says that the 50,000-strong demonstration on 5 February showed the level of anger among public sector workers and is convinced of a high turnout on the day. Read more at > SINTAP (PT) And at > STAL (PT)

France - Unions plan action for 23 March

Public service federations are planning to take action on 23 March in protest at a range of government policies that threaten to undermine the public services and the pay and conditions of public services workers and reduce pension entitlement. The CGT, FSU, CFDT, UNSA and Solidaires unions and federations have issued a call for strike action on the day with a list of key concerns covering employment conditions, job cuts, threatened increases to the pension age and cuts in public finances. The FO is focussing specifically on the threat to pensions and the need to resist any increase in pension age. Read more at >CGT (FR) And at > FO (FR) And at > FSU (FR) And at > CFDT (FR)

Italy - Federation reports on negotiations for managers

The CISL public service federations has published the latest issue of its bilingual collective bargaining newsletter that reports on developments covering chief officers across the public sector. Negotiations covering chief officers in the ministries, regional and local administrations, non-economic public bodies and tax agencies, and non-medical managers of the national health system are all set to take place with the initial agreement in the ministries setting the main standard. Here the pay increases were in line with other public sector deals: 4.85% in 2006-2007 and 3.2% in 2008-2009. In the health sector the unions are finding it difficult to come to agreement with the employers over pay for workers who work mainly for the public sector and so forego possible additional income from private sector work. Read more at > FPS-CISL (IT and EN)

UK - Civil servants’ union votes to strike over compensation scheme

Members of the PCS civil service union have voted with a 63.4% majority for strike action over government changes to the redundancy compensation scheme. A 48-hour strike on 8-9 March could be followed by further action. The union says that the changes to the scheme could mean some civil servants losing up to a third of the potential compensation they would have received under the current scheme if they lose their job. PCS is the biggest union in the civil service. Other civil services have decided to accept changes to the scheme following negotiations over the original proposals. Read more at > PCS (EN) And at > Prospect (EN) And at > FDA (EN)

Greece - ADEDY claims large turnout in public sector strike

The ADEDY civil service confederation said that support for the national public sector strike on 10 February was very high – overall at 75% with up to 90% backing in some areas. The unions were protesting at government plans to cut public sector pay as part of a strategy, supported by the European Commission, to deal with the governments budget deficit. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) And at > the Guardian news website (EN)

Germany - Ver.di calls for arbitration

After the third round of negotiations produced no further offer from the local and federal government employers, the ver.di public services union has called for arbitration to try to make progress. The union says that the 120,000 union members who took part in the recent sequence of warning strikes have made it clear that they want a reasonable offer from the employers in response to the union’s demand for a pay and conditions package worth around 5%. Strike action will be suspended during the period of arbitration. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

France - Unions united in boycott of social dialogue meeting

The seven main public sector federations have issued a joint statement explaining their decision to stay away from the state civil service committee in protest at the government’s insistence that the meeting should discuss its new regulations on restructuring. The new decree will reduce civil servants’ rights in the case of a restructuring so that they will have to accept more or less any job rather than remain in the area in which they currently work. The unions argue that this is part of the wider measures introduced by the government which will lead to a reduction in public sector employment and threaten the delivery of services. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Portugal - Negotiations open with massive gap between government and unions

The SINTAP public service trade union reported on its first meeting with the government over the 2010 negotiations, saying that there is an enormous gap between union demands and what’s on offer from the government. The union rejects the idea of a pay freeze, arguing that more efficient management can deliver cost savings to finance a pay rise. It also rejects the planned reforms to the pension system . Read more at > SINTAP (PT)

Ireland - Unions organise joint meeting over pay cuts

As public-sector wide industrial action continues, unions have organised a joint mass meeting in Galway on 23 February to discuss the progress of union campaigning against the pay cuts forced through by the government in its latest budget. These cuts, along with the pensions levy introduced last year, mean that take home pay for many public sector workers has been cut by 14%. Read more at > SIPTU (EN)

Czech Republic - Senior officials contest 4% pay cut

Senior legal officials and other civil servants are facing a 4% cut in pay for 2010 as part of the government’s measures to reduce public spending. The government originally planned to cut the pay of all civil servants by 4% but this was rejected in a vote in parliament. Read more at > Czech news website (EN)

France - Union launches petition to reduce number of contract workers in public sector

In response to a statement by President Sarkozy that contract workers in the public sector would gradually be given civil servant status, the CGT public services federation has launched a petition supporting this demand. The petition also calls for any contract worker to be reinstated if their contract has been terminated since 1 January. The CGT says that there are around 840,000 contract workers in the public sector with some 30% of workers in local and regional government working on contracts rather than civil service status. The union wants to see an end to the lower pay, poorer conditions and precariousness suffered by these workers. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Greece - National public sector strike on 10 February

The ADEDY public sector confederation has called a national strike on 10 February in protest at the socialist government’s plans to cut public sector pay and employment. The government measures are a reaction to demands from the European Commission for drastic reforms to the country’s public sector finances. The government had already implemented a pay freeze in 2009 but ADEDY reports that workers are now facing pay cuts in 2010 of between 3% and 15%. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) Read more at > Financial Times (EN)

Germany - Union organises warning strikes in local and federal government

The ver.di service union has organised warning strikes to demonstrate to the local and federal government employers that workers in the sector want a reasonable pay offer. So far the employers have rejected ver.di’s demands in terms of both pay and other conditions. They are also refusing to reintroduce promotion opportunities that were suspended in 2005 at the time of the introduction of a new pay agreement. The 2005 agreement included a new pay structure but full implementation of this has not been negotiated and so the union is calling for at least the possibility of career progression. Ver.di’s overall demands in terms of pay and conditions are worth around 5%. The next round of negotiations are due to start on 10 February. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

Ireland - CPSU to step up industrial action

The CPSU, representing 13,000 low-paid civil servants, is balloting its members for full strike action in protest at further pay cuts being pushed through by the government. The union is already part of the public sector wide work-to-rule action which has also been joined by the SIPTU general union. Read more at > RTE news (EN)

Ireland - Union announces industrial action from 25 January

The IMPACT public services union is set to begin industrial action on 25 January in protest at the government’s plans for further cuts in public employees’ pay. Initially the industrial action will be a work-to-rule so IMPACT members will be refusing to co-operate with management demands that require anything beyond normal duties. the union says it will take a flexible approach across the different parts of the public sector and has a range of other actions that it may resort to as part of its campaign to defend members’ pay and conditions. Read more at > IMPACT (EN)

Belgium - Unions organise joint strikes and protests over working conditions in prisons

The three public service trade unions are organising strike action across the prison service on 21-23 January with a national demonstration on 22 January. The protests are over working conditions in prisons with staff facing an average of five violent incidents a day. The unions say that the prison service needs to address urgently prison overcrowding, staffing levels and the inadequacy of security equipment. Read more at > ACOD (NL) Read more at > CSC (FR) Read more at > news website (FR)

Italy - Unions to strike over working conditions in justice department

The FP-CGIL, UILPA, RDB and FLP union organisations are co-ordinating strike action on 5 February. They are protesting at the government’s failure to allocate proper funding to the justice system in the current budget. The unions argue that, as a result of government cuts, some courts are facing closure and employees are seeing their working conditions deteriorate, with a failure to recruit and train adequate numbers of staff. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

Greece - Civil service union plans strike for 10 February

The ADEDY civil service federation has called a national strike on 10 February in protest at government plans to cut public spending and freeze pay for many public sector workers. Read more at > ADEDY (GR) Read more at > Reuters (EN)

Finland - Public sector negotiations begin

Negotiations are underway in both the state and municipal sectors where the collective agreements expire at the end of January. In the municipal sector JHL, the main public sector union wants, the minimum pay rate in the collective agreement to be raised to €1,500 per month and family leave to be improved. JHL also aims to develop the status of employees in atypical employment relations and the rights of safety representatives. Read more at > JHL (EN) And at > JHL (EN)

Portugal - Public service unions organise demonstration for 5 February

Public service trade unions in the Frente Comum have called a national demonstration on 5 February in defence of the pay and conditions of public sector employees. The unions are opposed to a range of government measures that they say will end up making public sector workers pay for the crisis. Read more at > STAL (PT)

France - Unions organise over 100 actions for 21 January

The CGT, FSU and Solidaires union organisations are co-ordinating over 100 demonstrations and other actions on 21 January as part of their campaign of opposition to government policies on the public services. The latest message to come from the government includes plans for further job cuts across the public services with 34,000 jobs to go in central government alone and cuts also likely in local and regional government and the health service. Read more at > CGT (FR)

Germany - Call for solidarity between civil servants and public employees

The DGB confederation and ver.di have joined in responding to claims that civil servants are a privileged group of workers. They point out that civil servants in the Berlin region, for example, are effectively paid no more than they were in 2003 as a result of cuts to Christmas and holiday payments. Far from being privileged, according to the DGB and ver.di, civil servants such as teachers have to move to stay in work while the emergency services are on-call at all hours of the day. Civil servants also have no right to strike. The key issue for ver.di and the DGB is that , in the lead up to pay negotiations for federal and local government workers, that there needs to be solidarity between civil servants and public employees and they should not be played off against each other. Read more at > ver.di (DE)

UK - Low paid civil servants benefit from equal pay deal

The NIPSA public service union in Northern Ireland has negotiated an equal pay deal that will benefit around 13,000 low paid civil servants. Workers in three main grades will move on to new pay structures with the changes adding around £25 million to the civil service pay bill. Administrative workers in the AA grade, for example, will move from a pay structure with a range of £13,130-£14,420 a year to one where the salaries start at £13,280 and rise to £17,108. Read more at > NIPSA (EN) And at > NIPSA (EN)

Ireland - Unions protest over savage budget cuts

Trade unions mobilized for a demonstration outside the Irish parliament in protest at the government’s budget proposals that include €4 billion in cuts. Social and welfare payments are affected while public sector workers will see their pay cut by 6%-8%. This follows on from last year’s “pensions levy” which effectively meant a 7% cut in take home pay for public sector workers. Read more at > Impact (EN) Read more background at > Impact (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN)

Austria - Public sector workers to get 0.9% plus €4

After several very challenging rounds of negotiations the GÖD and GDG public service unions have accepted a pay increase of 0.9% plus €4 a month for 2010. The government had initially said that it had only budgeted for a 0.5% increase in the pay bill and that it only wanted to pay a lump sum payment. The flat-rate increase of €4 means that the overall increase for the lowest paid will be 1.23% and 0.94% for the highest paid. Other payments and allowances will increase by 0.9%. The increase will cover around 400,000 workers across the public sector. Read more at > GDG (DE) And at > GÖD (DE)

Italy - Unions claim success in strike action and demonstrations

The three public service federations have been mobilizing in recent weeks to put pressure on the government to ensure that public sector pay increases are properly funded. Pay agreements will now cover three-year periods rather than two and in the past unions have negotiated pay increases with the ARAN negotiating body only to find that the government causes problems by failing to allocate resources in the budget. The FP CGIL federation organized a public sector wide strike on 11 December while the CISL and UIL federations organized a range of demonstrations around the country beginning on 2 December. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) And at > FP CISL (IT)

Germany - Union aims for 5% package of pay increases and other improvements

Ver.di’s local and federal government collective bargaining committee met on 15 December to confirm its claim in the lead up to negotiations that begin on 13 February. Ver.di will be negotiating with the police (GdP), teachers (GEW) and civil service union (dbb tarifunion) on behalf of nearly two million workers in local and federal government. The main demand will be for a real increase in pay plus a number of other measures including provision of shorter working hours for older workers to create more jobs for younger workers and commitments to take on more apprentices. There will also be demands relevant to particular groups of workers such as better on-call and overtime payments for hospital employees. The Hans Böckler research institute has issued a report noting that pay increases in the public services have amounted to around 17% since 2000, below the 21.4% increase recorded across the economy as a whole. Read more at > ver.di (DE) And at > Hans Böckler (DE)

UK - Civil service unions angered by change to redundancy scheme

The PCS and other civil service unions are considering a legal challenge and possible industrial action in response to the government’s unilateral decision to change the civil service compensation scheme. The unions believe the government is planning further job cuts and is looking to reduce the cost of making civil servants redundant. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Europe - European Council workers take action over pay

Employees of the Council of Ministers took strike action on 14 December and planned another day’s strike on 16 December in protest at attempts by Member State governments to block their annual pay increase. The employees are covered by a formula that links their pay increases to an average of those in specific Member States. However, some national governments want to block the increase because Read more at > European Voice (EN)

Ireland - Public sector unions plan further action after national strike

Public sector unions have called on the government to negotiate or face another national strike on 3 December. The unions’ action on 24 November was widely supported and was in protest at government proposals to make further cuts in public spending and public sector pay, despite already implementing cuts and imposing a 7% pension levy on all public sector workers. Read more at > IMPACT (EN) And at > SIPTU (EN) Read more at > Guardian (EN)

Italy - Public sector unions plan national action in December

The three main public sector union federations are all planning to protest against government policy on funding public sector pay. On 2 December the CISL FP and UIL FPL federations have called for a day of action demanding that the government honour agreements negotiated for the 2008-2009 period and ensure that funding will be available for the next bargaining round that will cover the three years 2010-2012. The FP-CGIL federation has called a national public sector strike on 11 December with a specific demand of a €150 a month increase over 2010-2012. The union has several other key demands including protection for women’s and casual workers jobs. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT) Read more at > FP CISL (IT)

Switzerland - Gender pay gap widens in federal government

The VPÖD public service union has expressed concern about the latest statistics that show a widening of the gender pay gap among lower pay federal government workers. While there is some evidence of the pay gap narrowing among higher pay workers, the gap at lower levels rose from 6.7% in 2006 to 9.3% in 2008. Figures for local and cantonal (regional) government are not yet available but there past evidence has revealed a wider pay gap than at federal level. Read more at > VPÖD (DE)

Austria - No progress after fourth round of pay negotiations

The GDG and GÖD public sector unions have rejected the employers’ latest offer of a 0.5% pay increase. The unions have written a joint letter to the chancellor (prime minister) vice-chancellor arguing that they should immediately get involved in the negotiations as the current negotiators do not have a full mandate. At the moment the employers are even refusing to offer a rise in line with inflation (0.9%). Read more at > GDG (DE) And at > GÖD (DE)

Ireland - Public sector strike planned for 24 November

Public sector unions have drawn up plans for a national strike on 24 November in protest at government plans for more cuts to public sector pay. The unions have called on the government to quantify and recognize the effect of the pensions levy imposed on public sector workers as well as the freeze on recruitment and pay over the next three years. The Impact union estimates that these measures have saved the government €1.3 billion in 2009 and will mean savings of €2.4 billion in 2010. Unions want the government to negotiate over the crisis and find alternatives to the cuts to pay and services. Read more at > Impact (EN) And at > CPSU (EN)

Austria - Public sector pay negotiations head for third round

The first two rounds of negotiations over the 2010 pay increase for public sector workers did not produce any major developments. In the first round the employers and trade unions heard a report on the economic situation from the WIFO institute and the second round of bargaining broke up with no result. The next round takes place on 19 November. In his public statements state secretary Reinhold Lopatka has spoken repeatedly of minimal increases to pay. In the meantime, the GDG has highlighted actions by the Salzburg municipal justice department which has announced changes to pay and pensions without consulting with the trade unions. The municipality wants to delay any pay increases in 2010 and 2011 and also wants to defer paying wages and pensions for two weeks. Read more at > GDG (DE)

Switzerland - Cleaners win better pay and conditions

Earlier this year cleaners working at the federal parliament took strike action to prevent their jobs being outsourced. Now, following negotiations, they have won improved pay and conditions. There will be a higher starting rate for cleaners with experience and the VPOD union believes this is an important recognition of the work done by cleaners. There will also be improved training provision for them and in future they will be able to carry over some additional hours rather than just losing any overtime hours that they have worked. Read more at > VPOD (DE)

Ireland - Union calls for public-sector wide strike action

Members of the IMPACT public services union have voted overwhelmingly in favour of strike action in response to the government’s latest proposals for cuts in public sector workers’ pay. The union will call on other public sector unions to join a 24-hour stoppage on 24 November. Six unions have joined together in an alliance of public sector workers delivering frontline services. The general union SIPTU along with unions representing nurses, firefighters, police (Garda) officers and prison officer have set up the 24/7 Frontline Service Alliance and they will all be balloting their members on strike ation. Read more at > IMPACT (EN) And at > SIPTU(EN)

Finland - State sector union protests over threat to jobs

The state sector union Pardia interrupted its general assembly meeting on 21 October to protest outside parliament over planned government budget cuts, which the union believes may lead to temporary lay-offs and job losses. Pardia is concerned about the implications of the cuts for the development of the state sector and the quality of services. In a survey of members, the union found nearly one in three thinks that their job is under threat. Read more at > Pardia (EN) And about the survey at > Pardia (EN) EPSU’s solidarity message is at > EPSU (EN)

Norway - Union proposes co-ordinated approach to tackle gender pay gap

The Fagforbundet municipal union is calling for public sector unions to co-ordinate their pay claims next year with special negotiations over how to deal with pay inequality. Average pay in the public sector, where 70% of workers are women, is lower than in the private sector where 70% of the workers are men. The specially convened pay commission argued that around 3 billion kronor was needed to close the gender pay gap and Fagforbundet wants to see the unions get together following the main public sector negotiations next spring to work out how to deal with the issue. The union refers to the successful co-ordination over pensions early this year that stopped government plans to reduce pension benefits. Read more at > Fagforbundet (NO)

Romania - Massive support for public sector strike

Reports indicate that over 750,000 workers took part in the national public sector strike on 5 October in protest at government plans to cut pay and jobs. The government proposals are in response to a loan agreement with the International Monetary Fund and European Union. The government wanted to implement a new public sector pay structure without negotiating with the trade unions. Read more at > EIRO (EN) And at > news website (EN)

Belgium - 2009-2010 agreement covering federal civil servants concluded

Unions have signed a new two-year agreement covering the 80,000 civil servants employed at federal level. Bearing in mind the difficult negotiating conditions, they are positive about the agreement that covers improvements in a broad range of employment conditions, including increases to the year-end bonus marking further progress towards a 13th month salary. Read more at > ACOD (NL) And at > CGSP (FR)

Spain - Unions sign three-year agreement with government

The three main Spanish public service federations – CCOO, UGT and CSI-CSIF – have signed a new agreement with the government covering 2010-2012. On pay the agreement allows for a 0.3% increase in 2010 but a revision clause in the agreement allows for a higher increase to maintain purchasing power. The agreement includes a number of other measures covering modernisation of the public administration and implementation of elements of the basic law on public employment that was passed in 2007 but not fully put into effect. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) And at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Portugal - New collective agreement signed

The SINTAP and STE public sector unions were among those signing a new collective agreement covering workers in public administration. The agreement lays down rules regarding training, working time - including flexible working hours – and telework. SINTAP believes the agreement will be an important step towards ensuring equal treatment of workers across the public administration. The agreement has not been signed by all public sector trade unions. Read more at > SINTAP (PT) Read more at > STE (PT)

Czech Republic - Pay cut for state officials

State officials are facing a 4% pay cut as part of the government’s proposed package of measures in response to the crisis. Read more at > news website (EN)

Romania - Public sector unions plan general strike on 5 October

Public sector unions have called for a strike on 5 October in protest at the government’s plans to impose a new pay structure. The changes in pay have been proposed as part of a loan package with the International Monetary Fund and European Commission. The unions argue that groups of workers will be left worse off by the changes but that they will call of f the strike if the government agrees to negotiate over reforms to the pay system. Read more at > Balkans news website (EN)

Spain - No pay freeze for public sector workers

At a meeting with the three main public service unions – CCOO, UGT and CSI-CSIF – the government has confirmed that pay developments in the public sector over the next three years will maintain the purchasing power of the 2.5 million workers covered by the central negotiations. Unions had been concerned about the possibility of the government imposing a pay freeze and are still worried about job cuts, urging the government to maintain staffing levels in order to ensure quality services. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES) Read more at FSP-UGT (ES)

Netherlands - Unions reject prison restructuring plans

Public service unions Abvakabo, BPSAG and CNV Publieke Zaak have rejected the Ministry of Justice’s five-plan for the prison service. The plan includes proposals to cut 1200 jobs and close a number of institutions across the country. The unions have called for major changes to the plans including clear commitments about how to deal with the impact of staff of any restructuring. The unions point out that the prison service needs well-trained staff and the five-year plan needs to be clear how to ensure employment levels and expertise will be maintained. Read more at > Abvakabo (NL)

Spain - Union calls for fairness in public sector pay negotiations

The leader of the FSP-UGT public services federation Julio Lacuerda has called for a “calm, measured and rigorous” analysis of the current economic situation as part of pay negotiations with the government. He rejects the idea of a pay freeze put forward by one minister and underlines the need for a fair outcome for the 2.5 million workers in the public sector. The federation also wants to see progress on a number of statutes covering public service workers that were agreed two years ago but not yet implemented. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)

Italy - Tax workers take action over delayed payments and jobs

Around 1,000 employees of the tax service joined a demonstration on 14 July outside the finance ministry offices in Rome. They were protesting over a delay in paying workers productivity payments and against threatened cuts in the service. They were also calling for measures to increase the recruitment and retention of tax workers. The three main public service federations were involved – CGIL, CSIL and UIL, along with the autonomous unions SALFI and FLP. Read more at > FP CGIL (IT)

UK - 70,000 tax staff begin overtime ban

The PCS civil service union has organised an overtime ban in tax offices in protest at the increase in overtime that is being used to maintain services after 19,000 jobs have been cut from the department. The union argues that the department should be hiring staff not relying on overtime and temporary workers particularly in a recession when it is vital to try to collect the estimated €30 billion in uncollected tax. A further 6,000 jobs are due to go by 2011. Read more at > PCS (EN)

UK - Heritage workers balloted for strike action

Over 400 members of the PCS civil service union are being balloted for strike action in response to employer plans for a new two-tier pay system. The workers are employed at heritage sites around the current, such as Stonehenge, and PCS is concerned about the employer’s plans not just to have two levels of pay at the same workplace but to introduce regional rates of pay as well. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Spain - Government imposes recruitment freeze

Public service union FSC-CCOO has reacted angrily to a council of ministers decision to freeze recruitment across the general state administration as part of the government’s austerity package. The union argues that a freeze will undermine public services as many departments already have many unfilled vacancies while it further undermines the conditions of workers who are struggling to maintain services despite inadequate employment levels. FSC-CCOO is also concerned about the way the decision was announced and says that it under mines the right to collective bargaining over these kinds of issues. Read more at > FSC-CCOO (ES)

UK - Union launches equal pay case

The PCS civil service union has submitted an equal pay claim on behalf of 38 women who work for the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). They have compared their pay with pay rates for similar jobs in the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) that are predominantly carried out by men. Both agencies are part of the Department for Transport. The union has found that pay rates for similar jobs are 21% lower in the DVLA than in the DSA. Read more at > PCS (EN)

Switzerland - Cleaners’ threatened strike stops outsourcing

The threat of strike action by 400 cleaners at the Federal parliament appears to have been successful in preventing the service being decentralised. The cleaners’ union, VPOD, planned to take industrial action over the summer after the Federal Building and Logistics department said it wanted to decentralise the service. The union thought that decentralisation would be the first step towards outsourcing and attacks on pay and conditions. Read more at > VPOD (DE)

Belgium - Federation attacks increase in precarious employment

The CSC public service federation has criticised a decision by the Council of Ministers to allow for the recruitment of contractual and agency workers to parts of the federal civil service. The union argues that there should have been a proper process of negotiation over the proposal to appoint contractual workers migration issues. The union thinks the government is using the pretence of categorising certain issues, such as migration, as “auxiliary” matters so that it can appoint contractual staff rather than statutory civil servants. The CSC also argues that the Ministry of Justice’s plan to take on agency staff to work in medical services in prisons is in conflict with regulations that state that agency workers should not be used in the federal services. Read more at > CSC (FR)

Spain - Federation wants new agreement on gender equality

The FSP-UGT public services federation has called for a new agreement in the general public administration that would require action to uncover the main reasons for continuing inequality between men and women. The union says it wants to work with the equality units that should have been set up in each Ministry according to recent legislation, although so far only two are up and running. The federation argues that if it is possible to identify the main factors that contribute to inequality then it will be possible to draw up a plan of action to deal with them. Read more at > FSP-UGT (ES)