More than 17,000 Belgian health and care workers took to the streets of Brussels today in protest against austerity-related problems and creeping privatisation, in the non-profit and public health and care sectors.
Mar. 21, 2017
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017 ) The vpod public services union has a special network set up four years ago campaigning for better protection for migrant care workers. The union argues that the federal government is well aware of the level of exploitation of this group of workers but has failed to take any measures to regulate this area of work. Recent press reports have highlighted the situation facing care workers and the lack of legal protection.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) Public services union FOA has negotiated a new three-year agreement with employers covering around 10000 workers in the private eldercare sector. The deal includes a DKK 2.50 (EUR 0.33) increase on the hourly rate in each of the next three years. There are also provisions covering rights of employee representatives and skills development. The agreement is now out for approval by the membership.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) The IMPACT and SIPTU trade unions have organised a joint protest outside the parliament on 22 March calling for a restoration of pay and funding in community and voluntary services. The unions argue that workers in the sector have faced pay cuts, short-time working and unpaid overtime as they try to maintain services for vulnerable people. The unions want to ensure that the sector is not left behind as pay restoration gets underway in the rest of the public services.
Mar. 21, 2017 (March 2017) Unions organising workers in the non-profit social services came together in a major demonstration in Brussels on 21 March. The unions want to see urgent action to tackle major problems facing the sector - poor pay, understaffing and excessive workloads leading to burnout for many workers trying to maintain services in impossible conditions. The unions want to negotiate a new agreement for the sector which addresses pay and working conditions but they also underline the link between quality employment and delivery of quality services. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
Mar. 20, 2017
Solidariteitsboodschap voor de actie van de Belgische vakbonden in de gezondheidszorg en sociale dienstverlening - Message de solidarité pour l'action des syndicats belges de la santé et des services sociaux
Feb. 27, 2017 (March 2017) The FOA public services union has called for action to stop low cost bids for social care contracts require quality provision in the tenders. The union reports one recent example where municipalities have chosen a bid from a private company that involves DKK 10,000 less spending per client. The union argues that the situation has lead to bankruptcies as companies realise they can't meet the contract. This impacts on workers' jobs and is a challenge for FOA to ensure private companies sign up to the sector collective agreement.
Feb. 27, 2017 (March 2017) A new report comparing elder care in the Nordic countries shows that the situation for workers in Sweden is has deteriorated with several elements worse than in other Nordic countries. The proportion of workers dissatisfied with their working hours is up to 41% from 29% in 2005 and eldercare workers in Sweden feel they have less change to develop their careers and less support from management. The increased workload means they have less time to spend with clients and are much more likely than 20 years ago to suffer from stress and physical exhaustion.
Feb. 27, 2017 (March 2017) Four of the trade union federations in the public services (CGT, FO, Solidaires and FA-FP) have called a day of action on 7 March to call for higher pay for public sector workers and for better funding for health and other public services. The demands also include reform of careers to make public sector employment more attractive, an end to job cuts and defense of the statutory regime covering civil servant's pay and conditions.
Feb. 27, 2017 (March 2017) Health and social care union Sanitas has again met with the Ministry of Health to make the case for bonuses to apply to all workers across the health and social care sectors and ensure that all workers in these sectors benefit from pay rises. The union is hoping for decrees to be issues to regulate this situation as soon as possible. The two sides will also shortly begin negotiations over a collective agreement for the sector.
Feb. 27, 2017 (March 2017) After years of campaigning, workers in social care might see some respite from the race to the bottom on contract costs and pay. The government has approved an order in council that requires municipalities to adopt fair and equitable rates for home care. This should end the situation where local authorities were issuing tenders which providers could only meet by cutting costs and for workers this meant either losing their job or seeing a massive cut in pay.
Feb. 17, 2017 (February 2017) The vida and GPA-djp service unions have negotiated a new agreement covering 5000 workers employed by Diakonie Austria, the church-based care provider. The pay increase of 1.9% is ahead of the 0.9% average inflation rate recorded in 2016. In addition there are improvements to and protection of the rights of workers taking parental leave which the unions say will particularly benefit the significant number of part-time women workers with childcare needs.
Feb. 10, 2017 (February 2017) The FNV trade union has submitted proposals to the government to set staffing levels in eldercare. The union wants to see two workers for every eight residents and emphasises that there should be a balance of different skill levels. FNV argues that this is a crucial measure that will help improve recruitment and retention in the sector by ensuring that workers are not overworked and have enough time to spend with clients.
Feb. 07, 2017
The major topics in this week’s EPSU European Works Council (EWC) Coordinators meeting in Brussels have been firstly the ongoing work on gender equality in the two EWCs ENGIE and Suez-Environment