Dec. 15, 2017 Around 10000 workers joined a demonstration in Madrid on 14 December called by the CCOO and UGT trade unions as part of their campaign to win back rights for the three million public sector workers who have been hit by austerity measures. Public services have been hit by job cuts while workers have seen their hours increased and pay fall by 13% in real terms since 2010. EPSU president Isolde Kunkel-Weber joined the march and expressed solidarity on behalf of EPSU.
Dec. 15, 2017 A 24-hour strike called by the ADEDY and GSEE confederations on 14 December had widespread impact on public services across the country. The confederations were protesting at further austerity measures with plans for cuts in pensions and take-home pay as well as threats to the right to strike. EPSU sent a solidarity message.
Dec. 15, 2017 In its continuing campaign to secure fair pay for health and social care staff, the SIPTU trade union will be balloting members who work for so-called Section 39 organisations for strike action. As reported in epsucob@NEWS 20 in November, these are organisations that receive government funding but where workers have been denied the pay restoration measures applied to directly employed public sector staff. Around 10000 workers are affected.
Dec. 14, 2017 The JHL public services union is developing its bargaining claims across 55 national, sectoral agreements and 40 at agency and other levels. Negotiations are already underway in private social services where the union says the priority issues are pay rates and holiday entitlement that fall below public sector levels and excessive use of zero-hours contracts. This is despite the fact that the big private sector employers are making large profits.
Dec. 14, 2017 Negotiations covering the public sector are due to begin in early January and unions have included action on equal pay as a priority. They want the employers to agree higher increases for sectors dominated by women. Unions say that comparing similar jobs requiring the same qualifications and training shows that those in sectors dominated by women are paid less than in a sector dominated by men. The FOA public services union argues this is an historic demand that requires coordinated action and it is pleased that has got the support of the many other unions in the public sector bargaining group.
Dec. 14, 2017 The ver.di services union is arguing that a sector pay agreement is needed to cover workers involved in childcare, youth and family work and care for the disabled. It says that the problem faced by the sector is that many welfare-based and private providers fail to pay decent wages with some pay rates as much as a third less than those that apply in the public sector agreements. Ver.di is highly critical of low-paying employers who don't recognise that urgent action is needed to address the shortage of skilled staff, with an estimate that kindergartens alone will face a shortfall of 329000 workers by 2025.
Nov. 30, 2017 The Eurofound research agency has published its first major overview of trends in the eldercare sector noting the spread of private provision in some parts of Europe and the challenge to maintain adequate levels of public funding. A section of the report addresses employment issues, notably staffing levels, the education and training of staff and wages. There are examples of staffing ratios from eight countries and some indicators of pay (public and private) from seven countries and the study notes overall that personal carers' pay falls into to the bottom 40% of pay (two lowest quintiles).
Nov. 30, 2017 In preparation for the upcoming bargaining round where it will be involved in negotiating around 60 agreements, the JHL public services union has underlined the importance of protecting the purchasing power of public sector workers just as much as those in the private sector. Rejecting a call from employers that public sector union pay demands should be moderate, JHL notes that a number of private sector negotiations have led to pay increases of around 3.2% over two years.
Nov. 30, 2017 The FOA public services union is calling on the government and municipalities to take urgent action to tackle staffing shortages in eldercare. A recent survey found that three out of four local authorities didn't have enough eldercare staff and the situation is set to deteriorate as many workers retire. The sector needs around 13000 new recruits every year but the level is currently half that. The union says that employers use a lot of part-time work to save money and while many employees in the sector actually want to work full time. There is also a question of higher pay for young workers.
Nov. 27, 2017
Workers in the elder care sector in Bizkaia, northern Spain, backed by the Basque Workers’ Solidarity trade union ELA, have reached an historic agreement bringing an end to a 360-day long strike, the longest in the region’s history.
Nov. 17, 2017 The ssp/vpod public service union is mobilising again to defend the right to strike for care workers in the Fribourg region. The proposal for the ban is coming from right-wing MPs in the cantonal parliament despite the fact that the union had successfully negotiated with the state council to preserve care workers' right to strike (see epsucob@NEWS 15 and 17 in September). The union called for a big protest outside the Grand Council on 17 November.
Nov. 15, 2017 In the first of a series of three meetings over a thousand public service workers gathered in Košice to discuss pay in the public sector. The unions are calling for action on minimum salaries and a pay system that recognises workloads, levels of education and length of service of public service workers. Two further meetings are planned as part of this broad trade union consultation process - one in Banská Bystrica on 16 November and the final one in Bratislava on 23 November.