Better pay, training and career development for childcare workers

Austrian union launches petition to support childcare workers

(9 August 2017) Younion, representing municipal workers in Austria has launched a petition calling for support for childcare workers in the Lower Austria region. The union highlights the significant increase in responsibilities for these workers who don’t just provide quality childcare but deal with a whole range of tasks including cleaning, preparing meals and dealing with parents. The union is calling on people to sign its petition with four main demands:

  • Improvements in the quality and quantity of education;
  • Provision of opportunities for training and further education;
  • Creation of a clear career path; and
  • Pay in line with the demands of the job.

(Read more at younion (DE))

Other news from EPSU’s childcare unions

Over the past year or so, EPSU affiliates in other countries have also raised important issues affecting the pay, working conditions and employment rights of childcare workers.

In Ireland the IMPACT and SIPTU trade unions have been calling for more state funding for childcare and improvements in pay for childcare workers. The major problem of low pay has been highlighted in a recent parliamentary report on the sector and the unions say that many workers are not only paid below the living wage but are often paid in school term time only.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter articles from August 2017 and November, October and September 2016.

In Switzerland, the vpod public services union has called for an end to internships in childcare and additional funding to ensure a proper provision of training in the sector. The union argues that many employers exploit the intern system to keep staff costs down while there is evidence that many workers who start on internships as a step towards a proper traineeship are disappointed as too few training places are available. While some authorities and employers have tried to regulate internships, vpod argues that they should be abolished completely.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter article from June 2017.

Earlier this year, the German public services union ver.di called on the minister for youth and families to launch a major national initiative to extend and improve training for childcare workers. The union argues that this is needed to ensure the supply of enough well-trained staff to cope with the planned increase of 100000 kindergarten places. The union also wants to see national action in relation to staffing levels to address the problem of the wide variation in the availability and quality of early years education from region to region.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter article from June 2017.

Trade unions representing childcare workers in the private sector in Norway negotiated a new pay agreement this year which is in line with that in the municipal sector. Overall worth about 2.4% the agreement includes a 2% increase on minimum rates taking the lowest pay rate to NOK 295900 a year (around EUR 31650). The agreement covers over 26000 workers in more than 1700 workplaces. Meanwhile a strike over pensions in the Akasia group of kindergartens went into its fourth week at the end of May with more workers joining the strike. Equality of pension provision for men and women is a key demand.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter article from May 2017.

The BDDSz childcare workers' trade union in Hungary has been campaigning for several years to a pay increase for public service workers and so has been enthusiastic in its support for the ETUC's pay rise campaign. The union has stood up against government attempts to block strike action and successfully defended its right to strike in a court case in 2016.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter articles from April 2017 and June 2016.

In Denmark the FOA public services union has been concerned for some time about increased pressure on municipalities to outsource care services, including childcare. The union reported in early 2017 that employees at the Naturfidusen private childcare provider were not paid in December as the company went bankrupt.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter articles from January 2017.

French trade unions representing childcare workers were involved in mobilisations at the end of 2016 and beginning of 2017. The unions point out that working time and other working conditions vary considerably across the country and the needs of this group of workers has been ignored by employers both locally and nationally. They are calling for improved pay and conditions and career development for nursery school workers.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter articles from January 2017 and December 2016.

In the private sector in Austria the vida services union reported that the minimum wage for childcare assistants increased by 2.3% from 1 January 2017. This took the minimum monthly wage to EUR 1469, a further step towards the union target of EUR 1500. The rate was negotiated with the federal administration and applies to around 5300 workers across the country.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter article from December 2016.

The three main public sector federations in Italy - Fp-Cgil, Cisl-FP and Uil-Fpl - organised a national mobilisation in May 2016 as part of a campaign to improve and increase childcare services and the pay and conditions of childcare workers. The unions have raised concerns about inadequate staffing levels, too few nurseries, particularly for the 0-3 age group and precarious working conditions for childcare workers.

See EPSU collective bargaining newsletter article from June 2016.

  • Ver.di, public service union in Germany, supporting child care workers
Austria Denmark France Germany Hungary Ireland Italy Norway Switzerland

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