(13 June 2023) EPSU has sent solidarity greetings to two affiliates who are the latest public service unions to take industrial action to tackle staffing shortages and win better pay and conditions.
In Finland, the JHL trade union has organised a second round of industrial action by personal assistants following the failure of the Heta employers' organisation to come up with an improved offer following mediation. The union is campaigning for higher pay for this group of workers who have substantial and wide-ranging responsibilities and face considerable physical and psychosocial risks in delivering support for people with disabilities. JHL points out that the salaries of personal assistants is lower than other occupations in social services and that urgent action is needed on pay and conditions to tackle high turnover and staff shortages.
Today, EPSU also sent solidarity greetings to SIPTU in Ireland in support of its members who work as retained firefighters and who are trying to cope with the impact of staff shortages. For many this means long hours and restrictions on when they can take leave. The union's action is also to improve pay for the firefighters and establish a structured pay system, something that has been recommended by the local government ministry but which the management of the service has so far refused to fully implement.