Introduction to collective bargaining and EPSU

What are the main issues for EPSU?

A core activity of trade unions is negotiating, on behalf of members, with employers. EPSU’s affiliates concentrate on good pay levels for public service workers at the workplace, the sector and national level. Good working conditions are just as important.

In collective bargaining, EPSU has two main tasks; firstly to contribute to the improvement of pay and working conditions for all public service workers in Europe, and secondly to act as a European information point so that EPSU affiliates are aware of trends and developments in public service negotiations.

And for this to be possible workers have to be able to exercise trade union rights to collective bargaining and industrial action. EPSU promotes these rights and defends them when violated by employers and governments wherever in Europe.

EPSU wishes to use the system of European Social Dialogue to make sure that sectoral trade unions and employers have a voice and are jointly consulted at the drafting stage of any legislation that will have a social impact on the sector in question. As well as to discuss and agree guidelines on issues like equality, skills, violence at work and restructuring

EPSU wants to improve the monitoring, exchange, and analysis of information on working conditions, collective bargaining and social dialogue developments, through the epsucob@ newsletter and collective bargaining pages on the website; and to make sure that EPSU affiliates are part of an information sharing network that is fast and efficient, to learn from each others successes.

What is the European context?

The European Industrial Relations System that is developing is a system that needs recognition, resources and political support. The potential for good deals for workers and to improve quality of services through European social dialogue agreements is here. But recently European leaders have drifted away from supporting this system. EPSU is committed to working with the European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC) to lead the EU back to a fully functioning social dialogue system.

EPSU is extremely vigilant in monitoring multinational companies operating in traditional public service sectors. We target, with the unions concerned, these companies to establish European Works Councils and to build transnational trade union networks in these companies. We build the European Works Councils coordinators network to ensure all workers their rights to information and consultation. EPSU and affiliated trade unions have also entered into transnational agreements with multinational companies to contribute to high labour standards cross European borders.

What is EPSU trying to achieve?

Simply put, EPSU wishes to campaign for improvements of pay and working conditions of public service workers across Europe, and in particular to achieve equal pay between men and women and to tackle low pay by increasing minimum wages. This must be done also at European level due to increased integration of the European economy with barriers for trade and mobility falling away. EPSU is a platform to deal with employers and ensure solidarity between workers

We are committed to;
- Building strong trade unions by promoting and defending trade union rights
- A strong system of European sectoral social dialogue, so that all public service workers in the EU are protected by high, labour standards.
- Strong European Works Councils, so that public service workers working in the same company understand the policies of the company and can influence these
- Coordination of collective bargaining through a strong supportive network of information about public service developments throughout the EU.