(23 May 2018) Ten thousands marched to demand an end to the pay freeze for public service workers in several cities in France 22 May 2018. The workers and their unions want a stop to the 120.000 job cuts announced. They seek a reduction in the number of people working on contracts and an end to the announced outsourcing of more services. The unions seek respect for the social dialogue and the rights of workers. The EPSU General Secretary and colleagues of Ver.di joined the affiliates in Paris where between around 30.000 people joined a demonstration. Europe’s public service workers deserve a pay rise. It is the third time all unions join forces with previous actions on the 10 October 2017 and 22 March. All general secretaries of the confederations joined creating a strong signal of support for the demands of the workers.
On the same day the UK public service union PCS representing 150.000 workers in the civil service decided to ballot its members over strike action. The UK government is continuing to freeze the salaries of workers leading to large loss of purchasing power for workers and families. And Dutch affiliate FNV started its first actions in the tax administration offices with work stoppages. The negotiations for pay and conditions broke down earlier this month and the unions are now starting actions to force the government to come with proposals for a decent pay rise. The Greek affiliates will join the general strike called by the confederations for 30 May. The main demand is an end to the pay cuts and freezes that have seen some workers lose up to 40% of their salary. In all these countries and many others the years of cuts in budgets, staff and freezes of salaries have resulted in lack of staff for many services undermining the quality of the services delivered.
For the recent results of the actions of public service unions in Denmark, Germany, Norway and other countries please check out the EPSU collective bargaining newsletter.