photo credit „Jungeblodt/verdi“
(17 January 2023) Many public service unions are involved in industrial actions including strikes across Europe. This was the main topic of a meeting of leaders of EPSU and Verdi. Verdi will be embarking on negotiations with employers for higher pay for close to 3 million workers in central government administration (Bund), municipalities and other organisations following the agreement. It is one of Europe’s largest collective agreements. The union is asking a pay rise of 10,5 % and at least an increase of 500 Euros per month. We considered union actions and how to support. With many actions going on, a focal point is the UK with environmental protection agency workers striking 18th , nurses’ strike action 18-19th, and ambulance drives 23rd of January. Firefighters are seeking a mandate for action, and workers in civil services are having rolling strikes across a number of governmental services and a big strike on 1st February. The unions demand higher pay, better working conditions and measures to address workload (=shortages of staff) issues. The UK right wing government has proposed legislation to limit the right to strike in reaction to the strikes which are the consequence of its policy not to negotiate. The UK unions are organising a big protest on 1 February against this new legislation.
We looked at the proposals for the reform of pensions in France and the general strike of the French unions on 19 January. Belgian workers will take to the streets again end of January for more pay as applause is not enough for workers health and care. The Verdi and EPSU leadership express our solidarity to all the workers and the unions involved in actions and strikes in Europe.
The union leaders looked at a whole range of other topics of importance to Europe’s unions. Trade union leaders are in jail in Belarus and Turkey and the Ukrainian government has deprived workers of their collective bargaining rights. Strong European and global union solidarity is needed to confront such attacks and stand by our comrades. We looked at the impact of the war in Ukraine, public ownership in energy, the role of public transport in the energy transition, health and care as public services, to the ETUC Congress and mobilisation of workers to ensure employers and governments address the cost-of-living crisis. The meeting took place 16 January 2023, Berlin.
These ranged from the impact of the war in Ukraine, public ownership in energy, the role of public transport in the energy transition, health and care as public services, to the ETUC Congress and mobilisation of workers to ensure employers and governments address the cost-of-living crisis. The meeting took place 16 January 2023, Berlin.
The EPSU President, Vice Presidents and EPSU General Secretary and Deputy met 17th. We looked at issues important for Europe’s public service workers and prepared for the EPSU Executive Committee in April. On the agenda will be the ETUC Congress. We agreed the EPSU Delegation to it and the importance of a strong commitment of ETUC to defend and promote the interests of public services and public service workers. The PSI Congress is in October so it will be on the agenda. And of course the first reports of the Congress Resolutions Committee and the Constitutional Working Group. Of great concern are the attacks on trade union rights as part of broader attacks on workers, women’s and LGTB+ people’s rights.