Transparency & Corruption, Pensions/retirement, Portugal, Croatia, Armenia
The Frente Comum group of public service unions has criticised the government for failing to respect existing collective bargaining arrangements in the public sector. The government has put forward reforms to public sector pensions without going through the proper procedure for consultation. Instead of negotiating directly with public sector unions the government will use a social dialogue forum that includes private sector employers. The Frente Comum unions are concerned about the impact of the proposed pension reforms which could reduce rights for workers to retire from 60 with 40 years'
Local government union STAL and other unions in the public sector Frente Comum took part in a major national demonstration on 10 May as part of their long-running campaign to improve pay and working conditions in the public services and reverse the cuts imposed as part of austerity measures. Along with higher pay and better pensions, the unions want to see clear commitments to improve career progression and action on working time.
A joint campaign of the three main trade union confederations has been successful in getting support for a referendum to undo legal changes that increased the retirement age to 67. The unions needed to reach a target of 373,568 signatures (10% of registered voters) in a two-week campaign that ended on 11 May. They easily passed the threshold, amassing 600,000 signatures and its now up to the government to respond and confirm that it will organise the referendum.
The STAL and STML unions representing firefighters organised a protest in Lisbon on 16 April outside the Interior Ministry. The main concerns for the unions are about government proposals to reform the career structure for firefighters and to reduce retirement benefits. Other issues relate to payments for oncall time, 12-hour shifts and implementation of a pay structure that the two unions negotiated with the ministry. The unions have been frustrated by the government's reluctance to negotiate, delaying and then postponing a meeting due on 2 April.
Three trade union confederations have come together to launch a campaign to secure a referendum with the aim of reversing changes to the retirement age. The unions want to retain 65 as the normal retirement age but the government has already put in place legislation to increase it to 67 and more recently to bring forward the date of full implementation. If the unions can get the support of 10% of the electorate then the government will have to organise a referendum. EPSU sent a message of support to the unions.
The Frente Comum and FESAP federations of public service unions are planning national strike action on 15 February with FESAP unions also mobilising on the 14th. The unions have a broad range of demands on the government leading with the priority of ending the long-running pay freeze and tackling low pay. They also want government commitments on pensions, career progression and an end to precarious employment. The unions further underline the need to invest in quality public services rather than undermine them through privatisation.
Firefighters, members of the STAL and STML trade unions, took strike action from 18 December to 2 January in protest at government plans to change the statutes covering their pay, retirement and other conditions. The unions not only reject the proposed changes but are angry that the government aimed to implement them without any consultation or negotiation with the unions. The unions have made a series of demands related to protecting basic pay and ensuring appropriate payments for on-call and overtime work as well as allowances for dangerous and arduous conditions. They are also seeking
The STAL and STML trade unions that represent firefighters organised a national protest in Lisbon on 3 December to challenge the government over changes to the statutes that regulate pay and conditions in the sector. The trade unions had already registered their anger with the government over its failure to negotiate with them. The government did agree to meet the unions but they rejected its proposals for change because they threatened to undermine firefighters' pay, pensions and career progression.
Unions from all sectors joined a national demonstration in Zagreb on 20 October in protest against changes to the pensions system, including an increase in pension age to 67. Unions are calling for a pension age of 65 and to retain rules on early retirement including the possibility of retiring at 60 with 41 years of contributions. EPSU sent a message of solidarity.
The STAL local government union and other public service unions in the Frente Comum have called a one-day strike in public administration on 26 October. The unions have a range of demands including a 4% increase on pay (with a minimum increase of EUR 60) and pensions, measures to tackle precarious employment and also to ensure that all public service workers have the right to the 35-hour week.
Four unions representing nurses - SEP, ASPE, SERAM and SINDEPOR - are all supporting national strike action on 20-21 September. Their protest is over the failure of the government to respond to a series of demands on improving the career and pay structure for nurses. These demands cover salaries that properly reflect nurses' job content, with particular concern for specialist nurses and nursing managers, confirmation of 35 years' service and 57 years of age as retirement age, provision of measures to compensate for the arduousness of shift work and the recruitment of more nurses.