Social Services, Transparency & Corruption, Central government, Moldova, Hungary, Armenia
EPSU has sent letters to the prime minister and leaders of political groups in parliament protesting at legislation that will remove public service status from over 20000 workers in libraries, museums, archives, culture centres, theatres and orchestras. This is a group of workers that is mainly low paid and whose pay has been frozen for over 10 years. The additional employment protection of public service status is one of their few main benefits. The government is using its emergency to push through the change at breakneck speed without the usual parliamentary process or consultation with
The KKDSz culture workers' union and BDDSz childcare workers' union have been instrumental in getting the SZEF public sector confederation to launch a campaign on public service pay. The confederation is highlighting low pay and understaffing across the public services and the need for negotiations on long-term pay development in the public sector. It calls for action on corruption and the need for a redistribution of government spending to workers to ensure a fully staffed and professional public service delivering quality services.
EPSU has sent a solidarity message to Hungarian affiliates who are fighting against their government's new proposal to reform the taxation of certain fringe benefits. The KKDSZ, BDDSZ and HVDSZ2000 trade unions held a press conference in front of the Parliament earlier this month in protest. The reform of the taxation of fringe benefits such as luncheon vouchers would make it more costly for employers to provide these to their workers. This could result in an effective cut in income for many, with a particular impact on the low paid for whom the vouchers are very important.
The KKDSz culture workers' union used the "night of the museums" event in Pecs in south-west Hungary to raise the issue of low pay for workers in museums, libraries and other cultural institutions. The union says that there may be scope for public sector negotiations and increases in the minimum wage as the new government prepares its budget for 2019, following discussions in the National Public Interest Reconciliation Council. The demonstration generated considerable interest in the media and support from other trade unions.
The KKDSZ culture worker's union delivered a petition with 3000 signatures to the ministry of culture on 22nd January calling for immediate negotiations on pay. The petition was the initiative of employees of the Fine Art Museum and was taken up by KKDSZ. Some workers in the sector have not had a pay rise for over 10 years and 80% of qualified staff have to survive on only EUR 580 a month (gross).
(April 2017) The BDDSz childcare workers' trade union is supporting the ETUC's pay rise campaign. The union sees that many of the headline demands of the campaign - tackling low pay and the gender pay gap - fit with the union's priorities and it is encouraging members to show their support.
(November 2016) EPSU has written a letter to the prime minister of Armenia to protest at plans to cut up to 30% of jobs in the public services. The letter also criticises the government for failing to carry out any consultation with trade unions on the planned restructuring. EPSU argues that the planned cuts will not resolve the economic problems facing the country and calls on the government to consult with all stakeholders.
(May 2016) The BDDSz childcare workers' union (one of EPSU's newest affiliates) secured an important legal victory at the end of May. Following strike action earlier this year, the legality of the strike had been challenged by the government which had argued that the union should have provided a minimum level of service. The legal challenge went throught the whole legal process and the highest court ruled in favour of the union saying that the nature of the service did not require the minimum service. Read more at BDDSz (HU).
(May 2016) On 20 April the BDDSz childcare workers' union, one of EPSU's newest affiliates, took strike action along with other unions in the social services sector. After two and a half years of negotiations, the unions decided to resort to industrial action to try to make progress with their claims for an increase in pay and to improve working time arrangements. Average salaries in the social services sector are 35% below the average for the economy as a whole, clearly justifying the 20% pay claim. EPSU sent a message of solidarity. Read more at EPSU and at BDDSz (HU)