A new study of the impact of the pandemic in social care in eight countries reveals the problems faced by social care workers and the extent to which trade union action has helped to address issues around personal protective equipment (PPE), sick pay, working time and understaffing. There has been a shortage of PPE in all countries, but it was only in Sweden that a trade union had to take legal action for its members' right to use personal protective equipment. Increased overtime was a challenge in all countries but with split shifts being a particular problem in Sweden. The pandemic exposed
Social Services, Sweden, Moldova, Latvia, Armenia
The Kommunal trade union has signed a new two-year agreement covering personal care assistants with the private care provider section of the Almega employers’ organisation. The agreement includes a 2.8% increase in the minimum wage from 1 February 2021 (to SEK 114.40 (EUR 11.30 an hour) and a further 2.3% on 1 July 2022 (to SEK 117.03 (EUR 11.56 an hour). However, pay rates in general will be set in local negotiations. The agreement sets the space for the negotiations but pay for individual workers will vary according to the local negotiations. The agreement includes several other provisions
Around 55000 will benefit from pay increases in a new 29-month collective agreement negotiated between the Kommunal public services union and the Almega employer’s organisation. Kommunal had threatened to take industrial action when the employers said that they would meet the union’s demand for higher pay for vocationally trained employees but not for other lower paid workers. Following mediation, the union’s demands have been met and the agreement keeps private care workers in line with public sector deals. The union also pushed back the employers’ attempt to increase part-time employment.
Negotiations between the Kommunal public services union and the section of the Almega employers’ organisation representing private care companies have stalled. The union has announced that industrial action will begin on 15 January unless Almega comes up with an improved offer. Approximately 55,000 workers are covered by the agreement which includes eldercare provision and jobs such as assistant nurses, care assistants and catering staff. Initially the industrial action will take the form of an overtime ban. Kommunal wants to ensure that pay and conditions for private care staff are in line
The Kommunal municipal services union believes that the recent deal in local and regional government – the largest collective agreement in the country – will deliver real benefits for the women-dominated sector and help address the recruitment challenge in health and social care. The 41-month agreement will run until 31 March 2024 and includes general pay rises of 2% in 2020 (worth on average SEK 520 (EUR 50), a further 2% (SEK 530 (EUR 51)) in 2021 and 1.4% (SEK 380 (EUR 37)) in 2022. There will be an additional 0.6% in each of the three years for vocationally trained occupations and a lump
The Kommunal municipal workers’ union has submitted its claims for this year’s delayed negotiations with the SKR and Sobona employer organisations. The union is underlining that its key demands on pay, working hours and other conditions are fundamental to recognise the efforts made by local and regional government workers and health and social care staff in dealing with last year’s fires and the current pandemic. Kommunal is calling for a 3% pay rise for all workers with an additional 0.5% distributed locally to vocationally trained groups in health care, schools and care. The agreement should
A new report on employment security commissioned by the Kommunal municipal services union reveals the extent of temporary and part-time work in health, social care and education. The survey found just under 240,000 workers in these sectors were on fixed-term contracts with 58% of these on the most precarious terms and conditions. Most of these workers want a permanent job. Workers in companies with fewer than 10 employees have weaker employment security and there are 10550 companies in this category operating in health and social care. While 18% of workers in public health and social care are
Vision and Kommunal, the trade unions representing workers and managers in eldercare, have issued a joint call for action on working conditions and work organisation to address the long-standing problems in the sector that have been highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis. The unions underline the importance of continuity of care that they say is best delivered through a stable base of long-term and full-time employment. They have set a target of increasing the proportion of permanent employees to 90 percent. They also want to see a benchmark of 25 employees per manager in the elderly care to help
The Kommunal municipal services union has been successful in its call for an investigation of the Work Environment Authority (WEA) (see EPSU CB News No.9, May 2020). The union made the application to the parliamentary ombudsman on the basis that the WEA had failed to fully address issues related to the inadequate provision of personal protective equipment (PPE). The union argued that the authority had consulted more with employers than the union. Meanwhile Kommunal has also been successful in getting changes to the Public Health Agency's guidance on PPE use in social care, making clear that
Kommunal, the municipal workers' union, has negotiated an agreement with the SKR local and regional government employers' organisation to provide for more staff and training in eldercare. The government has provided an additional SEK 2.2 billion (EUR 210 million) in 2020 and 2021 to cover the extra staffing. Kommunal wants to ensure that workers are taken on on full-time contracts and training takes place during paid working time and is line with the existing training provision for nursing assistants and nurses.
Municipal services union Kommunal reveals that 16% of workers in eldercare still don't have access to personal protective equipment (PPE). Although this figure has fallen from 37%, the union says that is still unacceptable and is also concerned that around a fifth of workers say that their workplaces are not following proper hygiene practices. Eldercare workers are not just calling for more PPE but also increased staffing to help deal with the impact of the pandemic which the union argues is far from over.
The Kommunal municipal and health services union has set out some of the main demands that it will pursue in the upcoming collective bargaining with municipal employers. The union will aim for a 3% general pay rise with an extra 0.5% to be used at local level for specific groups of vocationally trained workers in health, child and other care. It wants vocationally trained temporary workers to be offered a permanent contract after 12 months and is calling for a number of measures on working time. Among a range of demands, Kommunal wants to ensure full-time work is the norm and argues that the
The Kommunal municipal workers' union has decided not to follow the wage coordination policy agreed by the LO trade union confederation. The union says that urgent action is needed to tackle staff shortages in childcare, health and other welfare services and that if it followed the LO target then workers in those sectors would only get an extra SEK 17 (EUR1.60). For Kommunal it is also important to address low pay in sectors dominated by women and the LO guideline would reduce the gender pay gap by only 0.1%.