Local government union HK Kommunal has welcomed the decision by Solrød Municipality, south west of Copenhagen, to give their employees in administration the opportunity work a four-day week. Workers will have the choice whether they want to show up at the office, work from home or take a full day off. The only requirement is that they still have a working week of 37 hours. The municipality argues that it will help recruit and retain competent staff. The scheme starts from 1 September and will run over the next two years. The initiative follows that of the Odsherred Municipality, north west of
Romania, Denmark, Azerbaijan
The European federations representing transport and public service (ETF and EPSU) condemn the actions of the Romanian government in what appears to be an orchestrated attempt to intimidate ETF and EPSU affiliate USLM with union busting tactics, in response to the union working to protect workers in the Bucharest metro.
On 5 July a group of 13 Romanian trade unionists arrived in Brussels after a four-day rolling protest from Bucharest over the low wages that force many of their fellow citizens to make similar journeys to find decent work. The “Caravan of Social Rights” stopped in Budapest, Vienna, Munich and Luxembourg along the way to stage protests outside Romanian embassies with the support of local trade unions. GDP per capita in Romania is now 72% of the EU average, but Romanian workers’ pay is just 28% of the EU average and the minimum wage is just €281 a month when the cost of living is €572 a month
Following the rejection of the mediation proposal last month, nurses have continued their strike action for higher pay. The DSR nursing union membership voted to reject the public sector deal negotiated earlier this year because it failed to address low pay in the sector. The union has been highlighting recent data to support their case including a fall in applications for nursing education to the lowest level since 2013. The union also found that 5% of nurses had left the profession last month because of low pay and overwork and that pay for overtime had cost employers over DKK 500 million in
The DSR nurses’ union organised industrial action on Saturday 19 June following a two to one membership vote to reject a conciliator's mediation proposal for a new agreement. Earlier this year the DSR membership rejected the main municipal and regional government collective agreement, calling for a higher pay rise for nurses. The conciliation process failed to deliver a result that the membership could endorse and so action involving around 5000 nurses went ahead. The union argues that the health services have been starved of investment and nurses have faced increasing work pressure and
The FOA trade union has welcomed the government decision to set up a committee to examine the problem of pay inequality. FOA has been part of a large group of trade unions that have been pushing for new measures to achieve pay equality. While collective bargaining has been able to deliver some improvements public service unions argue that the problem requires a broader political approach. The committee will analyse the pay gap across all sectors and is due to report in May 2022.
The Sanitas health union is calling on the government to offer permanent employment to the many medical and auxiliary workers who were taken on to help cope with the pandemic. These workers will see their contracts terminated once the end of the emergency is declared. The union argues that these workers have clearly demonstrated their skills and competences in helping to deal with the crisis with many facing high risks of infection and some even losing their lives to COVID. Sanitas also sees continuing staff shortages as another argument for offering these workers permanent employment.
Fifty-one public service unions are backing a further call on the government to engage in tripartite negotiations to tackle the gender pay gap. The recently concluded three-year public sector agreements include specific amounts to reduce the gap, as did the previous agreements in 2018. However, the unions argue that this is simply not enough to properly address the problem and that the economic constraints on the normal collective bargaining process prevent action on the scale necessary to make real progress. The 51 trade unions that represent well over half a million employees in
Members of the DSR nurses’ union have voted to reject the proposed collective agreement for 2021-23 negotiated for local and regional government. The voting process is currently being carried out in other public sector unions and the full result won’t be know until around 21 April. The DSR argues that nurses have been left behind in terms of pay when taking account of their level of education, responsibilities and tasks. Furthermore, the pandemic has meant extensive extra work for a great many nurses and the increased wage costs have had a negative impact as a result of the regulation scheme
The European and global trade union confederations (ETUC and ITUC) have written to the Romanian government to protest against the decision not to implement a pay increase for public sector workers. The letter also challenges the government on anti-union statements and threats to remove the right of trade unions to collect membership fees through check-off. EPSU also wrote to the government along similar lines in January and followed up this letter in March – with no reply received so far to either letter.
Public sector unions remain angry that the government has not only failed to implement a pay rise that was set in legislation last year but also refused to engage in social dialogue. This anger has been further fed by anti-union comments from the prime minister who has challenged the independence of public sector unions, their right to collect dues by check-off and their right to protest. Unions are considering further protests. EPSU has sent letters of protest to the prime minister and raised the issue with the European Commission as the behaviour of the Romanian government clearly flies in
EPSU Standing Committee on Health and Social Services discussed how to better support health workers during the pandemic and making the COVID- 19 vaccine a public good
On the 11 March 2021 members of the EPSU Standing Committee on Health and Social Services met for the first time this year to discuss the situation in the sector at the national and the EU level.
Public sector unions have been active in protests against the government’s refusal to abide by legislation and implement a pay increase for public sector workers. They are also challenging the government for its failure to agree to any social dialogue with the unions and are concerned about possible cuts to bonuses and holiday allowances. Health workers took action in January and other public service workers continued the protests through February and are now considering what further action to take. The Publisind federation that includes the SNPP police and prison officers’ union have also
Public sector workers will be covered by two new three-year agreements running from 1 April to the end of March 2024. The agreements covering municipal and state sector workers both have an overall value of 6.75% of the pay bill over the three years but the amounts are distributed differently. In the municipal agreement there will be a 5.02% general increase but there will be additional amounts allocated to address low pay, equal pay, recruitment and organisational issues, taking the overall increase to 5.94%. In the state sector there will be a 4.42% pay rise over the three years, with