The Fórsa and SIPTU public service unions have welcomed the government’s new ‘Blended Working Policy Statement,’ which would see the civil service switch from pandemic-related remote working provisions to long-term ‘blended working’ arrangements between September 2021 and March 2022. However, both unions want to see a rapid roll-out across the entire public service, rather than being confined to Government departments and agencies. They also underline the importance of some of the statement’s key points such as the commitment to a consistent approach and to transparency and fairness on access
Netherlands, Ireland, Azerbaijan
The FNV and other trade unions have negotiated a collective agreement covering workers in provincial councils that will run to 31 December this year (backdated to 1 January). Salaries rise by EUR 50 from 1 January 2021 with a further increase of 1.2% from 1 July. There will also be a one-off payment of EUR 750 (pro-rata for part timers) on 1 September in appreciation of the flexibility shown during the corona crisis. The agreement also includes provision to ensure sustainability of employment covering parental leave, measures to support older workers and help for employees facing major life
The FNV trade union’s campaign for urgent action on workloads in childcare has been stepped up with some regional mobilisations cancelled in order to concentrate on a national strike on 8 July. The union is angry that calls for increased staffing and reduced numbers of children per worker have fallen on deaf ears and the employers have offered nothing to address the problem.
The Fórsa public service union is urging its members to back the four-day week campaign by signing up to a global petition to encourage employers to pilot a four-day working week. The initiative seeks to identify and recruit employers to trial a shorter working week without loss of pay or productivity. The aim will be to reach out to employers identified with significant employee support and encourage them to join the global pilot in 2022. Participating employers will receive the support of experts from the four-day week organisation and university researchers from Harvard, Oxford and Boston
Following a national day of action on 18 June, workers in childcare, playgroups and after-school care will begin a campaign of industrial action in the Netherlands from 23 June. Different workplaces will be targeted at different times and various forms of strikes and other industrial action will be organised. The action is over excessive workloads and has been launched following the failure of the BMK and BK employer organisations to respond to an ultimatum from the FNV trade union. The union is warning that employees’ wellbeing is under threat and the quality of service will be compromised if
Additional unpaid working time introduced as an austerity measure eight years ago continues to be a drain on morale and productivity across the civil and public service. That’s according to a report by the public service committee of the ICTU confederation. The report says the additional hours fall hardest on women, and are counterproductive in terms of service delivery and productivity. They remain “a deep and primary industrial relations grievance” among public servants, it says. In particular, the report argues not only that It has never been correct to assume that increased working time
Trade unions and employers have put forward a joint proposal to government for legislation to provide greater protection for precarious workers. If adopted, this will outlaw zero-hours contracts with all workers entitled to a minimum level of working hours each month. It will also aim to close any loopholes to ensure that all workers who’ve been on temporary contracts for three years will be offered a permanent contract. Further provisions include allowing temporary contracts only when required by illness or surges in demand and greater protection for temporary workers against dismissal. The
The Fórsa public services trade union has published a new report to support its call on the government to “harness the productive power of sectoral bargaining” which it argues will improve wage levels and pay equality. The report puts Ireland near the bottom of the scale on worker representation and participation in economic decision-making and argues that collective bargaining can deliver benefits to both workers and employers, while underpinning better outcomes for society and the economy as a whole. The report would contribute to the work of the high-level working group which is examining
Members of the FNV trade union have been involved in local action at University Medical Centres (UMCs) in protest at the employers’ “offer” of a pay freeze. After five months of negotiations, employers haven’t shifted at all and are sticking to a 0% wage increase. They are also refusing to negotiate reductions in workloads and measures that would allow older colleagues to retire in a healthy manner. The FNV argues that the employers have the money to fund a pay increase and other initiatives but are more interested in investing in equipment. The FNV argues that the employers are failing to
A survey of student early years educators, carried out by the SIPTU trade union, found that one third intended to leave the sector, with low pay the main issue forcing them into a change of career or into working abroad. A massive 94% of students don’t believe the current wages in the sector are fair. Of the 945 people surveyed, over half are currently working in the sector as well as studying and of these 47% are earning below the living wage of €12.30 per hour. The union wants to see a publicly funded model of early years education and childcare which includes a mechanism for ensuring
Turkish and Dutch unions discuss resistance to privatisation and commercialisation of public services
Unions representing staffing in provincial government, including FNV, have suspended negotiations following what they regard as an unacceptable pay offer from the employers of only 0.6%, with inflation currently at 1.9%. They have now launched a petition to get broad support from staff and get negotiations back on track. Noting that productivity has increased with a significant rise in telework, they are looking for a 2.5% pay increase, a fair homeworking allowance and measures on sustainable employability.
Public services union Fórsa has written to the chief executives of all local authorities to ask them to engage with four-day week pilot programmes. This is the latest move in the union’s campaign for reduced working time without loss of pay or productivity. Fórsa is part of a coalition of employers, unions, environmental and women’s campaign groups, which is calling for a gradual, steady and managed transition to a shorter working week in all sectors of the economy. The union will also be talking to the government about support for the initiative and is hoping to involve public and private
Workers in energy production and supply companies are set to get a 2.0% pay increase from 1 May following an improved pay offer from the employers (up from 1.25%). The agreement runs from 1 October 2020 to 30 April 2022 and includes a one-off payment of €400 gross for all employees who have been continuously employed in the sector since January 2020. Meanwhile, the FNV trade union reports positive initial talks in the energy network sector where negotiations were due to start on 29 April.
In February this year, the Supreme Court in the UK ruled that Uber, the driving, and delivery platform, should treat its drivers as workers and not as self-employed. This follows a trend across Europe where courts in several countries have forced digital platforms to revise the employment relationship with the workers providing their services. Platform work is changing the economic and social landscape, revolutionising the way services are delivered while raising major questions about social and labour rights.